Monday, October 10, 2011

Reliving the Chicago Marathon

One year ago the date was 10/10/10 -- not only an exciting day for number nerds but also the date of last year's Chicago Marathon.

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I did not run the marathon. No sir.  The previous year Brian and I spent the summer training together for the Detroit Marathon, and while I really enjoyed the experience -- especially the training part -- I still needed some emotional and physical distance from 26.2. So instead I played the part of spectator and fan club for Brian, who ran the Chicago Marathon last year.

While Brian woke up at about 4:45 to eat breakfast and make his way to the start of the race, I rose a couple hours later, and, early morning start aside, was never so happy with my decision not to run. Because, at 7am, the temperature was already in the high 60s.

It had been a hot summer, and in the days leading up to the race, people were concerned about a potential repeat of the 2007 Chicago Marathon, which was partially shut down after three and a half hours because the temperature had reached 88 degrees. Although the temperature in 2010 never reached this level, it got pretty close, topping out at 84 degrees.

I headed out the door on the early side to watch the race, which winds its way through our old neighborhood, Lakeview. Lots of pride in Lakeview.

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The wheelchair start began at 7:20 in the morning, so these athletes came through first.

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They were closely followed by the elite men.

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Soon after, the elite women flew by.

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And then there was this.

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Runners -- and Eifel Towers -- left behind a wake of Gatorade cups.



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Somehow, I missed Brian at this stretch in the race. (Brian, I swear I was there. Clearly, you were just too fast for my eyes). So I packed up my camera and headed south to Grant Park, where the race ended.

At this point in the day -- late morning -- it had only gotten hotter and sunnier. Many of the runners looked miserable as they ran the last but painful home stretch to the finish. I finally spied Brian in a pack but could not snap a photo quickly enough (didn't I tell you he is lightning fast?). I finally found him about a half hour later at the Grant Park fountain, where we took a classic Chicago photo.

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He confirmed what I assumed -- the race was pretty painful in the horrible heat. And he wants a rematch in better weather.

It does not look like there are any marathons in our immediate future, though. We missed the Kathmandu Marathon at the end of September, but we weren't so sad about this, as we have heard that there are no aid stations and they do not close all the roads. (What?! Have you seen the traffic in this city?).

For now, we are happy with the marathon treks we get to do instead.

P.S. Congrats to our dear friend K, a 2011 Chicago Marathon runner!

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