What an experience! The whole trip from start to finish... It has taken me a while to find the time to write here on the blog, because as soon as I got home it was back to treatment. As time goes by I have been getting more and more tired and it has been harder and harder to keep up on it all and feel well. SO thank you for hanging in there with me. :)
So here is my experience - running a marathon as an elite athlete, still in treatment (2/3 of the way!), dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy and sticking to my goals. I have found so much strength from the training, from the encouragement of my family and friends, that focusing on this marathon has helped me to stay strong.
Chicago Marathon - Pre-race
Riding on the "L"
We love to take public transportation, saving on the environment, seeing the city from the vantage point of a commuter and obviously saving on our budget for the trip! :) Between the hotels, air fare, and meals the trip was a costly one and we put off the planning not knowing how I would feel - so we didn't get any "deals". :) But as a savy traveler, we did pretty well with our room rates and promotions we found at the last minute. :) We stayed at the Airport Hilton the first night after arrival. The flight was non-eventful after the initial negotiation of getting our seats together. The lady was very nice to recind her seat and sit 2 rows back and we were thankful. (I am a very good negotiator - ask Steve!) :) The dinner was less than par at the Karaoke Cabaret bar (I may be mistaken, it sounded like karaoke but they may have paid them - it was pretty bad!) :) We laughed as we went back up to the room to get a good night's sleep. I ran in the hotel parking lot and into the airport parking lots to make a 2 mile easy run that morning, bummed to not be in town to join the DetermiNation group, but happy to get in some mileage and I felt great! Good to have a positive mindset and stretch out those legs! Once we got some coffee and a little breakfast we headed into the city on the "L".
After checking in to the Palmer House that took a little more time than planned we headed out to catch the bus on King Street to the marathon Expo at McCormick Place. Those of you who haven't been to a big marathon Expo truly need to experience the craziness of the 45,000 runners with their families and friends looking at all the latest gear, trends, gadgets and nutrition products of the day. It is pretty crazy! And the stuff is AWESOME! Nike was the sponsor of the official clothing line and they had a huge store of great stuff! I love to get a jacket and Saturday after noon is late to show up and expect your size (believe it! I had to get my Boston jacket from an outside store!) and we were late to meet the team, so we scrambled through and found a Large white track jacket (that I love - thanks to Judy's suggestion). :)
So here it is in more photos....
Cara insisted that we get our photo with Ryan & Sara Hall (Elite Runners - Ryan was predicted to win as a US runner and decided not to race the week prior. Twitter: @ryanhall3 and @sarahall3 -- I had connected to their story on twitter and they are both amazing runners with a passion for helping people. It was so awesome to meet them and funny as Cara & I told my/our story in 1 minute flat! :) "She has cancer, and is still in chemo and we are running as Wonder Woman & BatGirl". As quick as the story was told, you could see their genuine concern and admiration for what I was about to accomplish. :) Here is our group photo! ;)
Then we headed to lunch - all piled in Dave Pittman's van - the "Dream Team" was back together again. It was so great how we only really spent minimal time in the van on the way to the Boston marathon and at the start that we are still so connected.... connected by a cause - through DetermiNation and running - we continue our friendships. :) I love this photo of Charlie, Cara, Steve & I squeezed in the back of the van! FUN!
AT lunch I got to meet and get to know these 2 amazing women - the reason why Charlie & Cara have connected to all of us - Cara's mom (affectionately known as "Mama T") is on the left and is a 2 time colon cancer survivor just finishing treatment in June. Charlies' mom is a breast cancer survivor and single mom raising some amazing children while in the midst of her battle. Both stories were amazing to hear and it was so great to have that bond with these great women!
Then off to dinner - we LOVED the Grillroom that was walking distance from our hotel. Definitely the best meal of the trip and spending time with my #1 guy is always so special. Great service - great food! We will definitely be visiting this restaurant again!
Then back to the room at the Palmer House which luckily had a Starbucks on the street level. We LOVE our Starbucks and I have been perfecting my favorite drink. Currently it is a Non-fat - Triple Shot - Grande - 1 pump Cinnamon Dolche with extra whip cream and sprinkles. :)
Cara was SO thrilled to get her BatGirl costume she wouldn't take the cape off --- I am sure she wore it to dinner that night! :) I laid out my suit and tried it on for size (which it was a little tight as my sister used Cara's measurements :) but it looked great! The look was so powerful and bright! So here is my layout of everything I need all set up and ready to go so I don't have to think in the morning! :)
That is it for now -- I am going to do this in a couple parts as this is treatment week for me and I am truly not feeling so well after chemo and looking for additional energy - so if you have some - send it my way!