You guys totally won't believe that I don't have anything monumental to say about Marathon No. 11. It was a completely awesome day. It was. Had my best running buds with me, Chicago is the coolest backdrop and I finished -- completely unexpectedly -- just seven minutes shy of my fastest marathon. In summary: AMAZING, hot weather, sunburn, chafed butt cheeks, and all. But there is something bigger, I think, that I want to be thankful for this time. My family. Six years ago, when I was meek and naive to the running world, with no idea what I was getting myself into, my parents and my sister hopped on a train down to Chicago to be the greatest marathon fan club I ever had. My sister made hot pink t-shirts (RUN KRITTA RUN, they said in puffy paint), my mom boasted to the local newspaper about her former high school cross country standout finishing her very first marathon, and they all wore pride in their smiles for weeks.
Yesterday, they woke up at 3 a.m. to hop on another train down to Chicago to watch me finish another marathon. It doesn't get old for them. I have a penchant for flashing a smile as big as my face mid-race when I see my friends and family in the crowd, but yesterday I saw that same smile on their faces. I felt it, I think, for the first time in all these years.
Shortly after mile two is when I spotted them flailing their arms and screaming my name among the throngs of Chicago Marathon spectators yesterday. I side-stepped through my own crowd of fellow runners to give them high-fives and feed off their energy, but what I found was absolute joy on their faces. They were excited and happy and proud. Especially my sister, who hasn't been able to make it to as many races as my parents. I won't forget her face in that moment. It probably seems standard that family behaves in such a way on such an exciting day, but to me it was special, and means more to me than they may realize.
I saw them twice more throughout the race, each time just as fantastic, and when I finished, they were waiting for me with a purple rose. My favorite color. I love them so much, and between them and the support I get from my unbelievable friends, I sometimes think I might explode from warm fuzzy feelings. It'd be all messy and gooey.
So to my mom, my dad, and my sister, Amber, thank you. From the bottom of my sweaty, smelly, smiling heart.
And yes, for the record, my butt cheeks are chafed. And my armpits. And my back. You try smearing Aquaphor in all your crevasses and try to maintain an ounce of dignity. (Not gonna lie, I was really looking forward to using the word "crevasses," like Bear Grylls).