A painted building on the Kennedy Expressway - Taken in the car. Friday at the Expo with Charlie, Petra and my daughter, Chase.
After an amazing dinner (a recommendation from Runner Geezer 26.2
) on Saturday evening joined by Petra
and his family, Melisa
, her husband and their support crew, my family and I called it an early night. I had all of my marathon preparations taken care of, I packed the majority of our belongings and I was in bed at 10:30 PM. Bill, Melisa, Charlie, Me, my son Stone and Petra.
I slept well and I only woke up once during the night. And when my alarm went off at 5:45 AM Sunday morning, I was ready to start the day.
I had a plan to meet Petra in the lobby of my hotel at 6:30. With one broken elevator, it took a few extra minutes to get down 37 floors. Petra and I walked to Charlie and Melisa's hotel. We met out front for a few pictures, spent a few minutes chatting and then we all headed to the port-a-potty lines. The lines moved really quickly and we made our way to the starting corrals.
It had been chilly for most of the week and I was prepared for some cooler weather. I bought a thermal underwear shirt and cut it up the front jacket style. My thought was use it for warmth for the first few miles. Before the race even started I had placed it in the corral fence. It was warm enough in a sleeveless shirt. I just didn't know how warm it would end up being.At the Expo with Petra.
Petra and I said our good-byes to Charlie, Melisa and Bill, Mr. Irish Blue, and found our place between the 10:00 and 11:00 pace signs.
Soon enough we were on our way. Okay, so it took us about 15 minutes to cross the start line. But then
we were moving.
The first few miles were a blur. We looked for my family as we crossed the first bridge around the 1.5 mile mark. My kids made signs and they were looking forward to cheering us on. We didn't see them.
The next bridge pass over the Chicago River was around the 2.5 mile mark. Again, Petra and I looked through the crowd, but we didn't see them. the course took us North through some really pretty parts of the city. We passed a band and during the middle of a song the singer stopped singing and said "Go Petra! Go Maddy!" Our names on our shirts absolutely made us feel like rockstars!
Near 6 miles, we saw a couple with laminated signs pinned to their back that said they were completing their 50 marathons in 50 states that day. I noticed that the man was wearing a Track Shack shirt. I spoke to them briefly, they are from Oviedo, just on the other side of Orlando. Petra and I congratulated them and moved on.
Soon we saw Petra's hosts and they took a few pictures as we went by. We continued on through Old Town and passed the restaurant
where we had eaten the night before.
The miles were blending together and although I had slowed down a little bit, I was still feeling pretty good. We turned onto Hubbard Street and I told Petra that I thought it was a requirement that I looked strong on Hubbard Street. She agreed.
We soon made our final pass over the Chicago River. Finally, finally when I was parallel with my family I saw them. they had missed me also at their other two attempts. I yelled to them and they waved, I kept moving along. We had not prepared well with specific meeting spots. I had no idea until after the race that there would be 1.5 million spectators.
Petra and I made it to the half at 2:25:00 We were running the city and there was still ample amounts of shade provided by the sky scrapers. Once we made our way South the shade disappeared and the temperature soared.
Once we were out of the downtown area a woman was offering ibuprofen with small cups of water, I gladly took two. My groin, while noticeable, was not really bothering me, and I really wanted to keep it that way.
I knew I was holding Petra back and I told her to go ahead. She refused. She would get about 20 yards ahead, walk and once I caught up, she would start running with me again. Throughout the race we had walked each water stop. It was really just too congested to not walk. At this point I was looking forward to the upcoming water stops for an opportunity to walk just for a minute.
When we got to Mile 17, I said to Petra, "Single digits to go!" At one point again, I urged her to go on without me, she said no.
I could no longer take in the Gatorade they were offering. I had switched to water only. to this point in the race I had consumed three packs of watermelon sport beans. Between the beans and the Gatorade, my stomach had too much - not really sweet, just too much. I did take the Twizzlers, Skittles and Jolly Ranchers I was offered - more to keep my mind off of what was still ahead of me.
Petra was just a saint, an amazing friend, and a fabulous person. The poor thing, it seemed that every time she spoke to me, I said "What?" and she repeated herself. I was concentrating so hard on moving forward, I was having a hard time comprehending anything else. But throughout it all she stayed with me. And for that I am thankful!
Right at mile 20 there was a water stop. I was really having a tough time of it. Petra knowing that I had dedicated each mile to someone went into pep talk mode, just as I had gone face-first into "the wall".
"Who is mile 20 for Maddy?" Petra asked.
"My Mom." I said, as I burst into tears. I was really feeling like I had just had it.
Petra was so calm and explained to me that she knew my mother would be so proud of me and that I was setting an amazing example for my children. She also said that we were not only going to run this mile for my mom, but for Baby Isaac
She grabbed my hand and I was pumped up. We continued on and over the next six miles I received nothing but encouragement and kind words from my friend.
Five miles to go, that's nothing, you do that in the morning before work.
Four miles left, piece of cake.
A guy a work with owns a loft at mile 23, he explained to me where it was and told me to keep an eye out for it. That entertained me for a half mile or so. I never did find it. Again I asked Petra to go on. She told me that she had stuck with me for 23 miles and there was no way she was leaving me for the last three. I was so grateful! It was HOT, I was struggling, but I had someone who would not give up on me.
Before I knew it we had one mile to go. Petra grabbed my hand and said that she would hold my hand as long as I needed her to. We were going to finish this thing!
We made our way up the biggest hill of course, which is really just mean turned onto Columbus Avenue. The finish line was right there!
We crossed in 5:14:34 - A PR for me and a PW for Petra.
I cannot thank Petra enough for her kindness and sticking with me for the entire race. Without her help and urging, I don't think this would have been a PR Race for me. The Prize
After my second marathon, I know I am not done yet. There are many more marathons in me.