A bit late, being my 12th Marathon and all, but last summer I decided that before Chicago Marathon in 2018 I was going to try out something new; actually exercising before the race. And for about 2 months, that plan worked fine and I was starting to dream of a decent time (or at least beat the ones on crutches this time..). Then in November, just I was completing a fairly good 10K, my good old vertigo (caused by Meniere’s disease, but which had been more or less dormant for a year) and I just fell over and never really got on my feet before July this year. With up to 10 vertigo attacks per week, I had more than enough with trying to function at work, and just the thought of Chicago made me ill. I had more or less given up on the Whole thing when I, in July, the attacks stopped and suddenly I was able to step on the treadmill again for other than a slow walk. Then, with just a couple of months to prepare + the fact that I suck as a runner from before, my new goal was just to complete within the time limit, so that I could collect the big, fat Abbott Six Star Finisher’s medal in Tokyo in March.
With no really long runs in the bag, I went over the Atlantic Ocean with a hope of my usual strategy would work yet again (namely yelling at my feet to keep them moving…). In the days before the race, the weather forecast showed everything from 5 degrees (C) and heavy rain to 28 degrees (C) and sun. We ended up with light rain in the beginning, lots of rain in the middle and cloudy and windy in the end (and there we might have the reason for the friction burns all over my body). Even if you don’t have any other goal than completing, you still get this excited feeling at the starting line, waiting a long with 40.000 others; from record holders like Mo Farah to crappy woggers like myself.. The moment was a bit ruined, though, by the runner next to me blowing lots of sigarette smoke my way.
With a GPS all crazy due to the sky-scrapers I had to keep track of time every 5 km, since I am not that fluent in units of measure other than meters. I passed 21,1 km according to plan, but soon after my whole body started to shut down, limb by limb. Soon I had the posture and walk of a zombie (from the golden oldies that is, not like one of the really fast ones from movies like World War Z). My whole body was aching and I was starting to loose sensation in my feet, so in a desperate attempt of keeping my brain from ordering my body to call it a day and crawl to the nearest taxi, I started to take pictures, look at the scenery and even chat with some anti-Trump protesters with signs along the route. When I was starting to close in on the finishing line, runners en masse were lying around in the street or on gurneys surrounded by medical personnel. A bit demotivating of course, but at least it was not me. I had to stretch every 500m for a while, but at least I was still able to keep moving, although in the pase of a slug. 2 km from the finishing line, I suddently got a second win (I always get very motivated at the end) and managed to jog the rest of the way.
In the beginning of the race there were all sorts of religious signs (like VERY religious) I have never seen in any other country before. Too bad I could not found some at the end of the race, when I was taking pictures. I did, however, notice a billboard of a bonafide ambulance Chaser (NB! never trust a guy with playmo hair and a slick smile).
Finally I reach the finishing line, and soon after I got tears in my eyes. Not because of the medal (though it certainly deserved some tears), but due to the fact I had to walk all the way back to the hotel and I didn’t quite know how to do that… Well, I made it back and went for a hot shower. NOT a delightful experience… Did I mentioned that I had gotten some friction burns?
After the painful shower, I got 15 minutes of rest before me and the rest of the gang were meeting up at a bar for celebration. Great evening, but as always, it ended early…
Summa sumarum: mission accomplished 🙂
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