I gazed at the green light at the end of my cap.”I don’t think you’re going to need that”, she says smirking then adds seriously, “Just be careful. You’re nuts.”
“I really prefer the term…eccentric.”
Of course, joggling is a bit quirky. And running for over 4 hours just for fun? Well, that might seem a little crazy to most people.
But I’m a joggler. And to realize my dream of setting the World Record for Joggling a 50 mile ultra marathon, this is what must be done.
After eating a bowl of Quaker Oats Oat Meal and a plain bagel, I strapped on my heart monitor, watch, running pocket, and iPod and was off. It was 9:44 am.
The run began easy enough. I joggled east on the sidewalks of North Avenue then South onto Western Avenue. Concrete may not be great for your legs but it’s safer than running in the street. Dark clouds drizzled water making the 69 F (21 C) temperature seem slightly cold. The green light reflected on my yellow joggling Gballz creating a psychedelic, glowing orb in my line of vision with each toss. The uncatchable orbs faded to juggling bags as they landed in my hands.
By 10:15, sun broke through the clouds. With it came blue sky and rising temperatures. The green light’s effect abated. I turned right on Ogden Avenue (the old Route 66) and realized my thirst. But that would have to wait. I didn’t want to drink or eat until joggling at least 10 miles. There’s no good reason for this, I just didn’t want to stop. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to drink while joggling.
The Thirsty Stop
Around 11 am I stopped in an Amoco station and got a 32oz bottle of purple Gatorade. It’s strange that you never buy Gatorade by flavor, always by color. I gulped it down while walking back to where I stopped joggling. According to World Record Joggling Rules you can’t advance without juggling.
I resumed joggling down Ogden but was thirsty again within half an hour. Hopefully, the Lakefront 50 miler will have more frequent water stops. I saw a 7-Eleven about a quarter mile away and decided to stop again. Unfortunately, before I could cross railroad tracks on the street, a freight train stopped me.
“Curse that Ogden and his stupid love of freight trains!”
I stopped running and juggling and took the opportunity to stretch. I should really stretch more.
I got a blue Gatorade this time and drank it down. The sweetness made me feel sick. Or maybe that was the 2 and a half hours of joggling. The run had gone great thus far but I felt a little sad. I just learned that one of my favorite skeptical rogues on The Skeptics Guide to the Universe had died. His name was Perry and he was 44. Weird.
After this break, I joggled south along La Grange road. There were a couple of families who smiled as they passed. This cheered me up and inspired a few tricks. I threw a joggling ball high over a tree branch, winked at a little girl watching, and caught it in stride. I tried the trick on a higher branch but I missed and had my first drop of the run. Misses always make jugglers look foolish.
Joggling To the Finish
Around noon, I turned right on Plainfield road. More than half the trip was complete and I felt strong. I finished listening to the Killer Innovation podcast and moved on to Lip gloss and Laptops. A half hour of two women chatting about cosmetics was all I could handle so I flipped to The Dip. It was all about being the best in the world and knowing when you should quit”. Very inspirational.
A 100 Grand candy bar and two bottles of water got me through the final 90 minutes of the run. I turned south and joggled along Route 83. There were no sidewalks so I had to joggle next to the road. While the roadside shoulder was at least 4 feet wide, it made me nervous when the cars zipped by. Fortunately, I rarely drop when I joggle. Incidentally, I don’t recommend roadside joggling for any of you budding jogglers out there. Stick to the sidewalks and running paths.
When I passed Cog Hill golf course, I was less than a mile away. I knew I would make it and in a pretty good time. Grasshoppers jumped alongside me and created a buzzing that sounded like applause. It was just like the end of a marathon.
In my final turn, I saw my sister’s house. My legs hurt but the finish line inspired a 100 meter sprint. When I stopped I looked at my watch…4:34:21. This pencils out to a 9:26 pace. A little slower than I’d hoped but not bad considering the 15 minutes lost to the store stops and train.
As I took off my hat and walked up to my sister’s door, I saw the green light reflecting in her window. I thought of Gatsby and the green light that burned at the end of the East Egg pier.
His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.
Let’s hope mine isn’t behind me.