Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Marathon Weekend: The Pre Race

Let me be very clear.  I did NOT run a marathon.  My man of steel husband and tough as nails friends ran a marathon.  Instead of pushing myself to physical exhaustion, I decided to relive the past.  I became a cheerleader...again.  Only this time I did not wear a uniform (no one would want to see that).

Just mulling over the things I would like to share with you has a lump in my throat and big crocodile tears wellin' up in my eyes.  I can't even begin to describe to you how incredibly proud I am of my husband and friends.  The opportunity I had to train halfway through allowed me to get a minor glimpse of how incredibly difficult the physical and mental aspect of this race would be for my husband and friends.  I am thankful for that knowledge.  It allowed me to appreciate them all the more.

But, let me start at the beginning...

We left early Friday morning for Chicago.  We were all so excited to navigate an airport sans kids and kid gear.  We got to our local airport in plenty of time to have some coffee and talk. This is how cool parents act when they are childless.  They decide to take pics of themselves.  Most of the passengers waiting to board the plane were staring.  I'm sure they thought we were celebrities.


When we arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon, we went straight to the Runner's Expo.  That place was every runner's dream.  Nike, New Balance, Saucony, and Mizuno gear, stretching equipment, snacks, refueling products, videos, technique training...anything and everything related to running was under one roof.  We walked out with a race day outfit and The Stick (thanks to a sneaky friend).  We also walked out with some major excitement.  So many runners picking up their packets and so much anticipation. I got nervous, and I wasn't even running the race.

{Steven and Erica at the entrance of the Expo} 

{Steven checking in to get his race day packet}

{Nike's cool photo op}

{Erica, Steven, and Sarah...the runners with the course map and distance}

After we had explored the Expo we headed downtown to enjoy Chicago.  There is something about walking the streets of Chicago that ignites my inner 'city girl'.  Let's be honest.  I'm an OK city girl. In Chicago, I'm a country girl.  It's all relative.  Of course we did the tourist pics making all the locals wait before they could cross in front of us.  YOLO!

 {Erica and I in front of the famous Chicago sign}

 {Seriously?  Do you see that hunk next to me?!?!}

{Sarah, me, and Erica at Giordano's Pizza.  These two ladies are beyond selfless} 

{Gigantic Chicago style pizza.  Can I get a holla for my husband's facial expresssion?)

After a morning of travel, the Expo, sight-seeing, and shoving our faces full of Chicago style pizza we were all ready for bed.  We headed to Steven's uncle's home right outside downtown for some rest.  

The next morning we were up and ready for a morning of shopping at Lululemon.  If you have never experienced the feel of Lululemon on your body, you are missing out.  As frugal as I am, I will splurge on Lulu attire.  Good news...they have a clearance section.  I helped myself to a new jacket, running shorts, and two tanks. At first Steven rolled his eyes until I handed him a pair of men's running shorts and insisted he try them on.  The look on his face when he opened the dressing room door was priceless.  Needless to say, he gets it and now owns his first pair of Lululemon running shorts.  

{Erica and I being brand snobs with our Lulu bags}

Once we had our fill of shopping and realized Erica and Steven needed rest, we headed back to the house and prepped for race day.  Steven taught Erica his pre race ritual...laying out his race attire and gear the night before a run...


The jitters were really beginning to set in.  The next day was going to be the most challenging physical feat for Steven and Erica.  I slept very little.  My stomach was in knots thinking about what they were about to do.  Words cannot express the emotional roller coaster of watching your loved ones push themselves beyond pain and suffering.  

Tomorrow I'll share race day, then on Friday you can read about post race day.  Erica is working on writing a post from the actual runner's stand point.  It is all very different for her.  This is all completely from my spectator view.  However, being a spectator is no joke! 


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