Yesterday I had the opportunity to go with my Sole Sisters up to the Chicago Marathon Expo. For those of you not in the know, this Sunday is the Chicago Marathon, where just a few people from all over the world will gather together in tennis shoes, running tights, shorts, tank tops, tech shirts and maybe a few buffs and visors on a street in downtown Chicago corralled together and wait their turn to take off for a little old 26.2 miles of running.
My friend Carolyna is one of those people who are brave enough to put one foot in front of the other for several hours to accomplish this. I enjoyed my time at the Expo yesterday where either you were running it or not running it. There was no in between or difference between the lot of us. I met a couple women while rooting through a pile of buffs and one asked me to explain what some of the words on the buffs meant, like, “I bust mine” or I don’t sweat I ooze awesomeness. I tried to explain both. One of them looking for a word to explain awesomeness asked me if Extraordinary was right, I said, “yeah, but even better than that”. I asked them where they were from and they told me Panama. All I could say was WoW! They thanked me, I moved on to make my purchase which was a black buff that said, “I will run for Ice Cream”, yep pretty clear I’m not running the Chicago Marathon.
Later my friend Stacia and I got separated from Carolyna and her sisters when we stopped to get Stacia her 13.1 car magnet. She just started running this year and will run her first half in November. If we bought three magnets we got the fourth one for free, so we pooled our magnets to save a couple bucks. While Stacia picked out her 13.1 and another one, which I no longer remember, I picked out my two. The first one was a very nice, “I thought they said Rum” magnet. Yep, once again clearly I am not running the Chicago marathon.
We caught back up to our little group of “Carolyna Supporters” and made our way through the crowd, standing in line for a half hour for me to win a pin and Carolyna’s sister Trish to win a free entry to the Puerto Rico marathon. I think I’m glad I won the pin, but I do believe Trish was pretty excited, Carolyna’s sisters Cristina and Patricia have both ran marathons, but I think they like me anyway.
Every so often I took a look at my friend Carolyna and wondered how she was truly feeling about this journey she was about to embark on. I am very proud to call her my friend. I asked her several questions about her being out there on Sunday. After a few questions I told myself I should just shut up before I freaked her out as much as I was freaked out for her.
I will fret all day Sunday wondering how she is doing, how she is feeling, hoping she doesn’t want to quit, hoping she is not afraid when she may be one of the few left running the course. We passed China Town on the way home and I strained to see the arch she would run under. I asked her to take a picture there when she gets there on Sunday. What was I thinking, she’s running a race and I asked her to stop to take a picture for me, who is not running this race.
At the Expo we came up to a large Marathon sign that Carolyna wanted to have her picture taken at. While she stood there smiling I took a look at the board. It had a large map of the course. While everyone else was focused on Carolyna I was looking at that map. It was daunting. I saw where they had marked off the 5K distance, the distance I mostly run, just 3.1 miles. The distance was so tiny there, it scared me. I’m not running this and I was feeling a little sick to my stomach. I think I could have stood there all day and not felt any less scared of that map. But we moved on, we tasted some wine and I gave mine to Stacia, we didn’t get carded at the Goose Island Bus and we complained loudly about that, but climbed on and got our free sample. When we exited the bus Carolyna was handing over her beer, she’s running the marathon remember? She almost handed it to Stacia and I balked and said, she got my wine I get your beer! I thought my dear friend Stacia might punch me for my lack of politeness, but I think she forgave me. We saw most everything, we got some freebies, but missed out on the American Airlines hand clappers and yes we were bummed about it. We headed for home.
It was a good day of walking in my green Chuck Taylors, yep not running, and for me in some cases too close for comfort with so many people running the marathon and their support group. It was a good day to laugh and smile, be afraid of a map and support our sister and friend Carolyna on this amazing journey. This running thing has brought us all together. Some of us are faster, some of us are slower, some of us will run farther than the other, but we are sisters of the pavement.
At home, after I finished my supper I pulled out my two magnets that I bought and for now placed them both on my fridge. The, “I thought they said Rum” and the other one, far more meaningful for me and I know my friend Carolyna, it says, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the Courage to Start. John J. Bingham”
I wish you the best my sister, you have done amazing things and you will continue to do amazing things. You are braver than I. You have the Courage to Start and I believe you will Finish. I will be thinking of you all day long. And today, well today I will go for a two mile run and say, just 24. 2 more miles and you can call it a Marathon.
Here’s to you! Here’s to YOUR Journey!