Susan and I drove up to Rockford on Saturday afternoon. We were staying at her brother’s house near the marathon. Let me say something about Susan’s brother, Tony. He ran his first marathon last year (and actually ran 3 marathons all last year). He has qualified for Boston all 3 times, with his best marathon time being around 3:05. Amazing! He, however, has no desire to go to Boston.
Susan’s brother Tony, sister-in-law Chrissy, her friend Katrina, and myself were all going to be helping Susan run the marathon at different points. As the day approached, the weather was looking like it was going to be a pretty hot day for a marathon. I think that is what was freaking Susan out the most. She didn’t want them to cancel it with all the training she invested in the marathon.
Saturday after arriving at Tony’s house, we went over some marathon day stuff and then went to pick up her packet, which included coupons for cigarettes and other such items, and headed to dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was an unusual place and we had a lot of fun there.
|Me, Susan and Katrina at Lino's|
|The bed I got to sleep in, fit for a 4 year old (or a 33 year old)|
|Me rolling on the new toy|
|Susan and I showing off the toys...added bonus, the cowboy hat. Not sure how she talked me into that one.|
|Susan and I before we left the house|
|Susan and Katrina|
|Susan and her brother Tony|
|Susan starting by the 10:00 min mile pace area|
I’d ask Susan if she was ok and she said she was fine. Sometimes she would ask if I was ok and even though I wasn’t really, I wasn’t going to tell her that! So I simply said, “Yup! I’m fine!” Inside I was saying, “Hang in there Amanda! Hang in there!” After a few miles, I didn’t think I could keep up. I didn’t want to hold her back if she was feeling good. I waited a little longer and after about 2.5 miles, I decided to fess up and tell Susan that I could hang at her pace and I was going to have to drop back. She said it was fine and thanked me for running. I asked if there was anything I could make sure Tony had at the car at mile 8 and she told me a few things. I wished her luck and dropped back.
I felt like such a marathon supporter failure! I was definitely disappointed in myself but the heat was getting to me. I walked and called Tony to tell him what to prepare for Susan at 8.5. I was about 6.5 and we decided the best thing for me to do was to keep running to the car. So I still had to finish my run! Lol. I just slowed my pace and continued to run with the marathoners. I actually passed Tony’s car and didn’t see him and ran to mile 9. I knew that was wrong so I called him and he said he was not really looking because he was trying to get all the kids situated. I had to run back to the car in the reverse direction (I wonder what the other runners thought of me going the wrong way). So that time, I ran 5 total miles, although only 2.5 with Susan). Also, at mile 6, there was supposed to be a GU station, and there was but there was no GU left! Seriously marathon organizers! Get it together! We weren’t even at the back of the pack and there weren’t things!
We drove over to mile 13-ish to wait for Susan. Her brother Tony was going to jump in at that point. Katrina had signs and we were holding them cheering on the marathoners. It was hot, some were struggling. There weren’t many spectators and I think some appreciated our efforts. Soon enough we saw Susan and Tony jumped in. Susan looked strong and seemed to be doing ok.
|Susan after her brother jumped in, around mile 13|
|Chrissy, Susan and Katrina - Mile 20|
|Running through the Ghetto (where the poor kids play) at mile 24.2|
Tony and I drove to the finish line and waited for Susan. At some point, we saw a woman running super fast! It was a major spint towards the finish! We were wondering who that was. We didn’t think it was Susan but we commented on the speed with which this woman was coming in! We were impressed. And pretty much too late, we realized it was Susan! Too late, I got no picture! Tony said he got one almost too late, but I don’t have access to that photo.
Susan got her medal and took her finishing photo. Then started giving us all hugs and just started sobbing (hope you don’t mind me throwing that in there Susan!). She was crying and saying that that was so hard! It was the hardest thing she’s done. She kept saying that it was so hard, over and over again! We congratulated her and told her she was a marathoner!!
|After Susan got her well deserved marathon medal!|
|Susan and I after - excuse my horrid fatness in this picture, it's not about me, it's about Susan!|
|Her running support group - Me, Katrina, Susan, Tony and Chrissy|
|Group shot of the entire family/support group|
I can never imagine what it would be like to run a marathon in that heat and sun (especially for your first one). My first marathon ended in the mid-70’s with full sun and that was warm enough (3rd warmest Chicago marathon). Susan’s marathon ended with temps near 90 degrees and full sun (the high for the day was 93 degrees). Her time was slower than she wanted by probably 25 mins but she still beat BOTH of my marathon times! I think she did an awesome job! The heat was a lot and I’m sure many runners (if not all) did a slower time than they wanted.
As I said before, you can’t predict what will happen on race day. Nothing is ever perfect no matter how much you plan. But finishing 26.2 miles under those conditions is truly amazing! Great job Susan! And I’ll be running with you in the Chicago Marathon this year (where we will both do awesome!!).
*Side note, I asked Susan if she would like to write a guest post about her marathon day experience. She said she may be up for that and I told her possibly next week. She does not have a blog but I know I’m interested in hearing about her experience while running. I was there for parts of it but I don’t know what she was thinking at various points, so look for it next week.