(This post is dedicated to Bonnie...I hope you get this.)
Well Rianman didn't run the marathon but we went to support our friends Jodie, Mallika, and Marcus--each experienced marathoners. We arrived on Saturday to Chicago, the place we consider home. We started our visit with an el ride to Belmont so we could get pastries at Bittersweet, the bakery from which we got our wedding cake 8 years ago.
Carbo load meal 1
We followed that with a tasty carbo loading lunch at Pompei Little Italyon Sheffield. Yeah, I know....we didn't need to carbo load but hey it was a good excuse.
We then took the red line down to Chinatown to walk to McCormick place for the marathon expo. I didn't know what to expect but I guess a marathon with 45,000 participants is going to have one heck of an expo. And it didn't disappoint. It was awesome! We got all kinds of goodies, tried different nutrition samples, and got a free CTA card from Bank of America. It really was impressive.
Carbo load meal 2
After the expo, we went back to Belmont and met Marcus, Christy and Darla for the carbo load dinner at Leona's. We were happy Marcus et al wanted to meet there..a nice local place that is low key and in a real neighborhood. Now I've seen some endurance athletes eat some crazy stuff before a race (see Steve in a Speedo) but Marcus had a glass of wine and pasta and a meatball and garlic bread. Impressive! Rianman would never temp his stomach in such a way.
After dinner we headed to Nike Town to meet Jodie and her family. It was great to see her again. I was just worried that her stomach was upset. But nerves can happen. Jodie handed us the Red Hot support crew bag filled with maps and all kinds of goodies including Slim Jims....love Slim Jims. Thanks Jodie!!
Finally we headed back to the hotel room and set the alarm for 6 am. Our room had a dead center terrific view of Buckingham Fountain and more importantly the start corrals for the race. As we woke on Sunday morning, we saw endless people getting ready for the race. WOW. There isn't a lot to say about it...45,000 runners and exponentially more supporters. It's like nothing I've ever seen.
At 8 am we met Christy at State and Wacker to watch for our runners at mile 1.5. The wheelchair racers came first...so inspirational. I couldn't imagine the determination it must take to overcome or live within their constraints and surpass what others believe they can do. We then watched as the elite runners flew by us...we would never see them again.
After the 5:45 pace group passed we realized we missed seeing Mallika, Marcus, and Kari. We had to move north to Lakeview. We hopped on the brown line to Belmont and walked to Broadway and met with Michelle to cheer our runners on. We saw Sally, Marcus, and Jodie. It was so exhilarating cheering them and all the strangers on.
Mile 21: Chinatown
After Jodie passed, we headed south on the red line to Chinatown. We had time so we went to Three Happiness for dim sum...oh my god was that most perfect part of our plan. While our friends were running their hearts our in the heat and sun of an unseasonably warm day, we were munching away on shrimp dumplings, turnip cakes, shu mai, and more. Once finished, we made our way west to an open spot and cheered everyone we could. Recommendation for future runners - put your name on your shirt...it really helps the fans.
Sally and Marcus passed us and they looked good but the weather was taking a bit of a toll. We were sure they'd finish though. We waited though for Jodie. We knew she might be hurting from her stomach issues. After some time we saw her. I commented that she was dry--everyone else had been soaked in sweat. She said she has vomited and sat out for 10 minutes. She was far behind pace but we convinced her she would finish and try to give her tips that worked for Rianman...just get to the next aid station. Just one aid station at a time.
As a group we now needed to get to Grant Park. Michelle returned home, Rianman and I went to check out at the hotel, and Christy went to the 27th Mile to wait for Marcus. After we checked out we met Christy at the 'Z' section and saw that Marcus had just made his way there. What a great sight! He was happy and sweaty. He did it!! We said our congrats then went to the 'B' section to wait for Jodie. Unfortunately we had to get to the airport but we left having heard Jodie finished...with minutes to spare. No she didn't have a great race but she finished and she stuck is out where others wouldn't have. She walked much of the last miles but in the last 1.5...she ran it in and because she did, she finished. She's a champ!! We're so proud of her and Marcus and Mallika - who also maintained a great 3:40 pace for most of the race. You rock Mallika.
Rianman now thinks he may want to do Chicago next year. It's chaotic but a pretty cool race so maybe I'll support that. One thing I'm glad about...Rianman now knows how hard it is to be a supporter. It's physically exhausting but emotionally enriching. I'm glad he knows now what I go through being TriSupporter.
I'll post pictures later....I'm away on biz and don't have my camera.
Keep on training friends.