Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My very own Marathon Man

Chris has been running.  A lot.  And not even because he is being chased :-)

See.  No one chasing him!
It started about two years ago when we entered a 5K for the hearing program at our hospital.  Emma uses cochlear implants so it was a perfect event to kick-start Chris' training program.  He finished the 5K without a problem while I walked it with the girls.  We then did another 5K in memory of a little girl who was a lot like Emma and belonged to our church.  Chris ran it while I pushed the girls around the course.  It was hot and I was pushing them in the double stroller and Emma didn't really have enough support in the stroller so I had to stop every few minutes to reposition her.  I'm happy to say we finished the course without coming in dead last.  Chris placed in the top 3 in his age group for his running time and received a medal!!!!!

Chris' running continued past the 5K when he entered the 10 mile Broad Street run last year.  The run just so happened to be on a record-setting heat day in May.  Many people got carried off the course in ambulances because of the heat, but Chris ran the entire 10 miles and did great!  We waited at the finish line and the girls participated in the Kiddie K events and I tried to keep them cool while I was busy melting from just standing.  I can only imagine how hard it was to finish that race that day, but Chris did finish and in the time he wanted.  On a high from the Broad Street run, Chris entered the ING Direct Half Marathon.  It was early and in Philly.  Chris headed to the run at the crack of dawn while me and the girls slept.  We left the house trying to get there in enough time to see him cross the finish line.  Apparently we left too late.  It's sometimes hard to get up and out of the house at a decent time on the weekends and that was one of those days.  We met up with Chris right after he finished and had a picnic in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum and enjoyed the music and fanfare.

After completing the 5K, 10 miler, and Half- Marathon there was only one stop left for Chris - the marathon.  Running a marathon is no easy task.  I say this not as a participant but as an observer and I have to say I'm so impressed with the dedication and energy Chris brought to his training regimen.
Running a marathon requires months of training and running.  Getting up early on weekends and missing relaxing weekend mornings with his girls so he could train.  Coming home from training and wanting to just sit around and relax, preferably with a beer watching sports in the recliner but......not being able to do that at all because it's the weekend and there are lots of things that have to happen.  Like cutting the lawn, going to a ball game, cleaning the gutters, visiting family and friends, power-washing outdoor toys, etc. because he is now a family man with responsibilities (I have to think it would be a bit easier to train for your first marathon while still single or newly married without children).  You get the idea.  Not to mention that a good portion of the training took place over this snowy winter and so there were paths to shovel, hills to climb and sled down, cars to dig out.  Yet, he continued training so he would achieve his goal of running 26.2 miles in about 4.5 hours.

Mid-race cheering section
The run was closer to home, the location chosen so I could bring the girls to cheer him on.  Just 20 minutes away by car.  His parents were excited about the run so they slept over the night before and headed out early to get a good spot to cheer him on.  The girls wore their shirts that said "I love my marathon daddy."  I loaded lunch, snacks, drinks, folding chairs and umbrellas in the car and drove to the 13 mile marker in enough time to see Chris run past us.  The girls loved the action even though Julia didn't know why we were waiting so long before Chris came running down the hill.  He had a great smile on his face at mile 13.  We headed over to another section of the route to cheer him on again.  We saw a lot of the same people pass us.  Emma and Julia were a big hit with the marathoners - their cheering really seemed to perk up the people who passed us and most of them thanked us.  A few asked if they were future marathoners :-)  We were on a portion of the route that didn't have any real cheering section so I think they appreciated the support.  Next time I'll have to remember to buy and bring a cow bell for Emma to help cheer for the runners.  I think she'd find it funny!  We saw Chris pass us.  He always looks good to me but seemed to be struggling a bit more than at the 13 mile marker.  We cheered our hearts out when we saw him coming and he passed us with a smile.  Finally we headed to the finish line.  We ate our lunch, the girls enjoyed a bit of the music and then we parked ourselves in the finish line lane.  Cheering all the finishers on while waiting for Chris to appear.  

When we saw him coming down the girls were squealing with delight and I couldn't have been prouder.  What an accomplishment!  We are so proud of you, Chris.

Cheering at the finish line.

Emma's face cracks me up.  It's like she can't believe Chris is running 4.5 hours straight!!!

The girls and I headed out almost immediately because we had to get home and get Julia dressed for her dance recital.  As I said, weekends are busy.  We quickly found Chris and gave him kisses, congratulated him and headed home.  He was a bit sore the next day, but by Tuesday he was already talking about his next marathon.  I might have groaned a bit, but truthfully, we're behind you 100%!  As long as we can cheer from the sidelines and not have to run the 26.2 miles along with you!

2 Comments from readers:

Angela said...

Good job Chris! Julia always looks like she is full of energy and ready to go. Emma looks like she is thinking "Daddy have you lost your mind. that's a long run!"

Love it :)

Anonymous said...

Congrats Chris! I just started the couch to 5 K last week and have hopes to run in a 5k this summer, but a MARATHON? WOW. That's such a big accomplishment! Love the pics of the girls. Looks like they got a kick out of it!