Jeff ran the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday. So did my cousin Chris, Jamie’s husband Brad and brother-in-law Kevin, our neighbor Sheila’s son Bill, and about 7,994 other people. We met up with my parents, my aunt and cousin, and Jamie, Brad, Silas and Jamie’s parents for a weekend of marathon fun in the Steel City.
I spent the week feeling a bit unsure about our travels — I was fully immersed in swine flu preparations here at the College and knew exactly enough to be completely paranoid about spending two nights in a hotel, eating out, and rubbing elbows with 15,000 people at the marathon. I also wasn’t feeling well, thanks, I think, to a snuffly bout with allergies. So, I left for Pittsburgh a bit hesitantly on Saturday. However, once we arrived, it was impossible not to love being with all my favorite people in one of my favorite cities!
Marathon day was grand! It was overcast and cool — perfect for the runners and not too shabby for us spectators. I met up with my parents and aunt at their hotel so we could watch the start together before jetting down the street a few blocks to catch our runners again at mile three. It was quite a sight — runners and spectators as far as you could see! Much different than any of the other races I’ve seen Jeff do.
All the guys that I was there to cheer on were running different distances and different paces, so it was going to be a challenge to keep up with everyone. Of course, I was most devoted to my guy and wanted to see him as much possible. Therefore, I not only rushed to the 16th Bridge, but then back into downtown Pittsburgh, onto the subway, over to Station Square, and down to the street, just in time to see him pass by there. Then, it was back into downtown on the subway, walk to the hotel, and scout out a spot at the finish line.
Because the course was headed into eastern Pittsburgh, an area I couldn’t get on foot, I was going to go 16 miles without being able to see Jeff. So, we signed up for text messages so I would at least get a sense of how he was progressing, whether he was keeping on pace, and when he might finish. I was estatic each time I got a message because I knew he was keeping a perfect pace for a PR, a personal record. Sure enough, at 4:07:55, he crossed the finish line, minutes ahead of his Harrisburg Marathon time and a significantly better showing of his fitness and training than the awfully hot Erie Marathon.
I’m not always a good sport about Jeff’s training; I get frustrated by the hours he spends running and the money he spends on shoes. I don’t understand his dedication, but I admire it. And, on Sunday, when we parted ways so he could find his pace marker and I could get to the start line, I felt choked up like I have at every other one of his races. It’s just such a significant accomplishment to run a marathon, and, in those moments, I couldn’t be any prouder of him. He competes with such a great attitude.
It was also especially fun to spend this marathon with my parents! They yelled as loud as I did, and I know their hearts swelled with pride when he ran across the finish line. I’m so appreciative of how involved they are in our lives…how much joy they take in our accomplishments (big and small). Their love and appreciation for Jeff is such a wonderful sense of support and security in our marriage.
After the marathon, our gang headed to the Strip District for a celebratory meal.
Jeff and I wrapped up our Pittsburgh stay with a blissful 11 hours of sleep on Sunday, delicious breakfast on Monday morning, and rainy trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo. Before you feel bad that it rained on our zoo trip, let me tell you that I’m now convinced that rainy days are the best days to be at the zoo. No crowds and many of the animals seemed especially active and playful. We had a lot of fun…even if we were soaked and chilled to the bone!
And, though it was a fun weekend, I must close on a sad note. I posted more than a week ago about a sick fish that I was keeping an eye on at Bethany Village. When I checked on the fish last Tuesday, I found the little guy washed ashore. I was sorry to see that he didn’t make it. I hope the small acts of kindness that mom and I showed him brought at least a little sunshine to his last days.