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!!!
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.
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!
Sunday morning – race day!
But first let’s take a bathroom mirror selfie.
Grayson, Lindsey, Allison, Erin (not pictured above) and I were on Sherpa Crew duties. Behind every runner is a crew, right?
We had to make a fast get away to make it for Lindsey and Allison’s live news broadcast.
Before I knew it, Erin and I were up. I don’t know if I was shaking more from the cold or nerves!
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.
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.
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!