|My arm with a reminder |
of each dedicated mile.
Mile 4 My cousin, Melissa, and all parents of children with special gifts. My cousin, Missy, and I have not seen each other for some time but I still feel so very close to her and her family. This mile is part of a long stretch though the city. I thought of the long stretch she and other parents of children with special gifts have each day and kept going.
Mile 5 My 5 children and the ‘kids’ in my life. Mile 5 leads me towards the zoo. I was immediately flooded with memories of visits and picnics with my children in this place. As I ran, I saw a sign that said, “Keep moving forward, Mom! We are proud of you!” What struck me was that there are so many ‘kids’ in my life. I am honored to be called Momma by many friends and ‘my other mother’ by others.
Mile 6 Lucy D. and Maddie M. The girls’ moms are part of my running group and these little girls were born to run. They will lead the 6 minute pace group for NRG one day! At the aide station towards the end of this mile I saw another of my Niles friends, Russ, my co pace leader for the season. He handed me water, gave me a hug and sent me on my way yelling, “Go get ‘em, Momma!”
Mile 8 Andy R. and my high school friends. I Love this part of the course as it take me close to the lake and then into Lakeview. The crowds are always awesome in this area and this year was no different. I danced and sang with spectators as I ran….all things I never thought of doing in high school. I was always part of the supporting cast or a spectator, never a standout. My how things change!
|I adore this picture for so many reasons.|
It really captures me and my running.
I also love that my arm with the miles is in this photo.
Thank you to my gifted friend, Tim B.,
for catching me in action!
Mile 9 Amy I. and her running dreams. This mile was for a former student who dreams of running a marathon one day. She is well on her way and I am proud of how far she has come. During this mile I saw people with signs for two of my group members, both running their first marathon. I assured the cheerleaders that they were on the way….
Mile 10 This mile was unspoken for until the morning of the marathon. I met some young ladies while waiting in line for the bathroom who were part of the Navy running team. They were visiting from Annapolis to run Chicago. We talked while we waited about many things. They asked about my arm (with the miles written on it) and I explained. I told them mile 10 was now theirs as well as all other military, past present and future.
Mile 11 The Decker family and all officers in the 11th district. My friend, Beth, has taught me everything I need to know about running 26.2 and being a good group leader. She and her husband, Mike, and daughter, Lucy, have become more than friends… they have become family. I hugged the first police officer I saw and told him thank you.
12 Sarah B. and all my Sole Sisters! Sarah was part of my pace group but has gone on to lead her own faster group now. I am so proud of her and my other ‘girls’. It was not lost on me that this was her mile and for the first time ever in a marathon, I had to stop and use the bathroom!
Mile 13 Claudia O. training for her 1st ½. I was beginning to feel lonely at this point and I thought about the many lonely miles we run to train for events. It was then I saw the ladies from my group again! We ran together for a bit and soon were separated again. I came up on Old St. Patrick’s Church and saw the priest amongst the crowd. He gave me a high fived and a “God Bless you” and then 500 feet later there was Mr. Finnegan, a dad from school. He is a Shannon Rover and had just played for Mass. I got a quick hug and kept going.
Mile 15 Lucy & Gabi S. and their mociute (grandmom). This is always one of the toughest miles of the marathon for me. It is sunny and wide open with not many spectators. I needed the help of my God daughters and the woman who was like another mother to help me get through this difficult portion. I could feel them with me as a pressed on back towards the city.
Mile 16 Mike S. and his running goals. My old friend told me that he had not cracked the 16 mile mark in his running so I cracked it for him hoping that now he can do it on his own! I headed back to the city and Greektown. Running under the CPD banner brought me to tears but kept me going as well.
Mile 17 Robby & Lizzy L. Greektown! Over halfway done! The smells and sounds of the crowd propelled me forward. I had never seen so many spectators on the part of the course. I spotted a man wearing Girls on the Run Cheer team shirt and thought of Lizzy. Right next to him was a woman holding a sign the read, “Run fast! There is bacon at the finish!” Perfect for Robby and Lizzie!
Mile 18 Mother Theodore, SMWC and Providence. I was feeling very lonely and alone at this point just like when I left for college. It had been a long time since I had seen someone I knew and was starting to doubt myself. I was getting tired. I started to pray to Momma Teddy. As always, she knew just what I needed…a friend! At the corner of Halsted and Taylor there was my buddy, Dan, yelling my name! He grabbed me and hugged me tight. I took off with the biggest infusion of energy through Little Italy. Shortly thereafter I saw another friendly face, my buddy, Chris. He works at our local running store and has helped me out many times. He smiled, linked my arm and dragged me forward for a bit telling me I was doing great and to keep at it. “Go Momma! You got this!” he yelled as he pushed me forward. I ran a bit alone and soon I felt a tap on the shoulder. It was my Niles friend, Steve. I have known Steve for several years but we had never run together until this day. We were both tired but as we ran and talked my soul filled up and I got another burst of energy.
Mile 19 My husband & the officers in the 19th district. Pompeii Bakery, one of my husband’s favorites, was where this mile began. I thought of our first dates and lunches he would deliver to my school for me from Pompeii. It was the start of a 19 year marriage that still revolves heavily around food! It smelled heavenly but I knew I had to keep going. As I turned the corner onto Ashland I saw my fearless leader, Keith, again. He was smiling standing there with his wife and other group member, Diane. We took a few photos and off I went with Steve still by my side. We passed a lady handing out grapes and orange slices in front of a church where a man sat legless in a wheelchair. I took the baggie, thanked her and she said, “God Bless you”. This was a good mile…with some great grapes!
Mile 21 Girls on the Run – past present and future. I headed up Halsted Street, passing my old apartment. I thought of how much my life had changed since I lived there. I usually dreaded marathon weekend because of the traffic and noise never realizing that running and Girls on the Run would bring me back to this place a different person. I was hot and really tired and in need a energy when I saw some cops. I yelled my usual, “CPD thank you” when the officer turned and it was the dad of one of my daughter’s best friends. He saw me, smiled wide and said, “Well look at you, Momma!” I hugged him, thanked him for his service and took off, newly energized.
|Once again, Tim B., with the perfect shot! |
I love the sign over my head!
Mile 24 Past, present and future students of mine. I have been a teacher for 24 years and have learned so much from my students in these years. I had to laugh that during this mile I was offered a beer more than once by students at IIT. The second time I took it as a sign and for the first year ever during a marathon I chugged a beer!
Mile 25 My Heroes – Gillian and Kelly Weaver. I saw some of my Niles group cheering. I told them I was hot and more tired now more than ever and they assured me the end was close.It was good to see someone I knew. I rounded the corner onto Michigan Avenue and felt my friend, Kelly’s presence, right there in the cool breeze. I walked a bit to soak it in and got the chills as a young man wearing an “Autism Speaks” shirt tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Come on Momma! You can finish this thing” as he ran past. I started running again.
Mile 26 Cathy T., her family and new beginnings. I ran/walked this mile with renewed strength and energy. There were more police and fire personnel than I had ever seen before on every side of the street. I came across some paramedics who rode along side of me and asked if I knew a young man, a former student. I smiled wide and said yes. I explained how I knew the guy as they laughed. They took my picture to send him and I was on my way again. Teachers never forget a student…and certain ones stick forever.
|Bling and my tutu!|