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My spectating Naperville marathon recap!

I haven’t been blogging as much lately…why?  Well, I suppose because I primarily write about running, and I haven’t BEEN running so…yeah.   

Well, this past weekend was a bit different.  I had been feeling low, suffering from terrible PMD (post marathon depression), especially without being able to actually ‘run it off.’

So instead of continuing my month long pity party, I hung up my sloppy party dress which consisted of worn out jammies and fuzzy slippers that have seen better days. 

Instead, I spent this past Saturday evening with my running friends, where we celebrated one of our very own, Pam, which qualified for BOSTON!  WOW!  She is a rock star, and such an awesome person.   We gathered, ate, had a few drinks (some more than others, lol), and I called it an early night knowing I had an early wake up on Sunday. 
 

Early wake up you ask?  Why, on a Sunday?  I’m not racing?  Nope…but I had SOOO many friends running the inaugural Naperville Marathon and I was NOT going to miss it.  Would it be hard to see my friends running while I stood on the sidelines?  I thought so, briefly…

But it wasn’t hard at all. 

I set my running clothes out before going to bed.  Just in case someone might need me…you never know!  My awesome sign was made, bags were packed, and thanks to Carolyn I had a map in hand.  I could navigate this on my own, right?  This coming from the most directionally challenged person I know….yup…ME. 
 

I woke up on Sunday just before 5, dressed, washed, and packed up to drive the hour to Naperville.  This drive brought back memories of my once LONG commute-yet now I am at peace with the year and a half I worked at Edward Hospital.  Stepping stones, right?

I found parking easily, and met up with Andrea who was waiting inside as it was CHILLY out.  I can’t remember the temp…COLD.  LOL. 
 

I was able to see the other 2 of my 3 musketeers, Janel and Melissa, and there were a lot of hugs, and tears. 
 
 

Off to their corrals they went, and I was able to catch up with my sister who was also there spectating!  I only saw her briefly, but was great to get a quick hug, and cheer all the runners on together as they took off. 

I ran to my Jeep, knowing I needed to navigate to the 4 mile marker.  I did so with ease despite the traffic and road closures, and got to see so many of my friends pass by!  I was holding my sign like a crazy woman, and having a blast. 

The 9 mile marker was a bit more strategic as SOOOO many roads were blocked off.  Yet I made it, talked to a wonderful neighborhood gentleman who offered me hot tea (really, who does that anymore?  I was so touched!) and saw Jim first, then Kim and Char, as well as Andrea!  Time to head to the next stop! 

CRAP my gas light came on, and I had to pee…so I quickly gassed up, and peed and picked up coffee and a candy bar.  Breakfast of champions?  Heck yeah…I was on a mission.  This next stop was the 14.5 mile mark, where the runners were headed into a pretty desolate part of the forest preserve so I didn’t want to miss them.  I had to park nearly a mile away, but thankfully I had my running shoes on so I quickly (relatively speaking with a torn Achilles) arrived with my sign in hand.  I saw JJ at this point, as well as all my friends except Andrea.  My heart sank…I had missed her.  She texted saying she had already hit 15, so I knew it was time to move on. 

I will say, that the high fives, thanks from the crowd, and excitement for my sign made my heart sing.  I have truly fallen in love with spectating marathons. 

Off to the 20 mile or so marker I went…thankfully one of Andrea’s friends was already there, and helped me navigate my way there.  I parked, walked over to a good spot, and met up with Greg who kept me company for the next hour.  We started to worry after having seen all of our other runners…but where was Andrea?  Was she ok? 

She was ok…but she was hurting.  I told Greg he’d more than likely have to hold my sign, because I wasn’t going to let her to the last leg alone.  I knew she needed her friends.  So as I saw her come up the incline, I pitched my sign, and we took off running.  We ran/walked the last 6 miles…

The first few miles, Derek was with us on his bike, after just pacing a friend, and running his own race.  Tom met up with us around mile 22, and we settled in.  There were several bouts of cussing, back talk, jokes, and ‘that’s what she said” banter. 

I may, or may have not busted out in song, singing, “I like big butts and I cannot lie” after hearing Andrea’s complaints of butt pain. 
 

We kept moving, the entire time, and I even offered to massage her foot…who does that?  Massaging a sweaty, just ran a marathon foot?  Yeah… I offered.  I love this girl.  She rode her bike, with an ice pack on her foot during my marathon this year…mile 22?  She was there…telling me how damn strong I looked, when I felt otherwise.  I was NOT going to leave her struggling.  Ever. 

Mile 24 put us back in the trails near her home, where it was just so darn gorgeous I couldn’t even put words to it…beautiful homes, trees, paths.  I was so elated to just be running with my friends at this point, despite seeing her struggle.  We ran…we walked…and then we ran some more.  Mile 25 was headed back into downtown, and I knew it was hard….hell it was hard for me and I only ran 6 miles.  But she kept going…SHE didn’t quit. 

The last .2, Tom and I held back, and let her GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO….we pushed up the final hill together, and then let her finish HER race strong.  I had to stop and capture THIS moment…this moment that I know she will never forget. 
 

This woman has told me more times than I can count over the last year that she is a “broken runner.”  She didn’t believe in herself…yet I didn’t quit encouraging her….just like she did for me. 

I swore I wouldn’t finish my marathon this summer.  I was “broken” with knee/ITB issues.  Yet she continued to believe in me. 

And I.  In her. 

This DO EPIC SHIT lady, with her exterior of steel, yet a heart of gold, has moved me in more ways that I can express. 
finish line hugs.  the best. 
 

And tonight, when she called to play the song, “I like big butts,” I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud. 

In the end, I am so proud of all my friends, for setting their goals high, and never quitting. 

I am truly blessed. 
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