This is Kacey’s post – but this one was so good that it takes two storytellers to REALLY do it justice! I interjected my comments in italics! Enjoy – Katherine
10-7-12 gave us the day to do just that; #destroychicago, despite a little crash and burn.
Alert level signs and posters for Chicago were at a green, which meant the alert level was set to an all caps LOW……..but who did we think we were kidding? Katherine and I should always have alerts set on HIGH…..just sayin’
My Marathon career is littered with adjectives to explain the actual 26.2 mile treks that I’ve been on. I’ve had stunning successes, humbling failures, and more than a few Whoa? Really? You’re Not Kiddings?!?!
Katherine’s first marathon is one we’re not allowed to speak of (which speaks volumes)! And we had had for Chicago a remarkable, fun, healthy, and exotic training that had really gone our way.
So, to not have the fear of a “crash and burn” in our minds would have been naive, yet to literally be in a “crash” wasn’t really what I had seen written in the stars either.
I’m not really fond of buses since I not only habitually get sick riding in them, but my bus to my first, and most prominent, Boston Marathon, Hopkinton start literally got lost. Yes, missed the turn that every other bus in front of us had made and proceeded to get onto dead end roads and exit free roads and roads to everywhere but Hopkinton. I missed not only my corral start but after just having a baby had a potty problem that again, literally made me cry.
I already said that my marathons are littered with moments of “really.” right?
So in the spirit of, “we wouldn’t want to do anything too normal, we thought we’d just take a walk over to the Expo in Chicago after having checked out the starting corrals and such. (May I remind you of the engineer and plan follower which is my darling Katherine.)
Yes this was clearly a google maps fail, we were actually one block south of the Niketown bus stop, and yet I somehow convinced us that there was no point in going North to go South and it didn’t look that far to walk! By the time we made it to the south end of Grant park, with my coaches “don’t walk too much the day before” advice ringing in my ears we decided to ask directions and were told to take a taxi!
After having the Chicago police patrol look at us like he’s never heard of anyone walking anywhere in Chicago, we’re talked into the idea that its too far and we should take the bus. OK ~ I’m not fundamentally opposed, at least not yet, to buses so we cross the street and begin the process of boarding the bus.
The line is long, but to no ones surprise, we make friends and the next thing you know we’re Expo shopping (which is a whole other story Katherine should tell because its hilarious and stands all on its own) and then starving.
Clearly we’ve strayed only a tad from coach’s orders regarding not too much time on our feet the day before race, so we think we’ll catch the bus back to the hotel. We’ll get back on “operation execute proper night before Marathon race plan” and call it early for dinner and bed……..
Little did we know that the running Gods had saved the best for last and we were about to come to a sudden, and again, literal, “crash and burn.”
We board the bus taking two seats together and begin the runner’s eager pre-race tradition of pawing through goodies gotten at the Expo and found in the swag bag. We’re surprised by the sea of humanity waiting for buses and are high fiving each other smugly, for knowing enough about the city, to know to get on a less crowded bus, going to a less popular hotel, yet sill on our route back to Our hotel.
We avoided the long wait in line with our sheer brilliance. Yah us!
Running Gods wag their fingers at smug, especially on the eve of big races and decided jolt us with a lesson of just who really was in charge.
Our driver was already working past his shift end time and was the most eager of any to get out of this Pringles Can size tunnel and home. I imagine its hard to make a turn in this hair tight pin with no forgiveness by the brick wall, all the while thinking about getting home to his family; tricky. Brick walls seem to have little compassion for family, or runner dinner times, and was going to remind us all just who was tough and clearly in charge. Not us.
So the bus that we should have boarded to Niketown had a line longer than any we had ever seen, so we hastily jumped on another bus that would get us roughly back to where we had started, with a decent walk back to our hotel. The driver was, as Kacey said, disgruntled that he had not been relieved at the end of his shift and decided that come hell or highwater he was going to shove his bus through a gap between the bus we should have boarded for Niketown and the wall, that was CLEARLY 6 inches smaller than the bus he was driving! So crunch, we hit the wall.
“Katherine, um, I think we’ve been in a bus accident.”
Maybe it sounds a bit more dramatic than it actually was. I mean it wouldn’t be right to not tell you that we were only inching along. It isn’t a very good story to say there were a tremendous amount of pedestrians. I’m pretty certain the driver was using his mirrors and checking his blinds spots repeatedly; regardless, WE WERE IN A BUS ACCIDENT THE DAY BEFORE OUR CHICAGO MARATHON. Who does that happen too?
Oh yah, Tullz and Randall 🙂
No, this was indeed a proper accident. There were crash investigators, who seemed to appear from nowhere inspecting the wheel of the bus that had hit the wall – I guess to determine post crash driveability – and they ordered the driver off the bus, and put a replacement driver in his place. Meanwhile the lines, that we were trying to avoid had totally cleared before our bus – which had a compromised destination, not entirely where we wanted to go – even left the scene of the accident!
So there you have it, straight from personal experience, you really can “crash and burn” yet then go on to still have the race of your life!