By Ralph —
There are a lot of ways to celebrate your birthday, and running a marathon probably isn’t at the top of most people’s list. But it is mine! And getting to run in the 40th annual Chicago Marathon was such a gift. The event staff did an amazing job of keeping everything safe and organized. The spectator support throughout the course was amazing. It was great to see so many enthusiastic people out supporting their loved ones and everyone else.
This race was particularly special to me because Elizabeth and both of our kids were there to share the weekend and the whole race experience. In fact, the three of them ran in the 5K race the day before the marathon. What great memories I have of the three days we had together in Chicago!
Elizabeth and the kids are very experienced race spectators and they take supporting me during a race to the next level. In Chicago, they managed to log 11 miles themselves on race day tracking me around the course. Through some very careful strategizing (and tracking on Find My Friends, Strava and the race app), they saw me at miles 1, 3, 13, 17 and 25. Each time I saw them I got a little energy boost and pep in my step.
My philosophy is any time you get across the finish line in a race it’s a success. As I was running through the dog miles of 15-20 I was reflecting on how fortunate I am to have the physical capability and opportunity to do these races. That being said, I did not make my time goal and that’s a little disappointing, but I am not letting that take away from the overall experience and the joy of the day. I am blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive family. I acknowledge not everyone has that and I am grateful.
My time? 4:03:38. I came in 11,943 out of 43,000 finishers.
Here is the great thing about the situation: it’s on to the next event. This weekend, I am doing the Meals on Wheels Charity Bike Ride and in November, I’ll run the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Half Marathon. I’m doing the Rock n Roll Half as a fundraiser for Augie’s Quest and the fight against ALS.