Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ABC Wednesday: A Marathon M

I know it's only Tuesday, but since tomorrow is also Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, I wanted to post my ABC Wednesday post a little early. This past weekend gave me the perfect M for this week . . .

a Marathon

On Saturday, Champaign, Illinois hosted the first ever Illinois Marathon. Over 9,000 runners competed in races, including the 26-mile marathon, a half-marathon, 5K, 1K, wheelchair, and relay events. Seasoned marathoners from across the country arrived in Champaign for the event, but many of the participants were locals including a group of firefighters who ran the marathon relay with 25-pound airpacks on their backs. Others included a Marine running in full battle gear--including combat boots!--and a Marine who carried the Marine Corps banner for the whole marathon.

I was involved, too--no, no, no, I didn't run any of the races. They would have had to carry me out on a stretcher before the end of mile 2, ha, ha. No, I was on "grandma duty," keeping two of the grandchildren overnight and during the day of the race so that Son #2 and Daughter-in-law could be rested for the big day. My son has run several marathons in the last four years, but this was the first full marathon for my daughter-in-law. They were thrilled when Champaign announced its plans; participating in marathons usually involves a lot of travel, which is difficult for working parents, not to mention expensive.

Because I was in charge of the children, we didn't make it to the beginning of the race, which would have given me much better photo opportunities. Instead, we waited a couple hours, then camped out on the street corner near Son #1's house, hoping to get a glimpse of the kids' Mom and Dad. If you've never attended a marathon, it's not easy knowing where your favorite runner will be. I had estimated what time they would pass by here, and all five grandchildren, Son #1, Daughter-in-law #1, and I cheered on every runner that went by, some of whom looked a little exhausted after running 17 miles already. After an hour, Granddaughter #2 decided she was too cold and wanted to "PLAY!", so we gave up and went inside. Unfortunately, as I later learned, we gave up too soon, as their parents passed this point about 10 minutes later.

Everyone involved with planning the event was very satisfied with the outcome. Everything went smoothly, thanks in part to over 2500 volunteers, including the gentleman on the left whose duties included directing the runners to the next leg of the race and stopping drivers--most cheerful, but a few not so nice--from crossing the street while runners were present.

The organizers took care, too, in plotting out the course, choosing scenic runs through the heart of campus and through several parks, including one of my favorites, Meadowbrook Park. And they couldn't have chosen a better day for the weather. The day before, it was cold, very windy, and rainy, but on Saturday the skies were clear with temperatures reaching the low 50's by mid-day.

For any runner, crossing the finish line has to be a very satisfying conclusion, but it had to be particularly thrilling for local runners as they ran into Memorial Stadium and crossed the finish line at the 50-yard line in front of a crowd of cheering onlookers. The winner was a Kenyan who finished in 2:26. He was disappointed in his time, but that's 26 miles at a little over 5 1/2 minutes a mile, which I think is amazing! Son and Daughter-in-law finished a little over twice that amount of time, which was much slower than my son usually runs. But he ran at a pace to stay with my daughter-in-law, giving her encouragement all along the way. And except for those who race to win, for most marathoners just completing the course is satisfaction enough.

Unfortunately, once again I misjudged the time, and, after a quick lunch and packing everybody up again, the two grandkids and I arrived at the stadium just after Son and Daughter-in-law crossed the finish line.

Two tired, but very happy runners (and two very tired kids)--I am so proud of them!

Because the race was such a success, organizers are hoping to make this an annual event. Next year, I hope to participate---WALKING the 5K! You heard it here first--hold me to this!

For more ABC posts, visit Mrs. Nesbitt or the ABC blog listing.


  1. Oh, Rose! Thanks for the post - it gave me a thrill to see you and your family enjoying the new marathon. Congratulations to the finishers and the spectators. That's a great turnout!

    Now off to send a link to your blog to my kids. They'd talked about trying to run it, but came to visit us in Texas instead ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. Awesome! These two runners don't look tired at all! I remember running in the Army, and let me tell you each run took SO much out of me I might as well have run a marathon too. Not quite, but you get it. It is a bummer on the timing but I think it would be extremely hard to judge this. You did well and to miss it by only 10 minutes. Urgh! And it's not like you can call them on a cell phone and check their location. Very exciting event!

  3. Marvelous! Most meritorious motion. Merrily, Monica Milla :)

  4. Annie, So glad you stopped by to see this; I knew you would be interested. Everyone seemed very happy with how the event went, and I was so impressed with how well-organized it all was. My son said this was very well-done, including lots of available porta-potties:) We're hoping it will be an annual event.

    Tina, Seeing those Marines in their combat boots and flak vests gave me even more appreciation for servicemen and women. Yes, I was so disappointed I didn't actually get to see the kids run, but I couldn't expect the grandkids to sit on a street corner for hours, either:)

    Monica, M has to be your favorite letter:)

  5. Congratulations to son 2 and daughter-in-law 2. I would be like you: carried out on a stretcher before the first mile was over!
    Good luck next year. I know you will make it...

  6. Nice story and photos.

  7. Walking the 5 K would be much more my speed than a marathon. My daughter-in-law ran in one last year. I was proud of her, but it's not something I aspire to. It's a great example for the kids, though, to make exercise a part of one's lifestyle.

  8. What a good sport your son is to slow down his pace for his wife. And Grandma Rose made it all possible, including the good sportsmanship. You have a "magnificent" family, Rose.

  9. Your son and daughter in law look as they are good for another 26 miles Rose :) You must be proud of them. Sounds like it was a good day out for all.

  10. Hi Rose....I do hope you do the 5K run, I will be behind you all the way.
    Well done to your family.....of course you are proud Rose, you have every right to be......

    The flowers in the park look like wild blooms??

    A fun event and so pleased that the weather was good for all who took part......

  11. I admire everyone who ran. That takes a lot of dedication. Congratulations to your son and daughter in law, well done.

  12. A really though M! ;-)

    I wouldn't even dare to try. It would have been the stretcher for me too. IT is better to take a walk with the camera.

  13. What a great post! And love your photos! That is such a great thing to participate in and particularly with the kids, sets such a great example!

  14. Awesome. Congrats to them. Perfect choice for the letter M.

  15. It was a fun day for Champaign-Urbana, wasn't it? My daughter ran the 1/2 marathon. She ran the full Chicago marathon 2 years ago, and plans to do so again this year. And like you, I've vowed to walk the 5K next year!

    Congratulations to your son and duaghter-in-law! The running community is such a delightful group of people.

  16. Rose, How exciting to have two family members running the marathon...The timing is hard to gauge! Especially considering the needs of two young ones! Next year it will be your turn to be celebrated! gail

  17. This looks like a really fun day. And a great achievement.

  18. What fun! I'd love being the babysitter rather than the runner.

  19. Gosh, running is not my thing nor has it ever been, even though I've been quite athletic in other things - like tennis, softball, volleyball, cycling, etc. It's always been my dream to be able to run! Maybe in heaven...lol :D

  20. I admire anyone who runs a marathon. I cannot fathom running that far. My little 3k's are enough.

    Congrats to your son/daughter-in-law!

  21. What a wonderful day. Good for your kids. I am proud of them too. You did a good job of taking care of the little ones so they could accomplish their goals.

    A couple of my friends did a 12k marathon last summer. They said that people cheering them on really helped. So you and your family did a good thing cheering too.

    I can't wait to read about your training and then the big walk.

  22. I have always admired runners so much. I can't run a lick. In gym we used to have to run a mile once a year and I dreaded it all year. Way to go to your son and his wife! How fabulous! Your grands are so adorable! I know you had a wonderful time with them! You are such a great Grandma! I can just tell!

  23. Mara, Now that I've committed myself publicly to next year's walk, I'd better not back down:)

    Kadermo, Thanks for dropping by!

    Janie, It is a good example for the kids. Granddaughter sometimes goes for short runs with them when they are training. I would be happy to be able to walk a few miles:)

    W2W, I thought it was very sweet of him, too, which makes me even more proud of him. As for helping out, it doesn't take too much coaxing to get me to take the grandkids:)

    Anna, I was amazed at how well they felt afterwards, especially my daughter-in-law, since it was her first time. But they have been in training for months.

    Cheryl, Can you tell I'm a proud Mom?:) The photo of the park is one I took last summer, and yes, those are all wildflowers. Right now there's nothing blooming there; I'll have to do a post on this prairie spot again sometime.

    Marnie, Running a marathon is not something you decide to do impulsively, that's for sure. Son and daughter-in-law have been training for months.

    RunE, I definitely prefer walking, too:)

  24. Sylvia, We all had a fun time; the only disappointment was that I didn't actually see them run. I'm in awe of anyone who can run for that long.

    Photowannabe, Thanks! I am very proud of them.

    Joyce, Congratulations too to your daughter! Everyone I've talked to who was involved was really pleased with this event; I think it's great for C-U, especially with so many runners in the community. Let's do the 5K next year!

    Gail, Thank you. Yes, if it had just been me I would have waited out a couple hours, but it was a little too tedious for the little ones. Still, a great day!

    AnthonyNorth, Thanks; I admire anyone who can do this.

    Tumblewords, Babysitting was definitely the easier task:)

    Leslie, I should have tried running, since I wasn't good at anything else athletic. Now my knees won't let me:)

    Susie, Thanks, but don't put down your "little" 3K's. I couldn't do that either!

    Lisa, I learned at my son's first marathon that good fans cheer and encourage everyone on; it's such a great atmosphere compared to other sporting events. As for training, first I need to "train" for Spring Fling's garden walks:)

    Life With Kaishon, I can totally relate--I hated P.E., period:) Grandkids are the greatest! They go home eventually, and then you can take a nap:)

  25. Kudos to son and DIL! I thought a half marathon was a big deal! I bet Grandma was tired too, chasing after grandchildren! ;-)

  26. What an achivement and they look so happy and not at all tired. I'm so impressed of those who can run a Marathon. Great post Rose.
    thank you for your visit and nice comment on the MOON planting post.
    Intresting to here about your grandfather.

    xoxo Tyra

  27. Wow, go girl!!!

    Isn't it funny, that when you have little ones, timing completly goes to pot!

    Lovely photo of your family, they look very happy :)

  28. Hi Rose! I can understand that you were proud of your son and daughter-in-law. What a great event! Congratulations! Fortunately the weather was good!
    Thanks for sharing!

  29. Hi Rose, this was a great description of the day and it does sound like a good time was had by all, even if you missed seeing your kids cross the finish line. Those smiling faces speak volumes. And good for you with the walk. We did the race for the breast cancer cure 3k and it was great to be with all those other people, family and strangers alike. What an attractive family! :-)

  30. Dear Rose,
    A very fun and different post! How very exciting for you and your family.
    I have never been in a marathon but my sister ran a few.
    I think walking a 5K would be great.

  31. Hope you do the marathon next time, I would be walking too. Not much of a runner, but it's great that your Son & Daughter-in-law participated!

  32. Great post and pictures next year I will be closer to that area so if they do hold it again maybe I can participate

  33. Well done all! I have to say that running has never been my preferred method of locomotion - I'll walk, but not run!

  34. Oh well done to Son and Daughter-in-law! What a fantastic achievement and how lovely of Son to keep pace with his wife.

  35. MG, It's funny, but I always seem to take a nap after spending the day with the grandkids:)

    Tyra, I'm impressed, too, by anyone who can run a marathon. I wish I could remember some of Grandpa's sayings about what to plant by which moon.

    Suburbia, I'd forgotten what it was like to get little ones ready and out the door. Granddaughter has a mind of her own about when she wants to do things:)

    Reader Wil, Yes, they were very lucky with the weather. The last two days have been rainy and nasty.

    Frances, I remember your post about the walk for breast cancer. I have a couple friends interested in walking next year, and I know the miles go by much more quickly with friends.

    Sherry, I think my days of even possibly running a marathon are long gone:) But I know I could walk! I need to start training now.

    PG, My son didn't even start this till he was in his early 30's. So I give him a lot of credit for being determined and persistent to see it through...and yes, DIL, too!

    Shopannies, I think it's looking like this could be an annual event. Hope you can participate next year!

    Dragonstar, I totally agree:) I've missed your ABC posts lately; I'll have to stop by for a visit.

    Liz, Yes, I'm a proud mom and not ashamed to admit it. And I thought Son was awfully nice, too, not to worry about his times. I must have done something right in raising him:)


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