This weekend was full. Full of plans, full of time with friends, full of food and fun…but definitely not full of sleep. Naoto’s college friend Mark was in town to run the Chicago Marathon. Sunday morning, we crawled out of our cozy beds before 6am and took the train into the city with Mark’s parents to cheer him on. We met up with Mark’s wife & his old friend Brian in the city. I was everyone’s tour guide because they were all first timers and I am a seasoned marathon spectator. Naoto has run six Chicago marathons and I’ve been around for five of them. The first year was quite an experience chasing Naoto around the city, being so excited when we saw him and being so disappointed when the timing didn’t work. By the second one, I had a better plan…and I now have the whole thing perfected…at least for me–solid viewing spots in the beginning, the middle and the end that are close to bathrooms (SO important) and coffee and snacks (also important).
It was freezing, so we were all bundled up in our puffy winter coats with hats and mittens. (Hello, winter…thanks for arriving with gusto on the day I planned to spend outside!) We got downtown early enough to see the elite runners (pictured above) and wheelchairs (pictured below) pass. The elites are an amazing sight to see–the winner finished all 26.2 miles in 2 hours and 4 minutes…a shorter time than most people finish the first half. They glide through the entire race, almost as though their feet aren’t even touching the ground. (Most runners, especially by the end, are plodding along with heavy feet.) Naoto used to joke that by the time he finished the marathon, the winner was on the flight to the next race.
After the race we all went to Miller’s Pub for a post-running (& spectating) lunch. It’s amazing how you can work up such an appetite watching so many runners! Here’s Team Mark (minus me):
After lunch, we came home, I took a nap and then we turned around and went back into the city to meet up with everyone for dinner. It was a whirlwind of a day (and a whirlwind of a weekend!) but well worth it to see old friends.