Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicago Spectating Experience - Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of this blog, click here to read the first part of the weekend...
On the way to mile 16, we met a guy originally from Perth, Australia, who was cheering on his girlfriend for her first marathon and was also with her parents.  The reason we started talking was because I was trying to see who looked like they knew what they were doing.  Come to find out others were doing the same and he was giving pointers.  He's lived in Chicago for over 5 years now and uses the trains to get around and we just chatted about the city.  He asked why we were not running (since we obviously were dressed to run a race) and Jodi told him her story, about the marathon next week and about Cleveland.  Then we mentioned how we were meeting friends at a certain point to run with them on the course to support them later in the race.  Right then the girlfriends father stopped us and immediately asked "you can do that!?!"  We explained its probably frowned upon, but plenty of people do it, so it shouldn't be a problem.  We chatted some more and it was time to switch trains.....They followed us (or I guess we followed them) and found the next one....
On the next train we also came across a guy who was cheering on his girlfriend.  One of the fun parts of these events is seeing all of the signs of support, people dressed up in outfits, silly costumes, etc, etc.....During the conversation he mentioned what he did, which I found hilarious.  He made a HUGE posterboard cutout.....of HIS FACE.  He wanted to do something different, along with a little embarrassing for his girlfriend.  Obviously the looks he got were different as people were running and seeing this huge poster and look down and see him.  At least she would not be able to miss him on the course.
We get off the train and make our way to the bridge.  We knew we had plenty of time, just not sure how much.  We decided to relax and enjoy ourselves and had our bagels that we brought.  But instead of walking towards mile 18, we felt, for some reason, just to hang out around mile 16.5 mark.  Around that time we get a text alert, showing Missi and Deb have crossed the halfway point.  Mixed emotions because we could tell something was off.  That just wasn't their pace.  I also continued to worry about Amanda, since we still never got the 10k update to our phones and was hoping she was ok.  I decided to text her and she responded saying she was at mile 15.  That was a relief.  We figured we had about 15 minutes from where she was so we got off the grass and found a spot on the side of the road.  My original idea/plan/hope from the start was to run 2-3 miles with Deb, Missi and Jodi and then stop and wait for Amanda to run a mile while Jodi finished with the girls.  This was based purely on their paces and "goal finish".  Well as we all know, marathons don't always go as planned (see my  So I suggested to Jodi, how about we both just run to 18 with Amanda.  Made perfect sense and now know "why" we felt the need to stay back.
While standing there looking out for Amanda and watching the crowds of people, I notice the guy from Australia.  At that moment we see his girlfriend running up and she gives them all hugs.  All of a sudden her Dad, who btw was a rather big boy, probably 6'4 300lbs and a knee brace, hops on the course and starts to run with his daughter.  I look over to get the attention of her mom and she sees me, smiles and gives me a thumbs up.  I don't want to take credit for that, but honestly seeing him on the course made me feel good.  I mean, would he have even been able to share that moment with his daughter had they not met us?  By the look on his face when he asked if people can jump on the course, I don't think so.  Those are the little moments that people remember and while it was probably only 100yds or so, it was still a moment.
I let Amanda know approximately where we were at and we would be on the lookout for her.  She had no idea of our plan to jump in with her.  We saw her coming and each gave her a hug and asked how she was doing.  The look on her face was priceless when we jumped in.  It was a combination of "oh cool and where are you guys going"  LOL  We ended up running through the streets of where she went to college.  She looked really strong.  Now I must admit throughout the past few weeks that I sorta gave her a hard time about remembering to smile during the race.  To the point where she probably wanted me to shut up already.  But for that day, she had actually wrote, in black marker on her left forearm...MILE = SMILE to make her remember to smile at each mile marker as suggested.  Of course the funny part is during our run she asked when mile 17 was approaching.  When I told her we already passed it, she yells out "crap I forgot to smile"  LOL.  I guess we distracted her.  We made it to the mile 18 marker and got off the course to wait for Missi & Deb.
We did some stretching, cheered some runners on and even took pictures of people by the mile 18 marker. (With their camera so they could be in the picture...haha)  One thing we did see which I thought was funny was a guy running to the side of the road to meet a group of people cheering him on.  He grabbed a beer and chugged it and then finished the other, got some hugs and went on his way.  I'm fine with drinking a beer AFTER running.  But to run 18 miles, drink then run another 8.2, well kudos to him.  I personally may have tossed my
Jodi and I figured we would play it by ear as far as the running goes, depending on how Missi and Deb were feeling.  She was scheduled for 8 miles in her training for Columbus next week and my plan was to go as far as 21, depending on how I felt and the fact that the nearest train station was in the area.  We had an idea of how things were and where they were at based on the text alerts.  Either way, Jodi said she was sticking with Deb, no matter what.  We saw them coming and you could tell something was not right.  The emotions of the day had gotten the best of them.  I just sorta stayed back and observed, since at this point it was about the 3 girls who have trained together all summer.  I was just kinda the 4th wheel, so to speak.  I could tell it was similar to Cleveland with Jodi, in the sense that Deb was drained.  So we all started off running and asked Missi if she wanted to run a bit and that Jodi would stay with Deb for now.
We headed through the streets of Chicago.  It was an absolute party.  The one thing that amazed me were the amount of people outside supporting the runners.  The music was always blaring, people with hoses spraying the runners as they ran by.  The atmosphere was incredible.  Missi and I chatted a bit, asked each other how we were feeling and I was just trying to make sure she was still having fun, because that is the whole point.  Friends and fun and memories.  Then again, I think fun is her middle name.  The girl doesn't know how to not smile or not enjoy herself through any situation.  She must of been reading my mind because at mile 20 she asked if we could stop to let Jodi and Deb catch up, which was fine with me.  I wanted to run with all 3 of them.  We hopped back on the course shortly after as they were not that far back and made it to mile 21.  Missi even gotten to use her "Sweat is just liquid awesome" line with a woman...She laughed at her and the woman's response said "oh my god, imagine if my kids heard me talking like this"  We all started walking as this was a water station.  At this point Deb was pulling a "Jodi".  By that I mean telling Missi to just go finish and run her race.  Missi of course wasn't falling for it and they went back and forth how it was not gonna happen.  She even said something about "are we going to have to throw down right here or are we going to run".  Ok, so normally, I may have been rooting for a cat fight, but there was no pillows and they were in sweaty running gear....Oh wait, my bad, I got off topic, back to the marathon...LOL  I wanted so badly to continue, but I know the next train station back to the finish line was over two miles away.  I was torn between helping them get to the finish line and trying to be smart so I don't injure myself again since I just got back to running.  I regretfully headed to the train station to go to mile 26 to meet them as they finished.
I positioned myself near the final turn and luckily it was a good spot, since they had cops and volunteers ushering people off the course who did not have bib numbers.  Makes sense and the majority of the people smiled and left.  One or two people actually had to be taken of the course by force, which was kinda comical and few of us commented on the lack of common sense that people have.  But it would be easier to find Jodi this way, rather than in a sea of spectators.
The set-up for the end of the race was a disaster.  Actually it was worse that that.  Just rediculous.  Granted, part of our issue was that we had Deb's phone, so we had no way or idea of where to meet up.  Normally at races you can meet at the finish line.  Not here, they have everything fenced off and closed.  We finally made it to an area to wait as runners were coming out and after awhile, found out this wasn't the only exit.
Amanda met up with us since she was at the hotel across the street and hung out for a bit.  We talked about her race and how she was feeling.  Finally after about at least an hour, we decided it would be best to find our way back to the hotel, since we had the key and said our goodbyes to Amanda.  Wouldn't you know it, but after walking 5-10 minutes I get a call from Amanda letting us know she ran into Deb & Missi.  Thousands upon thousands of people walking around downtown Chicago and she runs into people she just met the day  We made our way back to the hotel and tried to relax a bit.  Missi and Deb needed to catch a plane.  It was definately a long day and I didn't even run the darn marathon...I have a newfound respect for those spectating and supporting people during a marathon.  I even called Morgan, who has been the queen of spectating the past 6 months due to an injury.  Heck she did this in a walking boot.  Another shout out to her for being there back in May while we ran Cleveland....Once you get back out there I will return the favor.
Deb & Missi at the Expo with the perfect caption.  Lets run TOGETHER
Running Recap
As far as my legs and feet go, they feel pretty good.  I was really happy to get through the 4 miles.  My only issue was cardio, but I've been a lazy bum, so that was understandable.  (That's going to change soon, at least that's the I was still able to go at a decent pace, and talk a little as well.
Jodi ended up doing 9 miles and I think got to experience the other side of the struggles of a marathon.  On our drive home, she would randomly thank me again for helping her through Cleveland or ask/tell me how she now realizes what her marathon meant and why it happened and what she learned.  As her running "coach" told her, thats called good karma.
Amanda rocked out the marathon with an unofficial time around 4:50.  I say unofficial because later in the day we found out why we were not getting text alerts....Her timing chip didn't work and was not recording the time.  I know she was really bummed about it, but she started and finished and has her finishers medal, along with some stories/memories.  Doesn't matter what a website says, you can't those things away.  I can remember a time during her training that she said she wasn't sure if she could do a marathon.  Look at you now....***Update***  Amanda received an email from the Chicago marathon today and was told they fixed it and she is now official.  Woohooooo
Missi did her thing.  This was her 3rd marathon, so she is a seasoned veteran when it comes to this.  She was there to run a marathon, to experience the biggest marathon in the country and to be there to support her friend and training partner.  Mission accomplished.  She may be one of the most positive and inspirational person I have ever met and I'm glad I was able to be there for it.
Deb finished her first attempt at a marathon.  It may have not been how it was planned or how she liked, it may have not been perfect, but with all the outside factors going on....Her Mom, getting a cold, first marathon jitters and the warm weather....She did something that most people never do, never want to do or never are able to do.  She set a goal and FINISHED a marathon.  I do know there will come a time where she will look back and understand the great things she did.  She is an inspiration.
The whole "Chicago Experience" brought new meaning to things for me.  Those 4 girls, along with countless number of people we met throughout the weekend, without even knowing it, showed me a thing about life.  How to live it, how to deal with it and how to learn from it.
Next up is the the Columbus Marathon this weekend.  It's Jodi's turn as the tables will be turned on Missi and Deb as they join to support her to cross the finish line.
There are plenty of things you get second chances at, sometimes even third chances.....But you only get one chance at life.  Live it, Experience it, Love it....well, at least do your best at it.
Until Next Time.....

1 comment:

  1. Love the post Dave! And another big thanks to you and Jodi for running that 1+ miles with me. I really was surprised! And of course great job for Deb. I know it's hard when things don't go as planned but she finished! Most people probably sat on their couches that day...she ran 26.2 miles!! Awesome!!