From the Marathoner's (proud) Wife



Watching a marathon amidst 2 million other spectators is no walk in the park, for reals. Especially when you take into consideration these additional two factors: 1)I'm pregnant and thus I have to pee every hour and I do NOT do well without food every 3 hours, and 2) It was effing 32 degrees outside. Yes, I am serious. New record for the course with freezing temps....of course the year we go to Chicago Mother Nature brings out the works.

But enough of my negativity, let's recap the day, shall we? Although Nate's adorable post that he requested to write himself was all encompassing, I feel that we must commemorate the big day in a little more detail.

However, if you'd rather not read this 'marathon' of posts, here is my cliff notes version: the Chicago Marathon is an amazing race to run, not so amazing to watch for spectators. I speak from experience although I'm sure some disagree.

And for the details...

We took the train with Nate's dad from MKE to CHI on Saturday afternoon and met Ryan and Maggie right away. We all went to the Expo to get our numbers and soak in the atmosphere. Since I paid the entrance fee and planned on running, I still got a number and a pimped out Nike shirt which is kind of rad. Our little foursome was perfect because both Maggie and I have run previous full marathons AND we both just so happen to be pregnant right now. She's due May 13, two months after me, and we were ready to cheer on both of our husbands who have never done fulls before. How cute, right?





Went to an awesome pizza/pasta dinner Saturday night (where we saw Kathy Griffith! without makeup! waiting in line for dinner and then leaving before they got her a table!) and then headed back to the burbs to Nate's cousins. Nate had to lay out his loot and his spectators had to make signs. Typical night before the marathon full of nerves and excitement and gas. Lots of gas in our case:)


Our alarm went off an an ungodly 4:15 am on Sunday morning and surprisingly, even I was pretty excited and awake. We were out the door by 5:15 and hopped on the L back to downtown, where I am not kidding you....the entire train was packed with hundreds of runners already. So freaking cool and you better believe I wanted to take a picture of everyone on the train but didn't want to a psycho. Totally kicking myself now.

After grabbing Ryan we walked over to the start line and hit the porta potty line. Insanity, I tell you. But Chicago at sunrise is one of the most beautiful urban sights ever.




Then I gave Nate a quick hug and kissed and sent him off to the start line for the 7:30 gun time. I could not get over the 45,000 runners (well, 44,999 I suppose) :) Such an amazing sight.

start line
Nate's dad, Tony, and his cousin, Patrick and I hit the nearest Starbucks and headed towards mile #2. Seeing the elite runners sprint by in a blur made me want to hurl a little. Maybe cry a tad, too. Some people are superhuman, I swear.

Then we saw our men coming along and looking fabulous! Sighting number one: a success!

So we were back on the L towards mile 8 and feeling a little frosty at this point. I seriously wondered why it hadn't warmed up in the slightest since 5:30 in the morning but tried to be a trooper. Don't worry, I had approximately 4 shirts, plus a jacket, 2 pairs of pants, and gloves with a hat on but was still cold. Ah, winter. You know you are my homie.

After finding an opening in the crowd at mile 8 we hunted for the boys and saw them, and seeing their smiles and fist pumps made it all worth while. I remembered how important it was to me when I saw my fans and knew Nate and Ryan were glad we came. My pride for Nate was already swelling up in my throat a little bit. I couldn't believe he was running in his first marathon and kicking so much tail. Sighting number two: success! This wasn't so bad...

the costumed runners were quite entertaining...
So next we headed back down south via the L towards mile 12. After walking a few blocks over to the race we discovered that we had missed Nate by about 15 minutes. Curses! I guess we overestimated the speed of the L with so many stops, so many people, and of course the fun waiting times. How can you even begin to estimate public transit in a city that isn't your own? Ugh. Potential sighting number three: epic fail.

Hustling back to the same train stop we rode the red line for awhile then did a fancy maneuver to switch lines to the pink. We somehow managed to do this successfully without our heads exploding. After all of my researching and planning and diagramming the race course and the L stops, I think this was one time it paid off. We pulled up to the race at mile 19 and waited for Nate to round the bend. I was worried he might be hitting the wall at this point but when we saw his grin we knew he was still kicking major A. Actual sighting number three: success!
And this was where the road forked for us spectators: we wanted to head to mile 23 (where I would jump in with my marathon man!), which gave us about 40 minutes until Nate hit that point. The pink line did not run a straight shot to mile 23, so we needed to do another switcharoo to green if we wanted to get there by L. But my thought was that it would take MUCH longer than 40 minutes to pull it off and thus, we should try a taxi cab. Well funny enough, at mile 19 there was a virtual 'no taxi zone'. We walked over a ways and waited and called and waited and nada. Finally I freaked out and told Tony and Patrick that we were wasting too much time and had to hop back on the L. Total and utter chaos! Since I was planning on jumping in to run with Nate at 23 until the end, I had my number on ready to go. He was expecting me and I wanted to be there for him like I had planned. Thinking of him looking around for me without luck made my heart hurt a little bit.

After waiting for that train for 15 minutes and wasting 15 with our cab idea we had literally 10 minutes to get all the way down to 23. We knew it was impossible so we made what we thought was a great decision to head to the finish instead, and walk back a ways to meet him at 25 or so. At least I could run a mile with him, right?

Well after transferring trains and feeling a bit delirious with the weather and lack of food and whatnot, we somehow missed our effing stop. So we ended up going one more down to stupid mile 23, which was our original plan, but by that time we were 30 minutes later than planned. I was nearly positive we'd missed Nate by a long shot but we still watched the runners go by a bit just in case we were off on our calculations. In my gut I knew we'd missed him and I'd lost my chance to run in any of the race. Now we just had to bust our butts back to the finish (and not miss the freaking stop this time) to try and see him at the end. Missed opportunity number two=Epic fail. Boo!

After waiting for another 20 minutes, we finally boarded the train. I was surprised Nate hadn't called me yet to say he was totally finished but of course, as soon as we got off the train we got the call. He sounded good and apologized for missing me at 23, figuring he just didn't see me. Oh, if he only knew. He said he was walking through the finish area which was total chaos and would meet us at Buckingham fountain. We missed him at 23, I didn't get to run with him, and we didn't even see him finish. And now he'd have to wait at least 30 more minutes for us to even get to him.

Great. Just great.

I had to remind myself that this race was not about me, it was about Nate, and he finished feeling pretty darn good. He wasn't too bummed to run alone and understood our issues with transportation once I explained it to him. And he looked so adorable sitting on the grass by the fountain, you guys. SO cute.
His official time was 4:15:43 which was exactly 3.5 minutes faster than my time last year. We make a pretty good running pair, don't we?

Yes, he is sore. And a bit euphoric. He so deserved this day, you guys, and the cold weather didn't even phase him (of course).


Bottom line: the Chicago Marathon is a FABULOUS race to run with amazing crowd support. It's just not that fun to watch your husband using public transportation in a different city. If we had to do it over again, I think I'd just pick one spot about halfway through to watch and then at the end. I just wanted to see him as much as possible which totally did not happen, obvi. Oh well, you live and learn.

Baby and me are freaking exhausted from walking and riding all over greater Chicago but we are so insanely proud of our guy.

And no, he hasn't mentioned signing up for another one anytime soon. I'm hoping we can both take at least the first part of next year off from big races to focus on parenthood....then maybe FINALLY do a full together as a mom/dad duo. Perhaps third time is a charm?


  1. YAY Nate! Congrats! You are definitely an inspiration for us. We will be thinking of you when we run our 5K next month! Great pictures, Julia!

  2. Totally sucks that you missed him at a few key spots, Julia. :( But he finished and kicked butt and that's what counts. Yay Nate!!

  3. Nate totally rocked it! The runner tracking thing was an epic fail as well. It never texted until after I had already crossed the finish line. Booo... At first I was anti another marathon because the last part of mine sucked but now I'm feeling like I know what I did wrong and I want to try again!

  4. those are so AWESOME shots of chicago!

  5. Hi Julia - I recently started following your blog after "finding you" over at EAD. I haven't posted a comment yet, but I love your blog! In any case - a big congratulations to Nate! What an achievement! As a side note, I could totally feel my heart beat a little faster while reading your post and wondering if you'd actually be able to make it to Mile 23 to meet up and run, too. Bummer, but it had to feel great to see the hubs so pumped. Congrats on your pregnancy, and thanks for sharing the journey with us. I'm pregnant, too (but shhh..., I haven't outed myself on my blog yet... :) )

  6. I've been anxiously awaiting this post. I can only imagine how heartbroken you were about missing him finish (I would be too) but what can you do? Love all of the pics too :).

  7. Yay Nate!!!!
    I may be inspired to go do a little work out on my Wii Fit tonite!:)

  8. you mean somebody ran the whole marathon in pink crocs?! what the heck!?

  9. Way to go Nate!

    Sorry you missed him at the end. I would have been totally bummed too! Love the pictures!

  10. Alright, Nate! Good job.

    Julia...can't believe all that running around you did. I would be POOPED!! Sorry you missed Nate finish, but like the previous posters said, at least he kicked butt and you still got plenty of pics :)

  11. Wow!! He did great even with the cold weather. The pics are so nice!

  12. Is it crazy that I'm going to cry? That last paragraph about doing it together post-baby. Awww....

    The pictures are amazing. Nate did great! (that rhymes, by the way) And he does look adorable sitting by the fountain. I know you are SO proud of him.

  13. I'm so late on this but I can't move along without giving props to your man. What an accomplishment!!!

  14. Nate's da man! You must be so proud. GORGEOUS city shots, btw. And you WERE there, in spirit. :)
    I about peed whilst viewing the costumed runners.

  15. congrats again to nate!! love the pics. and re your 18 wk post below - you look fab!!

  16. Reading you over at EAD and hopped over to your "real" blog. My hubby ran the marathon too (his 1st as well) and LOVED that it was cold. He said it was much better to run in. My hubby ran it in 4:29:45 beating his goal time by 15 seconds. You better believe I was a proud wife that day. I could never run a marathon, and I guarantee he'll do more. He's amazing!!


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