Monday, October 28, 2013

Mitzi's Final Blog - Chicago is proud of it's marathon

Chicago Is Proud of Its Marathon

…and should be!  What an experience!  After attending the Expo on Saturday, we stopped at the Nike Town Store.  What a happening place…lots of energetic employees in the four story building and awesome customer service!  Everywhere we went, everyone was very friendly and happy to have us in town.

Sunday morning brought a 5:30 a.m. rise to get ready for our run.  We were out the door at 6:30 for the ¾ mile walk to the start line.  JB received a call from Chad Renn, who was in Chicago to watch his son, Zach, run in the marathon.  We were amazed to learn we were only 15 feet from where he was standing.  It was nice getting to see familiar faces.

As we made our way to our starting coral, we were completely surrounded by a mass of marathon runners.  Once the race started, it took us approximately eight minutes to cross the starting line.  We assumed we would be walking for awhile once we crossed the start line, but we actually started jogging shortly before we go to it.

The spectators were totally amazing!  Seriously, imagine 26.2 miles lined with people cheering you on.  They were all so excited to have 50,000 plus runners participating in their marathon.  Imagine a parade of runners!  The drink stations were staffed with caring individuals who tried to keep us hydrated for our run.  As for the runners, they were everywhere!  Throughout the entire route we were weaving and dodging runners.  There were hundreds of runners per block.  And for the record, we ran at least 26.6 miles due to weaving, and believe me, JB and I studied the course to cut every corner as short as possible.

As for our run, we all had personal records and were happy with our results.  I don’t think you would be normal if you didn’t catch yourself wondering where you could have shaved off some time.  I felt great at mile 16, which was the furthest we trained.  I believe it was mile 20 when it started wearing on me.  I thought to myself, one more hour of running and we’ll be done.  From mile 22 on, it was tough. 

We all stayed together until mile 15 when Lisa insisted we go on without her.  She had been battling a side ache for several miles and I felt her pain.  I used to get them all the time and they can stop you in your tracks.  At mile 16, Alison needed to stop for a restroom break so JB and I stayed back with her as Stormie ran on.  Once Alison hit the streets again, she stayed slightly behind JB and I until mile 18 when she said she needed to walk a little.  She too, insisted we go on.  JB and I caught up to Stormie and slowly edged past her.  Stormie said she hit her wall around mile 21.  I believe it was mile 22 when I told JB to go on without me.  I was getting light-headed and I knew if I stayed with her I would pass out and never finish.  And, if she stayed with me, she wouldn’t beat our 4:30 goal.  The strong willed and recovering from an injury, JB, took off for the finish line.  As I moved on, I found myself thankful for the Gatorade along the way.  I felt like my legs could get me there, but I was drained.  I’m not sure which mile I was at when the 4:30 pace group passed me, but I knew there was no way I could keep up with them at this point.

I knew there was a straight stretch from mile 24 through 26 and I kept looking for the turn at the end of 26.  The spectators throughout this stretch were incredible.  There was a constant roar from the crowd.  We had read there was a slight hill to finish the race and after running 26 miles on a relatively flat course, that slight hill was far from slight.  It truly compared to our 9th Street hill, but not on this day.  I made it 1/3 of the way and decided I had to walk it.  No, it was worse to walk so I jogged again.  No, jogging was worse.  I was thrilled to make it to the top and jogged in for my oh so happy crossing of the finish line.  I literally said out loud, “Thank you God!!” 

The whole marathon was just an incredible experience.  I can’t imagine running that distance again unless it would be in a setting like Chicago’s.  There was so much to see, I understand why runners continue to go back year after year.  My highlights of the run were:

  • Being a member of Team Higgie and Running For Our Sons…Going the distance to end Duchenne. 
  •  Having Madi and her KU friends there cheering us on.  Thank you all so much!!
  • Knowing our amazing Team Higgie support group from home was thinking about us and cheering us on.  You truly helped me through the last couple of miles.
  • Running through the area where the charity groups were gathered.  There were so many people and you could feel their support.
  • As you know, in Chicago there aren’t many flat buildings as they all go upward.  Early in the run, we ran through a block which housed maybe a nursing home or assisted living and we looked up and the windows were full of elderly people waving at us.  Imagine a mass of runners all waving at these wonderful people who probably wished they were able to run or just be outside.
  • Later in the run, we would pass a gentleman in a wheelchair who was cheering as loud as he could, “You can do it, use those legs!”  He brought tears to my eyes and I found myself wondering how long he had been sitting there cheering people on.  Very touching!
  • Crossing the finish line was awesome!  The five of us finished within 15 minutes of one another and I’m so very proud of everyone.  We trained hard and it paid off.  We didn’t want to separate from one another, but at the end we were glad everyone was able to give it their all.

We spent a lot of time running together.  Six days a week might have been a bit much for me.  Will I miss getting up at 3:00 a.m. to go run?  Not at all!

We trained for:
- 4 ½ months
- 18 weeks
- Ran 101 days out of those 18 weeks
- Averaged 6.58 miles during those 101 days (longest run was 16 miles, three times)
- Ran 6,642 minutes
- 111 hours   
4.6 days

Any way you look at it, we ran a lot.  We had laughs, stumbles, struggles, and injuries, but most of all, we have wonderful memories and I am so thankful we are able to Run For Those Who Can’t!  We get to go run, think about those that don’t have that choice.

To our supporters of Team Higgie, thank you so much!  Not only did you help us reach our monetary goal, you also played a part in getting us to the finish line.  Dr. Anders, thank you for keeping our team together.  We do appreciate you!


“There will be days when I don’t know if I can run a marathon.  There will be a lifetime knowing that I have.”

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