Fifteen hours from right now folks will take off from the starting line in Chicago to embark on a 26.2 miles adventure through the ups and downs of the glorious downtown metropolis!!!
I won't be joining them, but if you are...good luck! And if you know someone who is, make sure you registered for the runner tracking available on the site. That way, you can sit within the safe confines of your warm and toasty home and follow your runner in spirit.
I'm not really sure how I feel about this...the idea of living vicariously through others who have what it takes to accomplish what I want to take on. Not that I haven't finished a marathon. I have. Barely. But I have. A few years back I completed the Chicago Marathon. I had a blast. It was easy running. I finished with a gentleman who was celebrating his 80th birthday. (Talk about agelessness! WOW!) We walked over to the beer table and toasted each other. Later that night, I wore heels. So my body told me I could have pushed it farther and faster than the 5 hours it took me to finish. But the fact is, I had a blast. I didn't puke. I didn't cry. I didn't feel like I wanted to die. (Truth be told, what I did do was stop at a Starbucks. Seriously. I've told people this before but the fact is that the long line of porta-potties scared me. Then, as I approached the stall, the interior of the joint scared me even more. I looked around and consulted with my pal Rachel and we decided to take the plunge and try running into the Starbucks on the corner. Not to endorse the great coffee whore too much at this point, but on that day, at that moment, Starbucks was my saving grace.)
The fact remains to this day that I am a marathon finisher. And it wasn't so much of the journey as it was the result that people focus on when they find out I have indeed finished a marathon. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I feel like a phony bologney because I know that if I tried a little harder, trained a little more tougher and really committed to the idea of running hard I could have finished in a more respectable time. Instead, I'm simply satisfied to have finished. And to me, it was the journey. The spectators were amazing. They felt like fans. I felt like a superstar. I fed off their encouragement and energy and delivered to them one more person in a sea of more than 30,000 that would promise to hold this experience close to my heart for the rest of my days. I ran 26.2 miles on my own two feet with the support of a personal cheering section that seemed to follow me for the entire journey. If more things were like that in life, just imagine how wonderful it would be.
I do hope someday to accomplish another 26.2 miles. And I don't even care if it takes more than 5 hours. I just want to have fun.
To all the Chicago Marathoners who are taking it easy today because you will be running your heart out tomorrow, good luck! To all the other folks - quite possibly the majority of the runners - have fun and have a beer or two for me at the finish line!