By Becky Wade
Eight days ago, I toed the line at the Chicago Marathon. After several months of focused training, many weeks over 100 miles, a few positive races, and hardly any setbacks, I felt ready to go. I was rested, my workouts indicated I was in personal record shape, and I was prepared to dig extraordinarily deep.
The race did not go as planned. A stitch that lingered for most of the race, making it hard to breathe and take fluids, derailed my breakthrough and tested my pride. Instead of blasting the last 10K—the way I’ve run my best marathons—I was the one staggering toward the finish line, trying to stay upright and praying no one else blew by me. Ultimately, I finished in 10th place (in 2:35). Though I matched my ranking going into the race, my performance and result were tough to swallow.
The texts and e-mails started rolling in soon after I finished. And right up in there, along with my extended family and former teammates (my immediate family was with me in Chicago) were notes of support from my Black Lab Sports colleagues. Having followed along my build-up for the last few months, they were intentional about tracking the race or looking up results, and they let me know that they cared how I did. None of them are distance runners (though there are collegiate swimmers, lacrosse players, and football players among them), and they didn’t yet know how the race unfolded or how I felt about it. But receiving their messages and returning to work a few days later to a whole lot of support, tons of questions about my experience, and a much-needed sense of normalcy, meant a lot to me.
It’s moments like these that I’m especially thankful for my life outside of running—where I do work that challenges and excites me but isn’t really about me; where I have more structure and balance in my life than I would were I just running; and where I’m part of two teams (Black Lab Sports and isplack) that value me equally for my work in the office and on the pavement. So thank you, JP, Justin, Peter, Aaron, Olja, Zach, Cooper, Steve, Lindsay, Michael, Jen, and the many others who work at or visit The Lab and have shown me support in some way. I appreciate it all, and am already dreaming about my next crack at 26.2.