Yesterday, I laced up my shoes and hit the trail for the last time before the race. I honestly cannot believe that it's here. It's all so surreal.
As I walk around downtown, huge Bank of America banners hang from the light posts, saying "Let's Run Together." Grant Park is already full of tents - with more going up each day - and the streets are already lined with gates for the crowds.
Yesterday I walked into NikeTown, and it is filled with Marathon paraphernalia. Just as you walk in, there's this huge mural that says "Own Chicago" with lists of all the neighborhoods the race runs through, and at which mile you'll reach it. All the teeshirts, sweatshirts, and jackets sport the marathon logo. You couldn't help but feel the energy in there.
Turns out, this is actually happening.
It's just hard to believe it. I started thinking about running this race in about November of last year. I signed up in February, and at that time started to increase my outside running even though the weather wasn't quite ready for it. In May, my official training began, and I've run every mile of it outside.
I have run through everything you can think of. Sun, clouds, rain, shine, wind, snow covered paths, extreme heat, frigid snow. I've run in the daylight, I've run at nighttime. I've managed to squeeze my training in before or after shifts, before weddings, before roadtrips. I've made it through hangovers, colds, allergies. Somehow, despite it all, I made it happen.
I was just telling my brother the other day that if I were to ever run a marathon, this was the year to do it. I was somehow blessed with a schedule that kept weekends open such that I could fit my long runs in without a problem. This marathon is flat - which I definitely need - and this city provided me such an awesome arena to train in. Now's the time.
I've trained and practiced my routines as best I could And in three days time, I'll put it all to the test with 40,000 of my newest friends.
2:22:28:49. It's the final countdown.