In the effort to continue playing catch up on this blog, I wanted to post a bit more about my experience at MCM a few weeks ago. Chronicling that day is important to me because it was so special and gave me such a new perspective on things.
|my silver whistle from Paul|
That morning I set my alarm for 4:45 – just like I would have if I were racing – and got myself ready to head out the door. I picked up my sister Jodi, my client/friend Paul and my friend Justin and drove the excited marathoners as close to the start line as I could get them. It was dark and cold but the energy in that car was electric! They were so excited and nervous and I was too! Sure there was a part of me that wished I was racing that day, but to be honest it was only a small part. I was feeling so proud of them and so excited to cheer them on. I was a part of their journey in a whole new way and very grateful for that. When I dropped them off I gave them all big hugs and told them they would do great and thanked them for letting me share the experience with them. I’m an emotional gal so naturally I was tearing up! Then Paul gave me a box – a gift to say thank you for being his coach and his friend – I simply could not believe this kind gesture. Inside was a beautiful silver whistle engraved with “Coach Jessica” on one side and “Breathe and Believe” on the other (a mantra we shared during his training). It is so special to me. I had never coached anyone before Paul and it was such an incredible experience. I learned so much and was so inspired by him. The reward of seeing how healthy, strong and happy he was at the start of that race was enough joy to sail on forever and to have this whistle as a symbol of this experience was icing on the cake.
After dropping them off, I drove toward where the finish was so I could park my car there for when the race was over. Then I got out my course map and began the adventure of spectating this amazing race! I started at mile 1 and got to see the wheel chair and then the elite runners as they soared through. I don’t usually get to see this and it was inspiring to say the least! The energy along the course was incredible to be a part of. I walked over to the Key Bridge from there and saw the runners at Mile 4 as they ran across the bridge. I had made signs that said “You Inspire Me” and “Trust Your Training” and got high fives and smiles from many runners (along with some who said “What training?” when they saw my sign…sorry buddy!). At this point I still had not seen my runners…the crowd was THICK and it was hard to see them. After that though I hopped on the metro and headed to Mile 15 where I saw them for the first time! They looked AWESOME. Strong. They were soaking it up. My sister Jodi told me that she thought she may have twisted her ankle around Mile 8, but she was running strong despite that. My husband Robert brought the kids down and they met me there to cheer on the runners for a little while, which was a blast. I loved to see the excitement on my kids’ faces as they watched all the runners.
|Will cheering on the runners|
After saying bye to my family I continued on to support my runners at Mile 19. When I saw them there I could tell they were hurting. Jodi’s ankle was definitely twisted and she was clearly in pain but determined to finish the race strong. She kept running. Paul had a smile across his face, but he was fighting to stay positive. I was so proud of them. After seeing them run past I quickly hopped on the metro one last time to head to the finish and see them there. They looked AMAZING as they approached the finish line. They did it!!
After they made it through the chutes I greeted them with hugs and smiles. They were so blissed out and relieved to be finished. Jodi was hurting so we went straight to the First Aid tent where they iced and wrapped her ankle and gave her crutches. It was a bad sprain. Paul was wiped out but on a high from his first marathon. I was so happy to be there with them.
|me and Paul after the race!|
What I learned from this race: there are many ways to be a part of a marathon. It was just as meaningful to me to be there to cheer on and support my loved ones as it was to be supported by them. I am so grateful for this experience. Also, it was almost just as exhausting to spectate this race as it was to run it! I have a whole new level of respect and gratitude for my husband for all the races he has schlepped the kids to just to show me he loves me and is proud of me. To be able to pay that forward in this way was truly priceless.
Thanks again Jodi, Paul and Justin for letting me be a part of your journey. Peace and love and I cannot wait to run by your side again this spring!!!