I knew it would happen. All it took was a full day of marathon spectating at the Chicago Marathon and I’m dying to do another. It’s a good thing Las Vegas is full and has a time limit that is far faster than my abilities, or my crazy self would be signing up immediately.
But let’s back it up a bit and talk about how that came to be.
Goose and I left bright and early yesterday morning to cheer for the Chicago Marathon. I had several friends running, including my friend Regina, who was running her very first marathon! (Spoiler alert: she nailed it.)
We had lots of signs. One was appropriate and will make my mother proud.
The rest were not. (Mom, skip this part.) Despite being slightly suggestive, they made lots of runners laugh and got a lot of shout-outs and high fives. I know how much a funny sign or really enthusiastic spectator can pick up your spirits during a marathon, so it made me a little giddy to think our signs might be doing that for other people. (See, Mom? My inappropriate signs were helpful.)
Perhaps our next stop with these signs should be Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure. I think Michael Scott would be proud.
We watched the elites run past at mile two and then headed over to 13.5 to camp out. I’ve never seen the elite runners later in the race, and that was pretty darn cool. Good grief, they’re fast! Before I knew it, Goose pointed out Regina and I started screaming my head off. It took her a while to realize it was me, but eventually she figured out that I was not just an enthusiastic stranger. I gave her a hug and promised to see her at mile 17.
At that point, Goose and I split up. He went down to Chinatown and I headed the 17 mile marker to wait for Regina.
As I was waiting for Regina, I got word that my friend Dan wasn’t doing well. I knew he was running with his phone, so I sent him a text letting him know I’d be waiting at mile 21 and would run with him as far as he needed. And then, before I knew it, Regina’s smiling face was there again, looking strong as ever.
Regina and Trish were running strong. They didn’t feel like a million bucks (but who does at this point in the race?!) but they were rocking a consistent pace and still smiling sometimes. Seeing friends and family in the crowd gave her an instant boost, and once we knew we were almost at mile 21 (where I’d be handing them off to our friend Megan), Regina was beaming. There comes a point in every marathon where you realize that you are actually going to finish. I was a part of those miles for Regina and I am so happy to have been there. It was only after I got home that I realized I was so wrapped up in trying to take care of her that I never got a photo of us together! Dang it. But trust me. She looked awesome.
Once I left Regina, I found Goose, bought a bottle of Gatorade and shoveled some snacks into my face. No time for lunch when a friend is having a Marathon struggle. I know what a difference a friend (or two) can make on a marathon course. It was time to channel my inner Barb and help Dan get closer to the finish.
I stuck with Dan until “the hill” just before mile 26. We mostly shuffled, chatted, and I reminded him that we all have less than ideal days sometimes. When that happens, you suck it up and do what you can with what you have. Dan did that yesterday.
At the “inspiration mile” (I’m not sure which one that was, but it was late in the course.) I saw some signs I was madly in love with, mostly because they were my race philosophy in writing.
After helping Dan get to the hill, Goose and I headed home. I left with sunburned cheeks, a smile on my face, tons of pride for my friends, and the itch to run the Chicago Marathon again. Not just “a” marathon, but Chicago. Maybe next year?
Tell me your spectating stories. Do you love it? Hate it? Does it get you itching to race?
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