The Four "F"s
According to the architectural city boat tour guide, there are four stars on the Chicago flag, each of which represents an important event in Chicago history. 1) The building of Fort Dearborn (Which was built to fight Native Americans, and was burned down later by Native Americans), 2.) The Chicago Fire of 1871 (Which was wrongly blamed on a cow.), 3.) Worlds Fair 1893, 4.) Worlds Fair 1933.
Sears, ahem, Willis Tower
When I was growing up in Illinois, the Sears Tower was the tallest building in the world. The now Willis Tower is only the 11th tallest building in the world, and I can never seem to remember it's new name. The only thing I can think of is, "What you talkin' about Willis?" but my guess is that Gary Coleman has nothing to do with the renaming of this landmark.
In The Hipster Hood
Chicago has really awesome neighborhoods that need to be further explored. Wicker Park was lovely, and I hear Logan Square is where you can hang out with some hipsters. I thought hipsters were a San Francisco phenomenon, but I guess I was mistaken. Hipsters are everywhere, and they are still younger and cooler than me (apparently).
The night before the race, my running buddy and I ate at an Italian restaurant in Wicker Park for the pre-race carbo-load. We both ordered a polenta, which was poured onto a marble slab to harden, before it was smothered in yummy sauce. My sauce of choice - venison bolognese. That's right. When in the Midwest, eat something Midwestern! Bambi's mother was delicious. (Sorry veg friends.)
Going The (Extra) Mile
I forgot my Garmin for the race, and ended up using the Nike Running App on my iPhone. The app calculated my run to be 27.3 miles. Yes, almost a whole additional mile. Now, these apps are not perfect. I've known people who went for a little swim and their device recorded their swim to be 3x around the earth, but I have a feeling I could have cut a few more corners and saved myself a good 8 minutes. Also, it would be nice to know my mile splits, but it doesn't calculate those, so all I know is my best mile was 7:16 (wow!), and my slowest 10:14 (ouch!). I think I can guess which miles those were...
Chicago Playlist Regrets
My Chicago music mix was fine, but honestly I felt like I missed out on some of the experience. The great thing about this big city race is the excitement of the fans along the race course. It was/could have been more amazing. So many people cheering! I don't think I'll use my iPod again for a race.
Chicago Is More Gay Than San Francisco
I've now run races through Castro and Boystown (the gay neighborhoods of San Francisco and Chicago), and it is clear - Chicago totally out-gayed San Francisco. Their aid station was the best the best one on the course; it was themed "marriage" and they had a barrage of people in wedding attire, drag cheerleaders, and gay members of the marine corp performing a rifle routine. I expect better of you next time, San Francisco!
"Don't pants the poop!"
"Don't poop (out)!"
"You run better than our Government"
"Hey Kenyan, you only beat my husband, because I let you." (Yep, doubt it.)
"The Kenyans are already drinking beer." (I doubt they drink much beer, which may be part of the reason they run so fast.)
"Smile if you aren't wearing any underwear." (Ok, it was funny at mile 1, but not so much the 10th time at mile 21.)
She Don't Use Jelly
I've never seen so much Vaseline on a race course. Granted, I've only run one other marathon. But, at the aid station you could readily get some lubricant as easily as a cup of Gatorade. These kind souls of volunteers held out cardboard with slabs, or sticks with gobs of Vaseline so it was easily accessible for those who "felt the burn" in those last 10 miles. Kind of gross. I was glad to be well lubricated. Oh, I'm sorry. TMI?
Negative Self Talk, Then Euphoria
At mile 22 I pretty much wanted to stop. I hated running. I think I started talking to myself out loud, berating myself, "How could you do this? You are not ready!" I probably had about 30 minutes of negative self talk after the race, and I almost passed out while waiting in the ridonkulously long gear check line. A nice guy helped me to put some ice on my neck, and the feeling passed. The next morning, although sore, I was like, "So, when is the next race?"
Post-Race Beer, etc.
They serve beer in the finishing shoot, like, right after you finish. The last thing I wanted 5 minutes after crossing the finish line was a beer. Maybe 45 minutes later. Also, they call the after-party the 27th Mile Post-Race Party for a reason. We must have walked a mile to Buckingham Fountain. So tired. (No, this is not the reason for the extra mile on the running app.)
I beat my marathon best by 10 minutes and 17 seconds.
8,544th place out of 40,230 runners? I'll take it.
For the first time in my running history, I may be losing a toe nail. Although ugly, I feel this is somewhat a badge of honor. Thank goodness it's close-toe shoe season.
Santa Clara in Chicago
I saw two people from my days at Santa Clara University. First, Chad Eschman, soon-to-be-famous playwright who just had a show performed on Broadway. Also, John Sabine, who happened to be performing in the Second City Show I was watching! Blast from the past.
Lincoln Park = Late
My running buddy and I traveled way out to Lincoln Park for brunch, and waited in line before devouring (my) chicken and waffle and (running buddy's) flight of french toast. This place was worth it. I missed my flight too. Yep, missed my flight for chicken and waffles. Can't say that has happened before.