I am not just a foodie, I’m also a runner. I usually try and stick to food on this blog, but yesterday a lump in my throat formed that just wouldn’t go away, and food was the last thing on my mind.
This past October I ran my first full marathon. For me, it was by far my greatest accomplishment. I’d previously done three half-marathons and I truly believed that I would never be the kind of person to make the leap to a full one. And I don’t think I would have been able to either would it not have been for Chicago’s great running community. There is absolutely no way I would wake up every Saturday morning for 18 weeks at 6am if it wasn’t for these guys:
The CARA 11-minute milers are the backbone of why I run. These people who I knew absolutely nothing about before last summer became some of the people I spent the most time with. Although you may live with your husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, partner, dog, there is no one you’ll spend four hours talking to straight about everything in the world besides your marathon buddies. We've shared hopes and dreams, had political debates, heard engagement stories, planned weddings, mourned deaths, hosed each other down at water stops, guarded the bushes while someone popped a squat, encouraged each other when times got tough, and so much more. Even if I never do another marathon, these people will always hold a special place in my heart. Group leader Dan (pictured below) helped me through cramps, straggled behind with me when I thought I just couldn't take one more step, and talked for an hour straight and told me stories when I couldn't do anything but keep moving my feet. To say that Dan and the other 11-minute milers changed my life would be an understatement.
The fact that yesterday put someone else’s marathon buddies in the line of fire makes me angry. It also makes me sad more than anything. And for the most part yesterday’s bombings in Boston hurt the runner’s supporters. These are the people that spend weeks, months, and sometimes years supporting their running family members, friends, and strangers they see running through the park every Saturday.
I remember seeing my sister and my boyfriend at the finish line of the Chicago marathon. I remember them standing just below the grandstands right at the finish line. And if I were fast enough to run Boston, they would have been at that finish line too. And when my sister runs her first half-marathon this summer I’ll be at her finish line. And whatever sick individual who ruined what should have been a proud moment, a proud day, will have failed. Because I will be there. I will be at that finish line and I’ll be smiling.