Thursday, October 26, 2006

The suspense ends…

Mike's Chicago Marathon Medal

I know you have all been dying to know what I am so proud of Mike for. Well, your wait is over.

This past weekend, Mike completed his second marathon. He's run once before, that was in Nashville for the Country Music marathon back in April(?). Being relatively new to my job at the time, I couldn't go support him for I had no vacation time. He trained hard for many months and raised a lot of money with Team in Training. He finished then, and had ambitions to run a marathon in every state. Life went on, and shortly after finishing he and a friend he had made during training decided to run in the Chicago Marathon together. You have to sign up early, they only let 40,000 people enter. Life continued to go on, we bought a house and moved, work became tougher, his training less strenuous.

Chicago Marathon - October 22, 2006

Though he wasn't really in the mindset anymore to run a marathon (I mean, who in their right mind would be, right?), he was determined to do so. So last Friday, Mike prepared for his journey downtown, planning to stay with a friend in the city. I, on the other hand, wobbled to and fro between going down with him Saturday morning, taking the train in Sunday morning for the race and not going at all (before you judge, Chicagoland has had quite a cold snap and it was supposed to rain all day Sunday).

Sunday morning rolled around, I was decked out in my warmest apparrel (that I could find) and I had to the train shortly after the race had started. Luckily, the half way point was just a couple blocks from the train station and I was due to arrive shortly before Mike thought he should hit it. Talk about perfect. So I made my way to the crowds, people cheering on "Go Runners!" for people they don't know, sporting a foam finger I adorned with Mike's bib number. I watched every runner go by intent on not missing Mike. Along the way I got to see the Super Friends (Wonderwoman, Captain Planet and The Flash), Elvis, and Ninja Turtles Donatello and Raphael (sadly I didn't get a picture of any, I had mittens on and my hands in my pockets so my reflexes were slow).

Anyone who knows me out there will not believe what I am about to say next. When I finally saw Mike coming towards me, I started jumping up and down, waving my foam finger, screaming his name. Luckily he saw me…if he didn't I would have felt stupid. He yelled for me to come on the street, so I did. I was one of the those supporters I was in awe of last month in the Quad Cities. I ran with him (well jogged) - downhill as Mike points out adamantly - for a block until I could get back off the street. I was morale runner! I was so happy to be able to see him actually running the race.

So after wandering around downtown for awhile, I made my way to Grant Park and fought my way to the finish line. It was cold and super crowded (imagine, 40,00 runners with on average 3 supporters per runners all at the finish line). I managed to get relatively close about 75 meters in front of the finish and slowly was able to work my way to the front of the fence as time passed. I waited awhile probably over an hour (I wanted to make sure I got there). And it sucked because the spectator fence was pretty far away from the course (probably like 15 feet) and they were blasting bad pop music. Mike had no chance of hearing me, but once again after anxiously watching every runner cross my path and worry that he hadn't made it, I saw him and started to jump up and down screaming.

Realizing that he didn't see or hear me I jogged to the finish and got as close to the fence as possible as he walked the "cool down", hoping he would turn and see me. To know that I was there cheering him on, supporting him. And he did, he was beat. He hurt. He was drained, but he finished. And I was there to see him, to cheer him on, to support him…and more importantly, carry his stuff and act as a human crutch as we hobbled our way to the EL.

After the Finish

Mike don't kill me for posting this picture. I'm so proud of you! And the rest of you can see just how spent he was. He's laying on a street corner in the middle of the Loop. A corner that probably 100,000 people had tread on just that day alone. Gross.

No comments: