Just Keep Running, Just Keep Running! (Sporty Dad 110)

On October 8th I joined about 45,000 other runners to run the city for the 40th Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The marathon has gone through a few different name changes, but the goal of all the runners is the same: to finish. Whereas last year I trained like a machine to run the marathon, this year my training was not up to par and I was nervous about how things were going to turn out. 

As with last year, this year I ran again as a St. Jude Hero. I started my fundraising earlier this year and was determined to reach my goal and raise as much as I could for the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I had a lot of great people donate and help me reach my goal before my deadline and I actually collected more than my fundraising goal and I want to thank everyone again for donating. 
Funny thing about this picture is that my undershirt fits me tighter this year than last. 
The day of the race I was a little nervous, but I knew that I just had to listen to my body and take my time. When I arrived at the St. Jude Suite that morning most of my worries disappeared when I saw the wonderful staff of St. Jude and the rest of the St. Jude Heroes. I grabbed my running gear, a banana and sat down and started to relax before my wave started. 
While waiting to go, we all gathered for a group photo and had a pep talk from a St. Jude parent. I want to say that that talk really helped me out during the second half of the marathon. In that talk, we were told the number of children that go to St. Jude Research Hospital every week. We were told to imagine how nervous they were walking into the entrance and not knowing what was going to happen once they were admitted. We were told to use that fear and anxiousness to push us through the pain and tears. To use that to give us a purpose as to why we are running 26.2 miles. 
When I was walking to my corral I met up with my running partner, Jorge, and my cousin, who was running the marathon for the first time. I am glad we all met up because being with them helped relax me a little more. Plus all the laughing we were doing helped me forget that I was going to run through 29 Chicago neighborhoods. Ugh, 29 neighborhoods! 
The marathon was going as planned and then my knees started giving me problems around the halfway point. As much as I knew this was going to happen, I wished it didn’t happen until I was in the final stretch of the run. The next 13 miles were a little tough because I was trying to listen to my body and not over exert myself. I ran slowly and when I started to feel any pain I would walk. This kept happening for the rest of the race, but I did not let that stop me.
I knew that this year was going to be a little tough because I did not train as well as I did the year before, but my one main goal was to finish. There were plenty of times that I felt like giving up, but hearing the people cheer my name as I ran past them was pretty awesome. I had my name written on my singlet this year for that one purpose and it helped out a lot. I think if I do more long runs I will continue to put my name on my singlet for that extra motivation. 

The great thing about the marathon this year was that I saw more people that I knew than last year. I ran into friends, family, and my personal cheering team: my wife and children. Since I was running really slow, I messaged my wife to meet me near the finish line. The closer I got to the finish line the more excited I got to see my family. My phone died about two miles from the finish line so I was not able to let me wife know where I was, but luckily I saw them right before I hit the bridge on Roosevelt. I ran to my wife and she and my children gave me hugs and kisses and then I told my children that they are coming with me.

This has to be one of my favorite pictures taken by my wife that day.

That’s right, I carried my children over the barrier and continued to jog to the finish line with them. I told myself that if this is my last time running the Chicago Marathon, that I wanted my children to experience crossing the finish line with me. It felt incredible hearing the people cheer as we ran up the bridge and turned the corner to the finish line. It was strange, but having my children run with me I felt no pain in my knees and felt like I could run another 5 miles.

This year’s marathon was a different experience, but one that I will cherish until I decide to run again. I mean, I will still run short runs every now and then, but full marathons might have to take a backseat for a while. Who knows, maybe I might listen to my friends from St. Jude and do the Half Marathon in Nashville next year and run through the St. Jude Hospital campus. I think that would be a fantastic experience and one I would love to share with my family.

Until next Sporty Dad, my friends, thanks for reading.

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