PART 1 – THE RACE
Shortly after moving to Chicago in 2004 picked up more of an interest for running and decided to formally train with the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) for the Chicago Half Marathon in October, 2005. After successfully completing that race with a time of 1:29, I set my sites on running the Chicago Marathon the following year. I decided to train with CARA again, since I had so much fun with my training program the previous year.
I wavered between joining the 7:30 and 8 minute pace group, thinking that I might be able to run a little faster, but am glad that I chose the 8 minute group because I met the most wonderful people who I reconnected with to run the GMR (see post on the most amazing race).
After months of training, multiple injuries, physical therapy, and great massages, the big day finally arrived. Though it was around 40 degrees and snowing, my loving family and friends still trekked it out and stood strategically along the 26.2 miles to try to locate me and cheer me on. The enthusiasm and excitement of having 40,000 runners and thousands of fans along the course kept me energized and on pace. Once mile 22 came along, I used the power of positive thinking to push through to the end.
I was running as a charity runner for the American Cancer Society and I couldn’t stop or slow down because I did not want to disappoint those who had so strongly supported me. As I trecked it up Chicago’s heartbreak hill, and rounded the corner to the finish, I was elated with pure enthusiasm that I was almost done. I finished with a time of 3:17 – which surpassed my expectations and was warmly welcomed with high fives from family and friends in the cool down tents at the finish.
PART 2 – THE MODEL
In addition to running the marathon, I had a great opportunity to be photographed for the Annual LaSalle Bank Marathon Mural which is painted on the side of a building on the Kennedy Expressway by the Armitage exit. There were about 9 people photographed and included in the 2006 mural, and I was so lucky to be one of them. The theme was “Breaking through the Wall”, which you can see in the pictures.