*I'm blogging the last 3 days in parts, because so much happened that it would not do the stories justice to lump every encounter and experience together.*
I cannot think of running without thinking of my parents.
They are synonymous.
My parents have run a gazillion marathons and running even has a staring role in some of their favorite stories of their college days. My dad worked in the college mail room for a summer and would deliver my mom's "Runner's World" mag and wonder who would read that.
We've had a subscription to our house for as long as I can remember.
So it was no surprise to me, when after a sleepless night and a ridiculously early train, I came out of the subway in Shanghai, took in a whiff of gritty factory air, and got tears in my eyes as I approached the Shanghai Marathon 2011 finish line.
It's hard not to be emotional taking part in something that is synonymous with my parents, but my parents aren't there.
I decided to mix my India visa run with the marathon because my dear friend Rachel was running. She set her mind to it and finished her goal and I'm so proud of her.
A group of friends gathered to cheer her and a few others on as they rounded the last corner to the finish at the Shanghai Oriental Stadium.
Overall I had a good impression about the race, apart from the repeated Superman song at the finish line that was so loud that no one was cheering the runners. There were many foreigners in the race, and there was a professional feel to it, with Asian charms. My friends told me that it was much better as a runner than the Hangzhou marathon, which would make more sense because Shanghai has way more money and is more international. It was a good time.
We went back to a friends house and then had lunch together before they all took off on their seperate ways - the Hangzhouvians to the train station bound for home, and the Shanghaiers back to their homes for an afternoon Study. I headed out on my own to find my fave Brit! I was staying with Stephanie, an old classmate who now lives in Shanghai doing an internship.
Little did I know how interesting things in Shanghai were about to get.....
but first, some pics from the marathon:
sunrise from the train window:
train breakfast of applesauce in a bag! I just started buying these for breakfast because there is no added sugar and it is an easy snack/breakfast so I don't load up on carby crap for breakfast:
Dragon dancers on the marathon course:
that sign says, "Jia You" or, "Add Oil," for all you Englishy people.
some of the marathon crew heading back to the metro after the race! In this group shot, Nate (seated) and Rachel (medal) finished the race! :
Congrats, runner friends!
I'm glad I was able to be a part of the event with my friends. Marathons will always be special to me. I can't help but have memories of the 5 halfs and 21 miler that I've done in the past. I like that I can look at the people plodding through, see their faces, and think, "I know that feeling."
On Sunday the feeling for me wasn't of physical accomplishment or personal achievement like most of the runners, it was instead a feeling of aching for family, who I always think are amongst the throngs of runners.
But I will see them soon.
More to come in the morning...
walk slow. xoxo.