Sports Photographer? No! But I Did Snap a Few at the Chicago Marathon!

My daughter after finishing the Chicago Marathon

Claire at the end of the marathon - she finished in under five hours!

A Marathon Weekend

I flew up to Chicago on Friday to be in town to cheer on my youngest child, Claire, in the Chicago Marathon. 

It was her first marathon. 

Claire and her roommate had a house full of people, so I stayed with my friend, Liza, and her husband and son, Mike and Henry. 

It's so nice having friends that you've known for so long. I've known Liza since kindergarten. Yep - we go back aways! 

Serene Saturday

I'll spare you the many details, since if you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I can get into details! 

We didn't see Claire on Saturday - she had too much going on and was stressed about getting some rest for Sunday's marathon. Liza and I went and swam laps Saturday morning and then we went to see Henry play his soccer game in the afternoon.

That was fun because there were lots of neighbors at the game as well as Mike's sister.

It was an amazing day in Chicago. The weather was perfect - warm but not too hot, blue skies, and fluffy white clouds. 

After the game, we sat in the front yard for a couple of hours catching up and drinking ice tea. 

The Chicago Marathon

Sunday was a busy blast.

We started with breakfast at Mike's mom's after which we found a parking place near the L and hopped on the Blue Line to get downtown to the race. 

We met up with Claire's boyfriend, Tucker, and some of their other friends who also flew in for the race.

Tucker was a great point man - checking the marathon app and guiding us around so we'd be able to cheer for Claire. He was also a fantastic cheer squad leader. I mean, how awesome is this sign that he made for Claire?

A runner and her boyfriend holding a sign at the end of the Chicago Marathon. The sign is a reference to the Twilight Series and says, "You're incredibly fast and strong."

I was "that" mom who took my girls to the midnight showing of the Twilight movies when they premiered. This is a reference to Bella Swan talking about her boyfriend Edward Cullen (the vampire) who is - yes - impossibly fast and strong.

I know you're shaking your head at me now...

That sign was getting a lot of attention, and I'm told Claire loved the surprise the first time she saw it on her run!

Claire started in the second wave at 8 a.m. so she was almost done with the race by the time we caught up to her around noon. She was at mile 21 by then.

Atlanta Photographer, Yes - Sports Photographer? No

I was impressed she could smile and wave for us, and I was SO glad she slowed and turned.

I'm definitely not a sports photographer. That takes a whole different level of patience and fast lenses.

I took this shot at ISO 200, 1/200th of a second to freeze the motion as much as possible. I had it set on f8 so I had a nice depth of field to give me the best possible chance of getting her in focus.

I should have gone with f5.6 because it came out a little dark but nothing I couldn't take care of in Lightroom.

I'm just glad I got her in focus with her hands up and a smile on her face - Yay!

A runner at mile 21 of the Chicago Marathon with her arms up and a smile on her face

Claire at mile 21 of the Chicago Marathon

I had the family text thread going and was sending photos and videos to everyone. 

The atmosphere around the race was so fun and exciting.

I loved cheering people on, especially the people who looked like they were barely making it - because - you know - that'd be me if I was running a marathon!

"You got this," we shouted at a few people who looked like they were ready to collapse and quit. They were so close to the finish line! 

After we saw Claire at mile 21, we made our way through back through the crowd and headed to mile 25. We weren't allowed at the finish line. 

We saw her again at mile 25 and she still pulled off a smile and a wave. After that, we headed to the park where we could meet up with her after she finished the race. 

Claire was exhausted and exhilarated. 

We all met back up at Claire and her roommate's apartment for a little post-marathon pizza party after which Liza, Mike, Henry, and I went back to their house. 

Monday, Monday

I worked Monday morning and then Liza, Henry, and I took advantage of a local library program that offers free tickets to the Art Institute of Chicago.

I love that place.

I could talk for hours about all the GREAT stuff we saw there. I'll spare you!

If you're in Chicago any time soon, I highly recommend the featured exhibit by Barbara Kruger. It runs until late January. 

Well...back in the ATL since last night and trying to catch up on everything that needs doing, and it's a lot. 

I also have lots of laundry and I'm trying not to go INSANE listening to my old, squeaky dryer. I have a small house so there's a stackable washer/dryer in the kitchen closet that's right near my desk (well - small house - everything is near my desk!). 

The squeak, OMG, the squeak...

Ah least I have a washer/dryer. I'm grateful for that!

Have a good one!

And see you between the raindrops!