The marathon distance should never be taken lightly. As I was reminded, the first runner of the marathon did not survive. So with my training being less than perfect, I decided to take this race easy.
The race had a later start and my corral didn’t start until 8:00am so I opted for sleeping in. We stayed just two blocks from the start so the walk to the start was easy. It was a cool morning (compared to Florida) so I enjoyed having my throw away jacket with me. I also had Thomas with me! You see Lauren’s favorite show is Thomas the Train and having a piece of her with me would “pull” me to a finish. And that was the goal – finish without injury.
The start was crowded, which can be expected at most races especially the larger ones. But the excitement of all those people together embarking on the journey of a marathon is pretty exhilarating!
At about mile 1.5 we passed the classic Chicago Theater sign, which ironically my mom and I happen upon the day before – but more of that during part two!
I got to see my mom twice in the first half of the race, thanks to the help of a fellow RMHC spectator! Once I made it the half way point I knew I could finish. Something about that halfway mark that makes you realize the finish is closer than the start. I was starting to feel my legs though, so I decided to make a game plan for finishing. I would run a song, walk a song. By this point, online church had ended and I had switched over to my old lady 90’s playlist.
This one song/one song worked! And I found myself at mile 21. My garmin was almost 1 mile off at this point so it felt like 22 miles. About mile 24 or 25, I pasted a group of ladies with encouraging signs, the one pictured below was high giving people as they ran by! The other sign said, “there will come a day that you will not be able to do this, but today is not that day.”
Its amazing what these signs can mean at such a late mile in the race! Sometimes we are too tired to respond to the signs or too focused on not dying, but if you’ve ever been a spectator at a race, let me assure you that your signs can mean the world to us!
I finished, found my mom and aunt, and enjoyed some food at the a RMHC tent. Marathon number seven was completed.
I learned the back story of my aunt’s crazy journey to get to the finish line after the race. Her flight was cancelled on Saturday afternoon, so she arrived on an early flight in Chicago and made a mad dash to get to Grant Park, where she dropped her bags with a friend of mine and made a run for the finish line. She made it with about 10 minutes to spare to see me finish. I wasn’t sure she was going to make it, so you can imagine my surprise when I rounded the finish and she was there!
The city of Chicago was beautiful. The crowds were amazing. The weather was HOT! But Thomas pulled me to a finish for Lauren and Team RMHC!