Last week I did something I had never done at a race. I watched. Since my Achilles tendon was giving me problems a few weeks back, I decided to withdraw from the Soldier Field 10 mile race as well as the North Shore 1/2 Marathon. It was definitely one of the hardest things to do, but after a lot of contemplation and asking for advice from various runners, I made my decision. I did want to see how the Soldier Field 10 mile was all about so I went to watch it.
I went inside of the stadium and was just mesmerized by the entire setup of the race! This shot above was a little over-exposed, but it is the winner of the race, finished a little over 50 minutes! There was a sudden urge of jealously that overtook my mind. I just wanted to be out there with all of the runners, but it wasn't my time. I had run two 10 mile runs over the past month, so I know I was, at very least, capable of running this distance. But to get to actually run a race would have been a great accomplishment. I kept having to tell myself that this year is about the marathon, so this race was just supposed to be a stepping stone. You can tell it was tearing me apart, so I decided to participate in the race in another way. As a supportive spectator
I walked over to the 9 1/2 mile marker and started shouting out to passing runners clapping, cheering them on to push through the last 1/2 mile. Some smiled, others hollered back, and some even waved. In my last race at the Shamrock Shuffle, the crowd carried me through the last mile or so. It was just so loud and I was giving high-fives to all of those lined up against the street. I have to admit, being able to give them that support really does give me a new respect for all spectators of races.
I saw my friend Rikki when he was passing the 9 1/2 mile marker. So I walked over to the runner's exit from the field to meet up with him. We had been meaning to run this race together, but he is just way too fast for me. I wouldn't have been able to keep up with him at all! I believe he finished just over 1 1/2 hours.
I also met up with my friend Christine (@cjleee) for a short period, although I didn't get a picture with her. She has been one of my best motivators over this past few months and continue to push me through my Marathon training. She is truly awesome!
While talking to Rikki, something happened that I have yet to witness in a race before. They deemed the road conditions as EXTREME and suspended the race! I couldn't believe it! I sent a quick tweet to Fleet Feet to see what was going on, and sure enough that was the case. I came to find out later that mile 7 was up to 94 degrees. I would have to agree, that definitely falls under EXTREME conditions!
After meeting with Rikki I finally met some of the runner people I have been talking to on Twitter and DailyMile. They of course wanted to take a picture with the EAS notification flag showing off the EXTREME conditions. Don't they look like superheroes in this picture?
One of the funnier moments in the meet up was @mollyconway signing autographs. She was the face of this year's Soldier Field 10 mile participant guide. So of course some of the other runners had to get her John Hancock
We all ended up walking over to a tavern to have a post-run meal. I was surrounded by nutritional meals like egg whites and wheat toast while I scarfed down a Reuben sandwich, which came out FIRST may I add. HAHA. It was great listening to all of the discussions of running and stories of injuries and a few personal stories come out here and there. This was my first ever "TWEET-UP", so I did more of the observing then the actual participating, like I normally would. It's funny being introduced to people as my twitter name, which is actually making me think I may change my twitter name from @deekindotnet.
And yet another funny observation. I know that I do it more often then some people I know, but I felt right at home when I saw people checking their phones, or updating their twitter status or something like that. HAHA. Now I know there are more people like me and I don't feel as bad! We were actually concerned about a fellow Twitter/DailyMile runner who had not made it out to the tweetup: @JHeath. He has had bad knee ITBS problems the past few weeks and he did not finish the Soldier Field 10 Mile like he wanted to. Hope you feel better bud!
Overall it was probably one of the most fun I have had at any race. Because of the people I cheered on and the people I met. Definitely a great experience. I can't wait to get out there and run again!
If you would like to see ALL of the pictures I took at this day, check out my Shutterfly Album