26.2 — in moments, snippets and pictures

#teamsutera has taken it’s sweet time in processing all that was marathon weekend in Chicago, huh?
…I guess that’s because we’re both kind of still in awe, still sorting through what those 26.2 miles meant to each of us. It meant a helluva a lot, I’ll tell you that. 😉

So today, we’re co-writing this post to share some of our favorite moments from that weekend — in moments, snippets and pictures (in no particular order)

Walking forward in our corral, slowing marching towards that starting line. We were corral “K.” There was someone upfront carrying a big sign with the letter “K” emblazoned on the front of it. Every time it moved. We moved. That is, until we were thisclose to the starting line. The moment we saw that “K” drift to the side of the road instead of directly in front of us? Awe-inspiring. Stomach-dropping. It was go-time. And we knew it. 

Setting out our race gear the night prior — this was the wifey’s job. Pinning our bibs on the front of our shirts, setting out our sneakers – putting the d-tags on our sneakers (the hubs job, way too technical for the wifey), laying out our socks, throaway tops and shorts. We both wore the same exact outfit we wore for every single long run. Shorts and a tank for the wifey; shorts and a t-shirt for the hubs. In Scott’s eyes, we’d ‘hurt their feelings’ if we left them behind since ‘they’ (meaning our long run attire) would be offended if we didn’t take them out on race day. <—he’s so cute 😉

Running along around somewhere around the midway point in the race — we passed a retirement home…the smiles and waves from the windows was heart-warming. As our eyes gazed up from the second floor to the third floor and beyond, we caught the smiles of more faces in the window…all smiling, joyful, perfectly content watching the runners whiz by. I remember distinctly thinking man, I am so able, I need to enjoy this more. 

Reaching the top of the first incline and setting our sights on the road ahead — everywhere we looked there were runners. Filling the streets from side to side, front to back. It was awesome. 

Rounding the corner around mile 7 and seeing a blog reader — Nikki! — with a bright #teamsutera sign and the BIGGEST smile and loudest, most energizing cheers ever. Her energy was contagious and made me giggle…we both pumped our arms into the air and cheered right back at her. I loooved that moment. (you’re the best, Nikki!!)

Practically jumping out of my skin with excitement as we entered the marathon expo — talk about the one trade show floor that I’ve always wanted to walk but never had a chance to (I’m more used to high-tech trade shows with lots of techy geeks everywhere you look). I’m pretty sure we’ll have to take a second mortgage out on the house after the amount of cash we dropped at the expo. I just couldn’t contain myself. At. All. 

There was Elvis. Drag queens. The Queen of England. And I’m pretty sure around every single bend there was at least one group of spectators playing “Gangnam Style” — a song we just so happened to have talked about more than a few times during dinner the night prior. Random, much? 

Hitting a big-time mental block around mile 17. Trying to take some fuel but even that wasn’t helping matters. I was toast. It was too soon for that. Way too soon. I was ready to cry. We rounded the bend and Scott saw them first — it was my mom and her boyfriend Mark. They were RIGHT where we needed them to be. I don’t even remember what Mark said but it was something very motivating I remember that much (lol). And my mom? Well she was too busy trying to get the best possible shot to say much other than a yell of support. (she told me after that she probably took a picture of 100 different runners all who rounded that bend before us…she was so afraid to miss the shot that she just kept snapping pics. so cute.)

Miiiiiike Ditka. ‘nuf said.

Feeling inspired around every corner. First – we saw a blind runner with his guide running right beside him. I mean, how awesome is that? And then we saw an amputee runner who was most certainly running much faster than us…I have to believe he was propelled purely by joy that he was able to run at all. I know that’s exactly how I’d feel. I tried to pick up my pace after that. 

Around mile 20 or 21, when all I wanted to do was to stop moving, sit down and cry. I looked over at Scott, saw the pained expression on his face and heard him say “stay right by my hip, I’ll bring you home.” And I wanted to cry both out of relief that he was with me, as he always is, but also out of sheer adoration that no matter how much he was hurting, he would push that down as hard as he could to keep me going. That’s love. ❤

Thinking about all of our friends, family, and #runsherpas who were receiving constant updates via text every time we crossed one of the timer mats. Every time I stomped over one I thought about them. It made my heart smile to think about them grabbing their phones to see what the text would tell them. Little did I know that many of them were also following along to my sister Jo’s constant tweets and Facebook messages. I spent a good two hours laying on the bed in the hotel room after the marathon reading and re-reading them all. Often crying through my responses because it meant so much to me. So, so, so much. (annnd I’m crying again while blogging, this is becoming quite the regular occurrence up in here). I was in awe when I searched #teamsutera in twitter and saw the giant stream of tweets. Seriously, unreal. 

Mile marker 25. Yayyyy. Mile marker 25.2? Slap in the face. C’mon really?? That and all the “one more mile” chants we heard were infuriating when we were well into that last mile. We kept yelling “we have less than that!!” clearly perturbed that the spectators were *so* wrong in their distance estimations. 

Mile marker 26? Scott doesn’t remember much here. But I do. I turned that corner and started bawling (sensing a trend here??). It was just too much to bear. We were thisclose to our goal. 18 weeks of work. Rounding that bend and seeing the finish line? It felt like a freakin’ dream. We fought so hard to get there and suddenly it was upon us. We grabbed hands and crossed that finish line with arms held high, and a quick kiss at the end. I wish I could’ve frozen that moment in time. I don’t think I fully lived it in that moment. I was in too much pain, for one. 😉

Jo and M — our ‘onsite #teamsutera #runsherpas. Neither of us have the proper words to explain just how grateful we are to both of them. They were there every time we needed them. When we first woke up, a bundle of nerves: they were there. When we walked the mile to Grant Park from our hotel, still nervous: they were there. When we parted ways at the start line, they were there…with hugs for both of us. When we (or at least I) started to feel tired at mile 8 (way too soon), they were there: so happy to catch us whizzing by. At mile 17 after we saw mom and Mark and were so elated by that boost of energy, they were there too…about a quarter mile down the road. And at the finish line, they were in the stands, they saw us cross that finish line. They were there for us, cheering us on, lifting us up, crying right there with us. Talk about 26.2 miles of gratitude.

And at the end of that very long day. Barely making it to 9pm before calling it a night. Not only was that the best night’s sleep ever (despite waking up many times groaning in pain), but it was the most content night’s sleep. 18 weeks: done. Goal: crushed.

We are marathoners. #teamsutera4lyf