The guys left first. I eagerly jumped up and down waiting for Tami, the second leg team member for our women’s relay team. Andrea (the other Andrea) led off on leg one, passed the timing chip to Tami, and now I would be wearing it to the finish line. I was excited to see Tami swinging through on the monkey bars (strong and fast) and then scrambling on her belly under the net (at lightning speed).
She handed off the timing chip to me, I strapped it on my ankle, and headed off at a comfortable, fairly fast pace, through the loading docks of McCormick Place. Runners passed one another like cars on a crowded highway, darting in and out, slowing down, speeding up.
One mile in to the race, I approached the first obstacle course – the stairs at Soldier Field. Up and down stairs and ramps I ran with the crowd, like ants at a picnic, focusing on the sweet relief of the finish line. Huffing. Puffing. Determined.
The stairs were far more intense than I had bargained for, but I tried to revel in the moment of being in a famous stadium; I persevered, not letting fatigue deter me from my goal.
Once out of the stadium, I ran (despite my legs screaming, “Stop!”) along the course, trailing near Lakeshore drive, looking out over Lake Michigan.
Eventually, the roar of the crowd gradually grew louder. I felt re-energized, knowing that the end was near.