|The start of the day|
I didn’t write a recap of my Nashville half. I started and will finish it eventually but I had to write this one now…while it is still fresh in my head.
The Chicagoland Spring Half and Full was Sunday. I did not prepare well enough. I was mentally and physically not ready but I decided to give it a go and try. I got all my things laid out the night before and packed my race bag. I carb loaded and hydrated and prayed.
Sunday morning I got up and got the the car. I was running a bit late and then hit traffic…who thinks there will be traffic at 6am on a Sunday?! I got to the site and parked in plenty of time. Within minutes my running buddy showed up and we started race prep. We met up with some others from our group, found the potty and then headed to the start. There were 5 of us from my running ‘family’ and one soon to be new member. All of us, with the exception of one, were running the 1/2…one of us was FULL on crazy. We would start together. Starting the race with the friends was like going home for the holidays. So familiar yet a little stressful. The first few miles we all stuck together. It was really so comfortable and felt good. A good pace and good conversation. I watched as my buddy Dan slapped each mile marker with glee and people commented on my buddy Steve’s shirt. I felt like the happy middle sister.
At mile 4 everyone had to make a pit stop. For once I was good and just kept chugging along. I knew they would catch me soon enough. As I ran, people commented on my tutu. One young man started to keep pace with me and began to talk to me. Brad (I eventually asked his name) was running his first marathon and was a little unsure of himself. We talked of running and other things. Life looks a bit different though the eyes of the young. We got each other through mile 5 and our courses diverged. The scenery was glorious and I was feeling good. The sounds of my breathing and the water rushing under the damn invigorated my running.
|Love my running family!|
I ran alone for miles 6 and 7 and soon in mile 8 my Friends caught up with me again.
Each race I run I ask people if they would like a mile dedicated to them. This race I didn’t. This race was for my Girls on the Run. I was wearing a new tutu made by my girls and friends. Each person tied a wish, a hope, and/or a dream on the tutu so as I ran I thought of my girls…all their wishes, dreams and prayers…and felt light.
After the water stop, about mile 9 our group came upon another young man, Jason. He was also running his first marathon and was not looking too good. I started running next to him and realized that he had no energy. I pulled out and Acellgel, opened if and squeezed it into his mouth. I gave him some water from my belt as we kept moving forward. Within a few minutes, his color returned and then he was off leaving us in the dust.
We were heading into the final miles and I was feeling good. The group stayed together and just kept shifting positions. We were doing a bit more walking at this point and at the big bridge between miles 10 and 11 only one of us ran and bridge…and it was NOT me!
toilet paper at mile 20
Last water stop and a long stretch ahead and I was meeting my buddy Dan step for step. We were putting one foot in front of the other and closing in on the finish.
|Celebrating a multihmarathoner!|
I started to fall a bit behind at the last hill just before mile 13. I was losing my energy and my legs were feeling like lead. Heading around the building to the finish I lost my breath. I could not breathe due to the smell of the fresh mulch. I was gasping and feeling defeated. My head was telling me to quit….and then the voice shifted…”Just Breathe”. I could hear my yoga teacher’s voice clear as day in my head. I just had to slow my mind and breathe and I could finish. “Just breathe” was mantra for that last part of the race until I crossed that finish line. I saw my friends cross the line and knew I was next. I could do it. I was going to finish…and I did!
|Spring has sprung!|
After we got our medals and some food, we stretched a bit took MANY photos and decided to head out to ‘chase’ our friend running the full. We met, ran, cheered, encouraged, supported her and other runners in several spots for the final miles. we waited for her at mile 26 and the whole group of us ran with her for the final hill. When she crossed the finish line, we were all there waiting for her as Sarah proudly put her medal on her neck. It was a moment I won’t soon forget. It was a day I will remember for a long time.
Running has lead me to the most incredible people and places in my life and for that I am forever
grateful. Spring has sprung….and so has running season!