Saucony 26 Strong : Chicago Marathon

Saucony 26 Strong Chicago Team | happyfitmama.com

I’m back to reality after an incredible time in Chicago over the weekend with the Saucony 26 Strong crew.

Again, I’m kind of at a loss for words. I’ve had two amazing weekends (Rise.Run.Retreat. was the weekend before) in a row filled with powerful women, new friendships and inspiring moments. I can not believe the doors that have opened all because I love this crazy sport called running.

While I would have loved for this to be a race recap, it’s more like a spectating recap. Things on the other side of the course are just as tough!

Saturday morning the whole team finally got together. It was great to reconnect with some of the other coaches from Honolulu, the teams that were in San Diego as well as meeting the new ones. I’m still amazed at how you can know someone from social media yet when you meet in person for the first time, it’s like you are old friends.

We took team photos and then did a short shake out run. And yes –  I ran!!!

Shake out run Saucony 26 Strong | happyfitmama.com

It felt so amazing! I think I exclaimed those very same words to Morganne and Kendall at least 10 times.

Afterwards, we had a team breakfast and words of wisdom from Sharon Barbano, Saucony’s Vice President of Public Relations.

Saucony 26 Strong - Sharon  happyfitmama.com

Her words spoke to me. Big time. There were chills. There were tears. Sharon is one of those people that looks you straight in the eye and can motivate you to do anything. You know she threw in a few #FindYourStrong moments too.

After cleaning up, I headed to the expo. It’s always fun to see all the gear and just feel the excitement of the upcoming race. And I didn’t have to worry about having tired feet either!

Chicago Marathon Steps  happyfitmama.com

Sunday morning – race day!

Saucony 26 Strong and the Bean  happyfitmama.comPit stop at The Bean before wishing the ladies GOOD LUCK! and heading off to mile 8 on the course.

But first let’s take a bathroom mirror selfie.

Saucony 26 Strong Sherpa Selife | happyfitmama.com

Grayson, Lindsey, Allison, Erin (not pictured above) and I were on Sherpa Crew duties. Behind every runner is a crew, right?

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We had to make a fast get away to make it for Lindsey and Allison’s live news broadcast.

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Go Deena!

Deena Castor Chicago Marathon  happyfitmama.com

Before I knew it, Erin and I were up. I don’t know if I was shaking more from the cold or nerves!

Saucony 26 Strong ABC 7 News Broadcast | happyfitmama.com

Live TV is hard! Especially when the questions that you prepare for weren’t asked, there’s sirens going off all around you. Not too mention cowbells, cheering and clapping. Oh and that little earpiece thing is full of static! But it was also a ton of fun. And I said camaraderie without getting tongue tied – BOOM!

Next stop was mile 23. We saw Kat and  Lauren cruise by looking great.

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We were expecting Bridget and Olivia (Lindsey’s cadet) soon after based on their splits. Since Lindsey is injured, I volunteered to jump in and run with the girls for a short bit to check in. Bridget came cruising by all smiles, looking fantastic. But Olivia wasn’t with her. I decided to let Bridget go and wait for Olivia. She soon arrived. She was tired but had a laser beam focus to keep trucking. I wanted to run with her some more but we needed to hop on the train to make it to the finish. BTW – Olivia finished in 3:59:59 – how awesome is that?!?

I wish I had more pics to share but my phone was dying and I still needed it to help coordinate with the Saucony and Competitor people. The finishing area was crazy especially when you are trying to coral multiple people to one spot. My eyes were glazed over by the end of the day after looking at hundreds and hundreds of runners funnel through the finishing area. Spectating is HARD work!

Going into the weekend, there were a lot of emotions. It was another race that I was supposed to be running. Another DNS. Even before I was asked to be a part of 26 Strong this year, I had my sights on Chicago.

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Even though I am on my way back to running now, I’ve still got fear and doubt in where my running life is going. Of course I say I just want to run again. But really, I want to see what I can do. I want PR’s. I want new distances to cover. Basically, I want to see what I’m made of. I had so many words of encouragement from everyone. I’m taking those words and moving onward. I’m truly looking to #FindMyStrong.

While I wish my first trip to the Chicago Marathon was one of me running it, seeing the race from the other side of the barricade makes me want to come back to this race even more. It may be next year or the year after. BUT I will be back.

I can not thank Saucony and Competitor Magazine enough for this unbelievable experience. They stuck with me even though I wasn’t able to run the race. Words can’t even begin to describe my gratitude. My heart is full and overjoyed. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

27 comments on “Saucony 26 Strong : Chicago Marathon

  1. I know it kind of sucked for you but this was a great perspective since runner’s seldom are on the other side of the barricade.
    As for going back? You now have TWO races to #findyourstrong and I have zero doubt that you will. I have no idea how hard this is for you but I do know that getting to re-build your running body from the ground up is a huge opportunity. I see big PRs in your running future girl. Just in hang in there!!!!
    PS – I absolutely loved seeing you on TV!!!
    Allie recently posted..The Worst Comments Ever Received – By CategoryMy Profile

  2. What a fun opportunity for you! Spectating is almost as fun as racing. Almost. And looks like you had plenty of injured runner company, so that helps, too. I’m glad to hear you are still moving forward!
    misszippy recently posted..My podcast is live!My Profile

    1. It was hard to spectate up until when I saw people looking like death warmed over because of the heat. Than I was kind of glad I wasn’t running!

  3. Awww, what a great weekend review. I’m sure it was hard for you, but also a lot of fun. (I’ll be having those same feelings in Boston cheering on my husband next year!) Usually a break in running allows you to come back even stronger. So I’m hoping that is what you will find in your running.
    Good job on the interview… it was fun to hear your voice! But tell me, could you spell camaraderie without spell check?? (nope, not me)
    Lisa @ TechChick Adventures recently posted..The rush of XC!My Profile

    1. I sure hope I come back stronger and smarter. And less likely to get injured! You don’t even know how long it took me to figure out how to spell camaraderie. I had no idea it was c-a at the beginning!

  4. I loved your TV spot! I can only imagine how inspiring this weekend was both with the marathon itself but to be with the #Saucony26Strong teams. Spectating is hard work especially at a big race like this. And I so hear you about being injured and making a comeback. While I am trying to focus on just the day-to-day, I too want to see what I’m capable of because I feel like I was *just* getting back to it last year. Le sigh. I see lots of amazing running adventures and accomplishments in the future for you!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Are you still injured?My Profile

  5. This looked like such a wonderful and special weekend. I know it was hard to not be running, but I know it meant a lot to your other teammates to have you cheering. I know there have been races where I literally kept going because I knew I was going to see some of my special spectators on the course. You guys did great on the interview! Awesome job. It’s hard to think on our feet and say the perfect thing in the moment. 🙂 I guess that’s always why I’ve enjoyed writing so I can be behind the curtain instead of in front of it. LOL I was trying to think how I would quickly answer those same questions as I was watching. You did excellent. So glad you got to experience the inspiring weekend. Chicago is probably my favorite race. I’m grateful to have run it twice as both my first and fastest marathons, and I look forward to going back and conquering it again some day. xoxo
    Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted..Harder Than a MarathonMy Profile

  6. It was SO great to finally meet you and get to spend time together this weekend! Felt like we had been friends all along 🙂 Thank you for sherpa spectating and being there- we all appreciated it (even though obviously know you would have rather been running!)

    P.S. you are NOT a chicken!
    Laura recently posted..Photo Finish 5k 2015My Profile

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