Runners on Saturday participating in the Illinois Marathon ran in less-than-ideal conditions. It rained on us pretty much the entire time. The breaks from the constant drizzle were appreciated but never enough to drip dry. By mile 20, my shoes were so heavy and full of water each step made a nasty squishy sound. I was sure my feet were being rubbed raw by my wet socks. Rain came down harder and harder and made it impossible to feel anything but wet and drippy.
I still took this killer selfie at Mile 18 though!
Anyways, it was a tough run for all of us. Half marathoners and full marathoners alike endured chilly conditions, puddles splashing all the way up our leggings, and impaired vision due to eyes full of raindrops. All accomplishments on Saturday: PR’s, finishers, success stories, crossing the start line, and crossing the finish line, weren’t accomplished alone.
The volunteers. The family members on the sidelines. University of Illinois students. Friends on porches. Students on balconies. Police. Medical staff. Signs in windows. Signs in lawns. So many people made that race happen: rain or shine. I would venture to say that all of those people deserve a thank you way bigger than the congratulations that the runners receive.
Signs everywhere reading goofy things like “You paid for this” and “Your feet hurt from kicking so much ass”. Little kids holding out their hands for high fives. People dressed up as bananas. Elvis performing on a stage. The big dog that was carrying a water bottle…all the little things that made me smile along the way.
I wish I had the energy to yell back when you were telling me how awesome I am as I was running by you. Because you are the awesome one. Your energy makes me smile and made my wet feet feel a little lighter. When you’d read my race bib and use my name my heart would melt a bit. “You look fantastic, Amanda!” Swoon You made it feel so personal. You are the awesome one, volunteers and spectators and I can’t thank you enough.
I barely had the energy in me to keep running, how did you have the energy to be jumping up and down and cheering me on? Sure, we both woke up early but you were still full of way more energy than I had, and I’m a morning person! Jumping up and down and clapping takes a lot out of you. Thanks for making me feel like you were out there for me, even though I know that you were just waiting for “your” runner to run by.
Those oranges that Meijer donated and passed out were delicious. Thank goodness you have to keep moving through the fuel stations or I would have stood there and eaten myself sick on orange slices. Speaking of which, I need to go there tonight and buy myself a crate (or 10). Thanks, Meijer!
To the family who set up a little bananas-and-bottled-water stand outside their house, thank you. That banana was the best I’ve ever had, just when I needed it, but your smile and words of encouragement helped even more.
Finish lines give me all the feels and you were there, handing me my medals and finishers blanket and telling me again how awesome I was. But what about you? I hope people told you all day on Saturday how awesome you were, because I know that I didn’t say it enough. Thanks for being there even though the event had been cancelled. Thanks for sticking it out even though the big red letters on the jumbotron said to “Seek Shelter”.
Also, to all of the college students drinking in the pouring rain at 7:30AM, I am dying to know: did you get up really early to start drinking or, just never go to bed? Either way, I am impressed and want to thank you. You made me smile as I ran by but I’m not going to lie: I think I’d rather be running than drinking that early in the morning.