Chicago. The city where my passion for running truly began. When I moved to the city, I lived just a few blocks from Belmont harbor. I started running as a way to de-stress and explore. I was in a new city, hubs (then boyfriend) had just left for a 6 month deployment to Afghanistan, and I was at a job that I was less than thrilled about. Running was my way to escape from it all.
I don’t remember how I found out about it, but my first race was the Nike Human 10k. It started and ended at Soldier Field. After that, I tackled a few 5k’s, 8k’s and then in 2010 I felt comfortable enough to sign up for a 1/2 marathon. My sister and I ran the Chicago Rock n Roll 1/2 on one of the hottest days ever. It was then that the addiction to long distance running started. I just knew I could beat my time and with my second 1/2 marathon, I did.
I lived in Chicago for about 4 years and during my time there, I lived in two different apartments. Both of my apartments happened to be along the Chicago Marathon route-I could sit and watch the marathon from my front windows. I’ll never forget the first time I saw it. My mom and sister were visiting from Milwaukee and we saw people lining the streets, Starbucks in hand, waiting to cheer on the runners. The atmosphere was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. Since that first day, I remember feeling so inspired and saying to myself, “I want to do that some day.” It was in my second apartment on Michigan Avenue where I was near the end of the course. In 2010, I walked to the spectator area and watched the winner and all of the other elite runners cross the finish line. Shortly after, I witnessed the wheel chair racers and the runners with prosthetic legs finish. The feelings that I felt that day can’t be explained in words. In 2011, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. I was all set to start training until a really bad fall and ankle sprain left me sidelined. I probably could’ve worked my way through it, but then a deployment happened. Since then, the Chicago Marathon has been on my “list”.
If I’ve learned anything from last Monday’s horrific events in Boston, it is that there’s no better time that now. I can keep putting it off another year, but how do I know I’m guaranteed another year? We take life for granted and it’s horrible that it takes something like what happened Monday to make us stop and appreciate what we have in our lives.
On Sunday, Madelyn, Larry and I headed down to Chicago for a little family getaway. We visited the aquarium and Lincoln Park Zoo. One thing that I couldn’t wait to do was wake up early Monday morning and run the Lakeshore path. Thinking about running the Chicago Marathon this year makes me crazy excited. You know how when you first start dating someone, your stomach does those crazy flips? I get that feeling when I think about running 26.2 miles through my favorite city, my second home.
Because the Chicago Marathon sold out and then went into a lottery system, I had to sign up through a charity. I will be raising money for Team Salute, a charity that gives financial help to veterans-something that is very near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons.
I could not be more thrilled, excited, nervous and scared all at once. Training officially starts in June!