Wow. I sit here at my laptop, knowing full well what a huge accomplishment becoming a marathoner is.
…yet I struggle to find the right words to capture the moments that lead up to Scott and I crossing that finish line together. Hand-in-hand, as promised.
But I’ll do my best to capture the emotion of the day — with future posts on all the *other* stuff that happened leading into the big day (including a ‘bloopers’ reel which I’m sure all you Type A-ers will appreciate!).
26.2: In the words of #teamsutera
Running the Chicago Marathon was both the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but also the most proud thing I’ve ever done in my life. The days leading into the marathon itself? Marked by lots of tears, more than a few moments of anxiety and a whole lot of thinking, wondering, pondering, reminiscing. You see, this past 18 weeks meant so, so, so much more to me than the race itself. No matter what was going on in our lives from June – October, the one constant that remained? Training for 26.2. It was always there. Always present by my side. In my mind. Just like Scott has always been there, always by my side, always on my mind. <3
So leading into the big day on Sunday, all I could think about was ‘wow, this is almost over.’ The word ‘over’ felt so big, so heavy, so sad, somehow. I found myself crying in the car on the way to work anytime I thought about the marathon, or when I’d read some comforting and uplifting words from friends via text, email or tweet (Meaghan wins the award for making me cry the hardest with the most heartfelt email I’ve ever received from a friend). It all suddenly felt so rushed, so whirlwind-ish, so…nearly over. Even the morning of the marathon seemed to whir by in an instant. Next thing I knew, we were trudging down to Grant Park to find our start corral — with Jo and M by our side, trying their best to keep us (meaning: me) calm. Distracting us, making us laugh, taking pictures…even giving us both a hug before we parted ways at our corral. (the most comforting hugs of all…)
Scott and I stood in our corral, taking it all in. We were both so proud at that moment. I know that because Scott’s eyes were absolutely glowing with joy. Meanwhile, I kept hiding the fact that I was welling up with tears, sobs rising in my throat as I listened to the announcer prepare us for what would lie ahead. I didn’t want Scott to see me looking sad — when really it wasn’t sadness, but just sheer emotion at the enormity of what we were about to do. I couldn’t believe we were toeing the starting line — or once we crossed that starting line that we were actually running a marathon.
Us. Running a MARATHON. Seriously??
Now, I’m not going to go into every last bit of the race, mile-by-mile. That’s not my style, as you know. I’m here simply trying to capture the emotion of the day. Sure — it was physically painful. Sure — it tested every last ounce of mental strength I’d built up during training. Sure — it was all I could do to show strength and confidence when I saw my sis and M at mile 8 and again at mile 17 with my mom and her boyfriend Mark (when all I really wanted to do was crumple to the ground in tears). Sure — it was really hard to continue shuffling forward when we both hit the physical wall around mile 19.
But what mattered more that day? How we handled that pain, that emotion…all of it. We handled it together — just as we’ve done with every obstacle we’ve faced in life. With courage, strength and a fierce commitment to eachother and to finishing what we started.
So as we rounded that bend to mile 26 — and the announcer told the runners to take it all in, the accomplishment we were thisclose to hitting…and the emotions just came flooding forward. I was crying, big giant sobs while trying my best not to hyperventilate as we headed towards that finish line. It was more that I could finally exhale — all 18 weeks of work came rushing back at me.
We did this. We set out to finish what we started. And we did it together. Hand-in-hand, huge smiles on our faces, tears in our eyes, and more pride than either of us have ever felt in our entire lives.
So on Sunday, October 7th at roughly 1pm — Scott and I became marathoners. Finishing that thing in under 5 hours (4:54ish). But more than any number could possibly tell you? We finished what we started — together, as always.
(editor’s note: I seriously have *so* much more to share from our marathon weekend but I felt it important to start here — from the very emotional side of marathon training. A side of training I was clearly very unprepared for but so very thankful for. More to come, much, much more…)