In 2013, the race moved into Chicago along the lakefront path. I was one of the race's ambassadors initially, but later took over as the program manager of the Chicago Half Marathon Challenge. I ran this race for free, but I wasn't there to race anyways.
I was there to help dreams come true.
I've paced Jenny last fall when we ran our second marathon together and it was a fantastic experience. Yesterday was the first time I helped runners achieve their first half marathon and it was a life-changing experience. The weekend started Friday with the expo. I picked up my swag-a-licious athlete's bag. Registration for this race is steep, but included a water bottle, shirt, yoga mat and bag.
I also listened to Sara Hall's words of wisdom about nutrition, racing and the mental aspect of racing. It was fascinating.
I met up with all four of the challenge ladies at the mocktail hour to enjoy some Honest Tea at a mad hatter-themed shin dig. I was the only one wearing a hat. No shame.
Saturday morning, we made decided on our race strategy. I planned to run with Tiffany while Tracey and Samira followed us. Kate was planning on listening to podcasts, so she was good to go.
We started far back and took our time. I eventually paired up with Tracey and kept trucking through the miles. She had some challenges along the way, but we persevered throughout and kept moving forward. We did have to walk, but walking is still moving forward. It counts. A finish is a finish.
And each and every one of the ladies finished.
It was amazing to see all their hard work come to fruition and for them to find out how strong they really are. Afterwards, all the ladies got a PR medals, we had our boxed lunches, celebratory wine and photos. I also visited a physical therapist to get stretched out some of the ladies visited the medical tent.
I am so proud of Tracey for pushing through the pain to finish this race, her first half marathon. I hope that it's the first of many for her! I can't tell you how amazing it feels to know I helped these ladies in some small way enjoy the sport that's given me so much. Tracey made adorable Zooma cookies for the event as well as gave me this way too generous gift basket. I also got a sweet note and headband/flower combo from Samira, which touched me.