June 3rd, 2007
We headed to South Bend, IN on Friday. It took about 11 hours. Easy breezy. The kids were great, our new Acadia rocked, and the roads were clear.
That night we had a spaghetti dinner (gotta carb up!) with our Marathon-Runners, My Mom and Dad. We then swam in the hotel pool for about an hour and conked out in the hotel room.
The wake up call the next morning was for 5 AM. We rolled out of bed and headed to the starting line. It was actually pretty calm...everyone was stretching and preparing for the LONG LONG run ahead. After it started, we were on the go for the entire race, trying to find the runners and cheer on OUR runners as many times as possible in the 26.2 miles. For a second, I felt like Helen Hunt in TWISTER.
We consult the map, drive as close as we could to the route, spot the runners and then strategize where to park, and unload all of our camping chairs and snacks and just wait until we saw them. We did this at mile 7.5, 11.5, 14, 16 and 20. We JUST missed them at around 12 or 13. I was the only one that ran out of the car and cheered for one second. We also saw them as they rounded the corner after the start, at about mile .3 After we saw them at 20, we went to the finish line. This was the 50 yard line of the Notre Dame stadium. Walking from the parking lot to the stadium was H-O-T. We could not IMAGINE what they were feeling, running ALL that way in the sweltering heat.
We waited in the stadium. As marathoners finished, I got tears in my eyes. The time kept ticking. I knew they would finish, but I JUST wanted them to finish before they cleaned up. The crowds were dispersing, I heard an official say there were 2 dozen runners out there. Since we were some of the last people there, they let us out onto the field (official rules were that spectators stay in the stands), and even let my daughter have the medals to put around their necks.
Runner after Runner finished and we just kept waiting and watching. And then THAT MOMENT. They ran into the field, hand-in-hand and crossed the finish line. They MADE IT. They completed the marathon. After MONTHS of training, my parents DID IT. I was a mess....sobbing and screaming: YOU DID IT! YOU DID IT! It was a pretty amazing moment; One I had been anticipating for quite some time, and it was better than I even imagined.