My Top Ten things I learned at the Chicago Marathon
- The Nike Town Store in Chicago is the best store I’ve ever been to. Ever. Seriously ever. You cannot walk in without smiling and you definitely can’t walk out without smiling. They have dancing employees –Dancing and Shopping. What a great marketing idea… We even danced the Wobble in the middle of the store! It is awesome!
- Never trust Siri when asking for bar locations. You’ll have to ask one of us ladies for this story. J
- GU…UGH. My go to fuel for training and racing is always the GU gels. You can eat them fast, they have enough calories and plenty of good stuff in them to keep you fueled during 26 miles. My favorite is the Vanilla Bean. I think they taste like a tootsie roll. But after eating 6 of them (one every 4 miles) I could care less to see another for a REALLY long time! And having almost barfed them up 2 times during the race, I’m really pumped that I don’t have to look at or taste one for a while!
- Don’t forget to keep your eyes open and be in the moment. From the signs, to the buildings to the eyes of the spectators, it was amazing to take it all in. There were such great signs! “Kenyans are lazy because they only run 2 hours”, “Toenails are for sissy’s”, “You run better than the government” and so many other great ones. A sign I remember in particular was a young lady holding a big sign on the right side of the road that said “I don’t know you but I’m so proud of you!” I loved that one. The buildings and the scenery that we ran through was just breath taking. Chinatown and many of the other neighborhoods were beautiful! The coolest thing was that there were even spectators on the second or third floor of the buildings. If you looked up, you could see those people. We ran by a second floor home for older people and they were waving and cheering and other apartments that if you looked up, you could see people watching from their windows. It was so awesome. I’m very glad that I was aware of my surroundings this marathon as last time, I wasn’t really in body. If I would’ve been like that this time, I would’ve missed it all. Right Alison? J
- No matter how hard you train, how fit you believe you are, there comes a time when you hit that point of pain and self-doubt. It is in your mind how you adjust and overcome that point. The key to running a marathon, running faster, or running further is to prepare for that exact moment when you have to be mentally tough. For myself, I was stronger this marathon than last, but still not as strong as I want or know I can to be.
- True friends are those that are genuinely happy for you when you succeed. In life, those people that applaud you and stand behind you and watch with true admiration when you succeed in anything, are truly friends. I always compare running to life. In running, there always comes a time when you and your group feel differently. When I struggle in running, the last thing I want is for the girls to wait on me if I’m sucking it up. I actually faintly remember saying during one training run that I would kick someone’s @$$ if they waited on me J A true runner friend will tell you to go when they may be falling behind. Or yell at you, or point at you or whatever. I am so happy for JB to finally run like we all know she can.
- Never underestimate the power of support. I almost felt like I could feel everyone’s eyes on me. The support that we had in Wellington was felt by all of us during our run. It sounds weird, but it’s true. We could feel it. The Run for Our Sons team also had a support area on race day. We met a great little 14 year old young man with Duchenne who was there in his scooter and he was jumping up and down in his seat and clapping for us. It reminded me of Ethan and the reason we were here. It was so inspiring. And the crowds in Chicago were amazing!! At one point during the race, I was by myself around mile 23 and I just needed a boost. So, I ran over to a long line of people and literally said out loud “I need some love” and held out my hand and there were so many people who grabbed or slapped my hand. One lady in particular, squeezed my hand and I felt it. Another man running beside me at that time ran by me and gave me a high five. It was totally what I needed at that moment. I also made sure and touched every sign I saw that said “Touch here for power” – it works! Just in case you were wondering.
- Always nice to have a hand. I am sorry to Mitzi and Lisa for squeezing their hands so much during our flights. I’m a nervous flyer and I swear a few times, they probably almost lost fingers.
- Marathon finishers walk the same. It was hilarious watching all the marathoners walking around on Monday after the race. You could totally tell who ran because these were the people who walked around like they just got off a horse, or took one step at a time on ANY elevated surface i.e. curbs, stairs, or to get in a cab, or the face of pain when having to sit down for any reason or God forbid if you have to go to the bathroom. Thankfully no one can see you in there.
- Pinkie swears never really count, right? J
I cannot begin to express the gratitude that I and my family have towards these 4 girls and the entire community of Wellington. You all have stood behind us and this cause and for Ethan without hesitation. I truly am grateful and humbled by the support that you all have shown. I believe everything happens for a reason and we are here in this moment in time for a purpose. And that purpose is to do whatever I can in my power to save Ethan. I will run a million marathons if it means that I can raise more money for the cause and help find a cure. Much love to you all!
Stormie - TEAM HIGGIE!