Chicago marathon gets checked off the bucket list

The suitcases are unpacked, the legs are massaged, and my two-page training schedule is relegated to the recycle bin.  All that focus on the Chicago Marathon, front and center in our lives for 6 months, is now a memory, albeit a very recent one.  That overriding goal is no longer our task master.  What a strange feeling!

Now, where to begin.  For starters, thank you Chicago for a wonderful time.  The first place we visited was the world’s biggest convention center.  I’ve seen big places before, but wow.  Apparently, the entire McCormick Place Convention Center complex includes 2.6 million sq. ft. of exhibit space.  No, the marathon fitness expo did not use all that space, but there were plenty of displays and buying opportunities for runners.  Some of my favourites at these fitness expos (aka place to pick up your registration kit and spend lots of money buying stuff) are the t-shirts with funny sayings on them.  Instead of buying more t-shirts I just took pictures of some of my favourite sayings!

As has become our custom, my brother and I run together for as long as possible, while my husband hangs back to keep his own pace.  Last year, my brother had me go ahead after 18 miles.  This year, he set a blistering pace (remember, we are two “mature” recreational runners, so blistering is a relative term, but for me it was blistering).  After the first half, he finally accepted my encouragement that he go ahead, and ahead he went.  I hadn’t wanted to admit to him that I needed to use a porta-potty, because after last year he would occasionally remind me of the minutes we “lost” in New York for that reason.  So once he left me to do his own thing, I was free to walk for a bit, stand on line for a porta-potty, gain some additional comfort, and then proceed at my own pace.

I learned from last year’s event that having a name sign on your front is much more helpful to spectators for cheering you on than having something (like a Canadian flag) on your back.  They can’t call out your name if they don’t know it!  I had made name signs for all three of us and I have to say that the wonderful spectators in Chicago were very responsive to it.  The continual shouts of “Go, Jane, go”, “You can do it, Jane”, and “Go, Canada” encouraged me to keep running – or switch back from walking to running.  Thank you, Chicago spectators (and especially our own imported spectator, my sister-in-law).  You were terrific, especially considering that you had to have been awfully cold, since you weren’t running.

The intriguing finale was that, having taken two different “strategies” in the second half of the race, my brother finished 40 seconds ahead of me!  I beat my NYC time by 3 minutes, coming in at 5:46:59.  My brother beat his NYC time by 8 minutes, coming in at 5:46:19.

Perhaps the most impressive of all was my amazing husband.  He had hoped to do this marathon, but had some injuries and other issues that sidelined his training, so he had decided to run the first half of the marathon for the experience of being involved and that would be that.  He had finally managed to fit in a 13-mile training run two weeks ahead of time.  However, a few days before the race he got it in his head that he was going to try the whole thing – nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I knew when I got back to the hotel and he wasn’t there that he was going to finish.  And, at the age of 72, my husband completed his first marathon, all without proper long distance training.  Now that is inspiring!

I have promised that I won’t sign us up for any more marathons, just half marathons.  But what about London? And what about Paris?!

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19 Responses to Chicago marathon gets checked off the bucket list

  1. Francine says:

    Félicitations mon amie!
    Quelle réalisation que ce marathon de plus de 5heures! Chapeau Jane and aussi à ton mari qui était très déterminé à finir,Wow! pour vous trois.
    Je me demande si la photo toute souriante de toi a été prise avant ou après le marathon?
    Peut-être devrais-tu considérer Paris pour ta prochaine expérience, tu pourrais ainsi pratiquer ton français!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Merci, Francine. Rappeles-tu juste que j’ai commencé en courant avec toi! WRT la question agréable des photos, ils sont des pris sur le cours par le photographe officiel. Le premier est moi avec ma médaille de finisseurs juste après que j’ai traversé la ligne d’arrivée. Nous allons en Ottawa demain (pour tous la semaine prochaine) pour aider tandis qu’Adam est dans Nunavut. Après ça, je t’appellerai … et, Paris, bon choix!

  2. Eloi Duguay says:

    congratulations to you Jane, also to your brother and a special congratulation to your husband that is quite and achievement. I was wondering at what age I should consider half marathons instead of full one. as I could see I have many more to go.
    I still have to do NY, Boston, Chicago and then Paris and London! you have a good head start on me!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Eloi. You should have a lot easier time getting a place in these races than we do, since you are actually fast! You really need to do one of these large city races before you stop marathon training. I think NYC, London, and Paris are the ones to go for, just to be able to run down those famous and historic streets and boulevards. What a thrill! BTW, how is your house coming along? Other exotic plans????

  3. Steph says:

    Congratulations to you, and your brother and husband! Sounds like you did great and exceeded your expectations?! Hmmmm….Paris or London. That’s a hard one, but I vote Paris!!

  4. A.M.B. says:

    Congratulations! It sounds like a wonderful experience. I’m happy to hear that the crowd was so supportive (hearing those kinds of chants definitely would have encouraged me to keep going, too!).

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks. That’s one of the big things about the really big races, the crowds are wonderful. And they’re very creative with their signs (e.g., Chuck Norris doesn’t run marathons, Your legs may be tired, but my arms are tired from holding this sign, …). They make you feel like they really want you to do well, which for many of us means reaching the finish line.

  5. Congratulations Jane!! You’re my hero!!

  6. Christina says:

    Congratulations Jane!

  7. DM says:

    Very impressive…all three of you are amazing! Getting into shape to run a mile is still on my bucket list 🙂 love your husband’s spunk.

  8. jane tims says:

    Hi Jane. Congradulations!!!! What a wonderful experience. Your description of the run puts us right there, especially about getting in the line-up. You should write a tale about what Robby Robin would see as he looks down on the people running the marathon!!! Jane

    • Jane Fritz says:

      What a great suggestion, Jane. It’s time for me to spend more time writing for my grandkids and trying some more drawing and watercolours. Less running! I was away fronm a proper computer for the past week, but loved your eagle piece on my iPod as well as the others. What lake is your property on? Thanks for your comments.

  9. Sarah says:

    Jane, did you see the shirt that says, “I swore I wasn’t going to do this again!”? Something tells me that after the dust settles you may lace-up for another big marathon. Sounds like an amazing experience. Congrats to the three of you. I am on track to start running again in 2013 – first stop will be a 5 km and if I don’t fall apart, with luck, I’ll have some race experiences of my own to share!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Sarah. Great news that your back is that much better. Stick to slow and stick to 5 km. Maybe Ottawa in May?!

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