After weeks and weeks of preparation and building anticipation I ran and finished the 2011 Chicago Marathon.
My body is healing up pretty well. I can feel my ankles again and my stomach no longer feels like a bottomless pit. My voice is still scratchy, nonetheless, I am a marathon finisher!
When I wrote to the Sun Times requesting entrance to the closed race I put in my essay that training and running a marathon was a solitary task. Something only I could do.
That logic is a bit off the mark. Yes, it was my feet hitting the ground that got me across the finish line, but it was also the care and support of my husband and the training tips from my Run Fairy that made all the difference.
My ankles gave my issues throughout the training process so I was a little concerned about what would happen after 5 hours of running. And sure enough I felt their fury. But seeing my husband pop up every few miles with his "Go LaLa!" sign helped to keep my mind from dwelling on the pain.
When I finally reached mile 24 I was completely spent and knew I wouldn't see Marcus again until after the finish line. Tears started to fill my eyes because I was so tired both physically and emotionally.
Then I look up and my Fairy Run Mother is standing there with a smile. It was like she had just appeared before my eyes. And she just started talking.
"How are you feeling?" "You're gonna finish this!" "I've got gear for your boys." "You're such a big success!"
As we made our way (she walking, me limping) toward the 25 mile marker she was whipping up cheers from the crowd to encourage me the whole way.
When I saw the 25 mile line I told her I was going to run it in. She smiled and trotted slightly ahead to clear the way and provide motivation. My Run Mother stayed with me until I got to the final 800 meters and told me to go.
I cried the whole way in. It was the 'ugly cry' so thank goodness my sunglasses acted as a barrier to my face.
But the love I felt from my husband, my fairy, and the city of Chicago made me so full. Achy, but full.
So today is my 29th birthday, but I feel as through Sunday was the real celebration of my 29 years on this earth.
Hey, it was my party....