Whenever you do a race, have a goal. Any goal is fine. For example, finishing in a certain time, joggling a set distance, breaking the world marathon joggling record or juggling the whole way without a drop are great examples. Goals help you make sense of your feelings after the race. In this year’s Chicago Marathon, my goals changed with the mile markers.
The 30th Chicago Marathon Start
The bright green glow of hh:h was the first thing I saw that morning. Adjusting my head revealed the time, 4:44. Perfect. As I rolled out of bed, the morning pains in my thighs, calves, knees and abdomen reminded me I’m a runner…an old runner. Now, running hurts even when not running.
I shuffled my feet across the floor to minimize the pain. Neatly laid out in the bathroom was the following:
toothpaste & brush
DePaul baseball cap,
non-Spandex running shorts,
special running underwear,
Red running shirt,
3 yellow Gballz.
I geared up, brewed & drank some black Lipton Tea, blogged a bit and waited for my ride. At the palindromic 5:45 I was off with the Brewmaster and his girlfriend. She dropped us off at the el and we rode into the heart of the city. I felt good, more relaxed than ever. The morning leg pains already subsided and I was ready to go. The idea of a Boston Qualifier and PR flashed in my mind. Maybe I should go for it.
We got off the train at 6:30. As we ascended to the top of the stairs a warm breeze from the Windy City greeted us. It was hot and the sun wasn’t even out yet. No Boston Qualifier today.
Juggling the Chicago Marathon
Grant Park was a sea of people. Thousands of runners were milling about waiting for their chance to put 26.2 miles on their legs. As I pushed forward to my starting area, I saw red bean bags flying above the crowd. I knew it must be fellow joggler, Barry Goldmeier. This guy has some impressive juggling skills. He’s able to twist his body in a pretzel and throw the bags in a perfect cascade pattern. I wish I had more time with him to learn a few new moves. Wow! He was joggling the race with 5 bean bags. My 3 yellow Gballz momentarily shriveled in my hands.
I lined up in corral B at 7:40 and waited. John Kelly met me there. We exchanged complaints and concerns about the hot weather.
“Guess I won’t get a PR today.”
“I’m just hoping I finish!”
The sun came out making it feel 10 degrees hotter. It was 72 degrees at the start. My goal revised again to 3:40.
The horn sounded and the crowd of runners trotted forward. People were moving much slower than usual. In most marathons the runners behind you literally push you to get to the start line quicker. Not this year. The heat was already affecting the race.