Checking in with Cheri Devlin: A Post-MuckFest Chicago Recap
Earlier this year, we talked with Cheri Devlin, who will be participating in EVERY (yes, that’s right – every single one!) MuckFest in 2019! When we first met Cheri, it seemed like a crazy goal…but now she only has one MuckFest left to go!
Cheri is running in honor of her father, Mike, who passed away from progressive multiple sclerosis in 2018. Her father was an avid runner who did half marathons, and he lived vicariously through Cheri’s own activities and runs when the disease confined him to a wheelchair. Now, she continues to run, and get muddy, in his memory.
Cheri has now Mucked with us in four different cities across the country, and she has one final weekend ahead of her in Denver. Before she gets muddy with us one last time, we checked in with her about her experiences at the sunny MuckFest Chicago…
My team in Chicago was a mighty three-strong – all visiting from the West Coast. We decided to go the Airbnb route and rented a quaint guest house right on Lake Michigan. I was blessed to be joined by one of my best friends, Ana, and my amazing colleague and friend who has mucked with me before, Siobhan. It was the first time Ana and Siobhan had met, but after a quick ice breaker, laughing at stories from our earlier years, it was an easy decision to stay in and make dinner to continue to catch up on family, work and life. It was just what I needed on a Friday night coming off a very busy week!
Then suddenly, race day was here, and it was time to suit up in our Team (M)ike (S)mith gear. Siobhan made us a killer pre-race breakfast and we were ready to hit the road. The race location was close to where we were staying, so we had more than enough time to snap a few pre-race pics, check in our gear and play in the starting line mud. We finished strong and while I thought I did a decent job of cleaning off, who knew I’d unintentionally pose for the best #MicrosoftLife pic of the season!
Chicago drew another awesome crowd and brought us beautiful weather – a perfect day to play in the mud! After our usual post-race photo ops and celebration brewski, we protected the rental car seats with our towels and headed back to the house. Lucky for us, the lake house was literally steps from the lake and the perfect post-race cleaning destination! We went directly from the car to the lake and rinsed off in the most relaxing, warm-like-Maui-water – helping to prevent any mud messes in our rental!
The course brought its usual laughs and deep breathes, but thankfully O I broke the trend of lost sunglasses this race! Ana, who was a first time Mucker, kicked butt and seemed to enjoy the Muck, which had the thickest mud of all the races this year. The mud consistency was more like clay, so I’m sooooo glad I brought my bright orange duct tape to secure our shoes! I can’t believe MuckFest Denver is just a few days away. It feels like just yesterday that I looked over at my husband without really thinking about the how, and said, “I’m going to run all 5 MuckFest races this year to celebrate Dad!”
And I’m proud to report that not only is MuckFest Denver going to be an incredible finish, but that my Nike’s will make it there with me! And absent any cold feet, post-race, I plan to add my running shoes to the donation pile and leave Denver in flip flops!
This year and this tribute to Dad has given me the opportunity to mourn in a way that’s been healing and joyous at the same time. While the mourning process doesn’t seem to ever be completely done, one of the most invaluable benefits of this five-month journey has been all the laughs and memories made with the family and friends who joined me at each race. Priceless life experiences that would have otherwise never happened – thank you pops!
This Saturday is not only the finale to my MuckFest tour, it’s also my 16-year wedding anniversary! What a gift it will be to have my husband and oldest son running with Siobhan and me, and also have my youngest two children cheering us along the sidelines with our local friends!
This will be the first anniversary without my dad alive to congratulate my husband and I for making it to the next year. Ironically, the number sixteen represents far more than the years of marriage I’ll be celebrating this weekend. Sixteen is an eternal staple in my relationship with dad, so it feels as though celebrating 16-years of marriage on Saturday is also representative of Dad being there with me. Certainly not a coincidence!
We are so honored to have Cheri and her family Mucking with us one more time in 2019. We’re also so excited for our weekend ahead in Denver! If you want to send Cheri, or any Denver Muckers, a message of encouragement, comment and share below!