First off HUGE CONGRATS to my L for getting a 30 MINUTE PR in his 2nd marathon for a 5:41!!! I cant say enough how proud of him I am :)
The theme of the marathon this year was "life is better when we're connected." That phrase was on all the banners hanging on the streets of Chicago- and for this race, couldn't have been more accurate.
Throughout the summer, I don't think there was one run I had on the lakefront where I didn't side 5 or say hello to someone I knew. Chicago may be a large urban city, but this running community is tight. Seeing Jenny, Ken, Jeff, Chanthana, Marla, Hillary, Vicky, Chris, and Kim, on Saturday mornings or randomly at Fleet Feet events always lifted my mood tremendously. The support and encouragement online is also always nice to come home to. It still amazes me how running is no longer a solitary sport- but instead something very social and fun.
At the expo:
We went to the expo with my co-worker and her 2 friends who were all in town to run their first ever marathon. While there we ran into Declan! He hung out with us while we waited in line to change my bib from corral C to G. (Yes, the Chicago marathon was very strict about starting in your assigned corral this year and I needed to start with L. Luckily it was a quick and easy swap of a bib at the help desk)
Photo stolen from Declan.
The night before the race:
We went to our favorite Japanese place and I ate ALL THE FOODZ.. AKA Soba noodles and tempura veggies.
Pre race thoughts: (aka my knee is Fu*ked)
On Thursday on my way to the Nike store, I smashed my knee hard in the EL turnstile. Like I'm seeing stars and my leg is going numb kind of smash. At this point I was happy I wasn't "racing" the marathon because I had a 2" welt on the bony part of my knee- like where the ITB is. AWESOME.
Other than that snafu, I just wanted L to have a great race. His training had been going well considering all the cross country- overseas trips for business. We knew it would be a great day to run together.
Luckily we live a stones throw from Grant Park and didn't have to get up too early- minus to eat some oatmeal at 4:30am.
There's a certain electricity in the air on race day that just cant be put into words. It's the nervous excitement-anticipation of what's to come, it's the calm that comes over you while waiting for the gun to go off, its the rush you get as you cross the start and start your watch. It's the celebration of many months of hard work.
We got into our corral easier than in years past.And waited in the "cold" since we were in the 2nd wave. We saw the flyover honoring the Boston marathon victims, and heard the announcers introduce the elite field.
Sorry I didn't recognize you immediately Sonja.
Sonja and I.
Soon it was go time, and as the corral made its way to the start, clothes started being shed and a hush came over the crowd as we inched forward
The sound of 1000's of runners breathing and their shoes hitting the pavement.
The sight of loads of men taking advantage of the dark tunnel in the start to relieve themselves.
Hearing the roar of the spectators gaining strength as you got closer to State St.
Running down State street and seeing spectators, signs, and a sea of runners in front of you.
"Smile if you peed/pooped your pants."
"Chuck Norris never ran a marathon."
"My arms are tired, how are your legs."
Seeing the runners ahead of you waving to the residents in the nursing home who were watching from their rooms. (mile 6ish?)
Hearing the cars honking as they drove by.
Seeing loads of pups out with their owners.
Seeing a cat in a cage next to its owner who was spectating.
The ROTC rifle team
The cheerleaders in Boystown.
Elvis in Old Town.
Giving high 5's to so many people I lost track.
The tree lined streets starting to change colors for the season.
The way your feet stick to the pavement after going through the gatorade portion of the aid station.
Giving L a big sweaty kiss that *hopefully* the course photog captured.
An older man in a wheelchair whose legs had been amputated cheering for the runners. and yelling at the younger ones for walking around mile 20. "You are young, run wile you can, you have no excuse."
The distinct smells and sounds of each and every neighborhood and the way each group celebrates the marathon in its own way.
Passing under the gates of Chinatown and knowing we only had about a 10k to go.
Stopping at mile 23 and getting a beer from the Hash House Harriers. As I got one cup from someone, another person said "take another." I did. We enjoyed that beer immensely. Sidekick by Two Brothers.
Looking over and seeing L smile so big as we crossed the finish.
Overcome with emotion at how this incredibly diverse city comes together.
The smiles on the volunteers faces.
That good sore feeling you get once you stop running.
How great that (2nd) beer tastes after 6 hours of being on your feet.
Seeing my L so happy to feel good immediately after his 2nd marathon, and right before 24 hours of travel to Asia.
It's the co-workers who always poke at me for running long (all in good humor) that came up to me Monday to ask how it went.
It's that sense of accomplishment and awe and amazement that only comes with a marathon finish.
And now the streets are devoid of the moving city of runners for another year.
Life really is better when we're connected.