Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pink Floyd-Welcome My Sons...To The MACHINE!

My Marathon Training Program Bot emailed me today telling me that although I'm winding down my preparations for the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, that I shouldn't just want to pull the plug on my training. At this point, no workout I do is going to make me faster or fitter than I already am. The purpose of today's workout is to maintain the status quo. I'm an aerobic machine right now, and I want to keep it that way. My body is amazing at altering itself -- just take a look at the shape I'm in-but it can also go in the other direction. If my body starts to sense that I don't need to be so fit, I'll start to lose fitness. So today is a maintenance workout: I did a 1.25 mile warmup at a relaxed pace (9:12 per mile) and build to 8:55 per mile by the end. Then I went right into a 1.5-mile Tempo Run at marathon goal pace (12:24-12:51, which is 8:16-8:34 per mile) followed by a half-mile at a light jog. Repeat that Tempo section, but I worked on feeling a bit more comfortable and without a watch for feedback (12:24 - 12:51 --> 8:16-8:34 per mile). I concluded my run with an easy 1.25 mile cooldown (9:12 per mile).
I finished up with a 9 minute exact pace over 6 miles.
Came home, and started uploading videos to YouTube, especially for Karen and my Dad.  I will be sending links, but probably not in the morning, as they will be uploading overnight.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Is there not one course that's actually 26.2?

I defied Chicago, now I will hope to defy New York.  And that's to prove to me that their course is only 26.21 miles and not something more. 

I worked on this masterpiece of a course last night, and the best I come up with is 26.41 miles.
To qualify for Boston means then that I would have to do that distance at a pace of 7:47 per mile.
If it takes me 26.5 miles, like it did in 2009, then my pace has to be 7:45.  And if it's 26.6 miles, like I did last year, then my pace will need to be 7:43.  In other words, my pace has to speeden up by 2 seconds for every tenth of a mile longer than the prescribed marathon distance.  Oy!

Feeling a little tired, and not wanting to go out in the damp weather at night, I decided to run in the treadmill at home. 

I did 5 miles, without breaking much of a sweat.  Funny thing was that on the wall directly in front of my line of sight was a nail to hang something.  I paused the treadmill, and got my first BIG photo in running.  My finish line at the 1984 Marathon, and I hung it up directly in front of me.  But that wasn't all.  I took my iPhone, went to You Tube, and played the Video Course of the NYC Marathon (about 7 minutes long).  I seated the iPhone safely on top of the wide picture frame, and watched as the course felt like it went under my feet over and over again.  It was great!

Monday, October 22, 2012

To Run or Not To Run....What a Stupid Question!

Okay I saw that on a t-shirt off a post from my friend, Bonnie Harper.

Truth is, even when I decide not to run, I want to run.  I'm obsessed with running.  Nothing, I feel goes right, unless I get a run in.  It's finally part of my bloodstream, and it's hard to get rid of it.  And I don't want to get rid of it either.  Perhaps, it's the enablement mechanisms that I have at my disposal (Karen, Dolly, good running equipment, clothes), or perhaps it's my ability to metabolise all of the physical crap (muscle, skeletal, lactic acid, etc.) so quickly this year, that I haven't been able to do in past years.

How else can you explain this record year that I am having?  7 PRs (5 consecutive), 2 dozen course records, and now I have noticed that I am up to 1347.8 miles this year.  In 2007, I ran a total of 1419 miles.  That was my 3rd highest total ever.  So now I'm only 72 miles from achieving that goal and I believe that I may accomplish that goal not long after running my 11th NYC Marathon.

The record? 1529.4 miles, which was accomplished in 2008, when I was a free bird (living on my own) for the second half of the year.  At this pace, I look well poised to destroying (1667 miles) that record, but since I plan some needed downtime after the Marathon and the Port Washington Turkey Trot, it will be closer than imagined.  We'll see.

So do I or don't I?  Run...that is.....  Karen is set to run tonight, but I may hit the treadmill at home. 

Thirteen more days till I take on Goliath in Gotham.  Let's Go!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Family Day (finally)

One of the tough things about traveling and running, is that neither is too kind to your family & children.  Fortunately, Karen is very sympathetic to my insanity, for she too is equally 'insane'.

We're both running the NYC this year. 3rd time in 4 years to be exact.  Now, that the tapering has begun, and am back from business travel, I cherished my day with the twinkies, Matthew and Steffie too.

I did not run, but rather ran, after my twins all day long in the house.  Feels great to be dad, I can't deny it.  Five kids.  You'd think I'd be done after three, but it's a great feeling.  Thank God however, that I'm physically in great shape though, because I can't see how anyone my age (47) can handle raising 15 month old twins.  It's like being the best cornerback in football, but splitting yourself in two, to cover two running children (and usually in opposite directions).

14 days to go till I meet up again with the Goliath of Gotham!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Practice on 'Hallowed Battle' Grounds...

First day back from Denver...and with all the days in which I had to get up at 5am to head into work for Video Conferences (for ex), would you think that I would have slept late today?
I get up at 5am.
I get dressed in my red and black 'getup'.
I leave and drive to Astoria.
And I meet fellow blogger Carrie Meconis  ( to do a long run.
Specifically, the last 12 miles of the NYC Marathon!
Of course, I love to be dramatic.  So maybe you were expecting a little more from the title.  But the NYC Marathon course IS hallowed, and this IS where I've done battle TEN times, and each and every year since 2005.  Wow.  What a journey.  I'm just grateful that at 47, I'm as strong as ever.  God bless.
Carrie and I coordinated parking.  She got there first, and phoned me to tell me that there were many available spots on 39th Street, just left off of Crescent Avenue.  I found a spot right away, and it was perfect, as we were only 6 blocks from the bridge pedestrian entrance, and only 3 from where the yellow N & R trains stopped.  This was particularly useful because these would be the trains we'd needed to come back from 59th and 5th.
Nixon (John) was supposed to meet us, to fill out the trio.  We waited and sent a few message, but after awhile, we figured to go and perhaps catch up with him later.  Later on we found out that he had some late night visitors.  All good, as far as I'm concerned.  Hopefully, he rested.  When a person does a marathon for the first time, as all of us had at one point or another, it is easy to overtrain.  I think Nixon is definitely ready, and he's going to do just great.  Just some smart training for the next two weeks, and good self-confidence.  That's probably all he needs to practice now.   As for me, and not to trivialize this, but it's almost as much about the little things now, as the big ones.  I didn't bring my sunglasses to run with me today, oops.  And wore two running belts by accident, also oops, lol.  But my armwarmers & CEP sock/calf compressors were okay.  This, as well as the rest of my getup was on hand to get a dry run for NY. 
Now as for the run...I will admit that I've done this practice version of the run from the Manhattan side of the bridge only.  And, most of the clubs that do these kinds of runs, start on the Manhattan side as well.  However, I thank Carrie for having us start in Queens.  When you think about it, starting in Manhattan, makes no sense.  With a bridge as challenging as the Queensboro (59th Street), wouldn't you want to practice on it.  
Most people begin to 'konk' as they cross this bridge.  It is therefore, not a place, where you'd want your eyes to wander around much either.  Carrie and I both agreed that seeing runners in pain, is not good for one's psyche.  Once we take notice of that, it can impact or question our own abilities...especially if we're slightly tired and open to suggestion.
I will say that with the exception of having to stay to my far right at times, due to many "Fred Runners" running into Queens, I was pleasantly surprised with the way I handled the bridge.  I think this may have been the direct result of the training I did in Colorado.  Just imagine what I could achieve, if I had been out there even longer!
As we came off the bridge onto 60th street, we saw a lot of people gathered between there and 1st Avenue.  Apparently, a shoe store was sponsoring a "10 last miles of the NYC Marathon" as well.   Apparently, though this group, which is sponsored by a shoe store, charges money for this run.  I was like, 'What the heck? This isn't a race!'  Who needs to spend money to run, and what do you get for your ten dollars?  A cup of water and a bagel?  Gimme a break!
Actually some of the other clubs do this run as well.  Hellgate Road Runners will be doing this run as well tomorrow, and Carrie mentioned something about Prospect Park Track Club and some other clubs also doing the same run the following week too.  
We headed north on 1st Avenue, and before long, we were in the Upper East Side.  As I past 86th Street, I remembered the little shuttle bus that took I used to take to and fro my old apartment.  And then as we ran by the apartment, I snapped some shots up...

333 E. 102nd St. (corner of 1st Avenue)
Soon enough we were met up by some of the orange-shirted members from "Fred's Team".  This had to be their elite group, because I remembered them coming east off the 59th Street bridge into Queens, the opposite direction of us, and now these small group of men, were passing us in SpaHa. It was a good distraction, from the open containers of garbage, that seemed to be everywhere in this area. Yuck.  One reason why I'm glad I left NYC!
Of course, White Castle's is still here across the street from where Karen & I used to live.  Home of the belly-bomber!

Well, we made it into the Bronx, but had a nice discovery, for as we approached the Willis Avenue bridge, we noticed that the pedestrian walkway was still open.  Nice!  I hate stairs!!!
The Bronx is always a confusing place.  And despite the fact, that I've done this race 10 times now (most of any race, incredibly), I still can't find my way out of my next-to-least favorite borough (Staten Island, #1 - surprised, ehh?).  Part of the reason stems from the fact that in a marathon, one has thousands of runners to follow.  You don't need to worry about where to go at all.  Carrie notes that we need to make a right onto Alexander Avenue, to meet up with where we couldn't originally go due to the lack of pedestrian walk on the other side of the bridge, near the entrance to 87.
Seeing the next bridge, or the signal that we were leaving the Bronx, felt great.  The homestretch, as I would put it.  Carrie calls me a camel by now and rightfully so, because I'm not even complaining for water. 
We make a few turns around Marcus Garvey park, and before long we're on 5th Avenue heading south.  If running the long slow climb down 5th isn't enough, then we added even more by running on the sidewalk.  And if you know anything about the sidewalk on 5th Avenue and on the Central Park side, you will know that it's filled with cobblestones, uneven surface and just no fun.
5th Avenue has two sets of long climbs, one that ends at about 100th street, and the next that ends when we enter the park, at 90th.   I was now getting thirsty, and was looking forward to that big waterfountain just as we head in.  Except there was no water fountain there was being repaired and was fenced off.  Ugh!
We crossed CP Drive East and found another fountain near the Fred Lebow statue, and drank.  From there we continued running south.  I couldn't get over how many people were still running counter-clockwise, however.  I felt like they many would have run into us if we hadn't gotten out of their way.
As we were approaching the exit to the park near Central Park South, we run past a bunch of (what seemed to be Nike) runners.  There was Paulene Tang running along with them.  Not only did she not even say hello, but she definitely took note of us.  No problem.  It's just a shame that people unfriend others for absolutely zero reason.  I guess I'm just having a hard time when people unfriend you from a social media vehicle, like Facebook, for absolutely NO reason whatsoever.
We were now running along Central Park South.  The cobblestones, and obstacles of people were enough to make Mile 10 a very challenging mile, indeed.  Do you think that made us go slow?
Take a look at the splits below....
First half would be Miles 1 thru 6 and a quarter:  By my estimation that would be timed out at 56:47
And the second half?   56:43.   Talk about consistency!  Awesome!!!
In addition to this, we also actually managed to pull off a negative split!  Carrie and I were zooming along, and we when we were about to re-enter the park at Central Park West, I yelled out "Ding Ding Ding!" to signify the final 'bell' lap.  However, did it look like we look tired?
Well... Carrie didn't.  I did, but I wasn't tired.  It's just that it's not easy to hold the camera, point it at myself and someone else, and try to snap a focused picture with an old iPhone 4 (ancient...imagine that, lol) ...and do all of that while running. 
The grandstands you see in the background was the second sign that the NYC Marathon is fastly approaching, as we were already about 50 yards from the "finish".  BTW, I hate this picture of myself, but as a photojournalist, I must report all aspects of my run, lol.
After we finished, and I grabbed water (lol, which might have been from the club that was charging for it back on 60th and 1st), and we continued to run after a short break.  This time it would be in counter-clockwise fashion back to 59th & 5th.  In search of water, gatorade, and the subway, to head back to Astoria.
All in all, we did 12.56 miles.  This was a good run for me.  The longest one since my Chicago Marathon.  I really did have something to prove this time and it was to make sure that I was not sore afterwards.  I'm happy to report that I feel good again.  And I think I'm ready to tackle Goliath #2 in 15 days.
I missed running with Karen, but Carrie kept up, and we wound up chatting so much, that I never even had to use my nano.  Running 12.56 miles without music?  That's like almost a first for me!
Lastly, we got off our train, and walked to our cars.  Of course, not without incident.  There's always gotta be a crazy loon walking the streets and yelling out.  As we walked by this guy, he started yelling for a short while.  I was already in 'shield up' mode, while Carrie had said she had her pepper spray ready.  I didn't want any trouble, but I would have had no trouble giving this bro a case of whoopass, if needed (though if forced, would have preferred a hazmat suit to do it in...the dude looked dirty...and he stunk!)
Last note.  If you are interested, Carrie is also a noted blogger herself.  You can read her own running and other 'escapades', by going to
Hasta La Night Before Pasta, everybody!  :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Heading back home.

This artwork I put together signifies the entrance into Brooklyn off the Verrazano's. Warriors, come out to plaaaeeay!

Well, we're down to 16 days before the NYC Marathon. Zero butterflies.  In fact, I even said yes to Karen to doing a dinner Friday night at the NYAC.  Now we just need a sitter.

In a few short hours, I will be leaving the Mile High (and hence the "5280" on my previous post) city of Denver and heading back east, where the skies are full of moisture. 

Denver was a very pretty city with very pretty and down to Earth people.  Should come out here again some day....but bring my wife with me if I can the next time.

I will not be running today, Friday, as I will be flying.  Off day, and will run on Saturday about 12-14 miles.  Will be skipping the Wounded Warrier race in Babylon, because there is no way that I can bounce all around, get Matt & Steffie, and make it back in time for the babies Halloween party.

I can't wait to be back home.  I really miss my wife and kids.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

5280 and DONE

After a long week standing in for my co-worker that was on vacation, my tour of duty was finally over.  Not before I went out however during lunch and did another double, adding another 7+ miles to my week's total which stands now at 18.

Planning on running with some members of the club Saturday morning.  We will do the last 12 miles of the run.  Have to get the logistics together for meeting up, where to park, do i/don't i take a subway to start, etc. etc. etc.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

R&R In Mile High

Rather than pushing myself today, I decided to give myself a break and not do anything except perhaps to soak in a jacuzzi.  Ahhhh.  Good for the sore legs!

Loving this dry air.  18% humidity only.  No rain and all sun. My kind of climate for sure.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Conquest of Inverness

What does one do when they feel beat up from something they did? 
Do it again.
I ran the Inverness again.  This time not once but twice around.  Felt great.
The clouds helped.  In a desert like environment, when clouds are present, the temperature drops quickly.
And yes.  Unbelievable dry as you can see.  I love dry weather more than you can imagine.

I did 7 miles this time around in 1:03
Not bad.  That's about a 9 minute pace.  On hills too.
The 5200 foot elevation was never an issue, and now I'm getting at these hills pretty good.  Will go for it tomorrow.... a trifecta, if you will.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Challenge Of Inverness

During my first day at work, I decided to attack the rareified air of Colorado immediately.  And so, without wasting any time, I took a short time during lunch to do 1 loop of Inverness East & West.  3.35 miles in total.
Interesting story about this company Jeppesen. They were the first to make aeronautical charts for pilots to navigate in flight.

Mostly a corporate environment, there was a sign that was very inspiring, and it was of a company called...

Inspiring.  But in the meantime, I was perspiring.  It was hot.  76 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. 

The hills were vaporizing me as well.  In the end I only did 1 loop and about 3.5 miles.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The South Platte River Trail

So here I am in Denver.  Where the air is dry, and the land is high.  And no that didn't come from a verse or a book or a verse, it came from me the amateur cook.  Hey, I can't rhyme too well, but I am a pretty good cook actually.

Great pic I took of this local fly fishing in the S. Platte River.
Rather than doing a long run, or even a short run, I decided to give my tender legs a rest.  The battering they took from the Chicago Marathon, was such, that it took longer than normal to recover.  My quads were still sore from running on the track yesterday at the Colorado Athletic Club.

Another great shot of the river.
Nicely manicured trail the entire way!!!
More road.  And all just for cyclists and joggers.  A cardio-lover's dream.

So I went riding along with the guidance of my coworkers to and from Denver.  29 miles in all.  Halfway up there I stopped at Starbucks, and whereas I'm not an avid Starbucks fanatic, I will say that the Passion Tea Lemonade was nice, frosty, and tangy and refreshing.  The berry crumb cake and chocolate grahams weren't bad either!

Starbucks and inside walk thru to REI.
Inside the flagship REI store in the nation ... In Denver!
An full-sized amusement park alongside the bike trail.  Whod'a thunk it?
Sports Authority Field. Home of the Denver Broncos. Note the train tracks at bottom of pic.
The bike trails in Colorado are in a word, breathtaking.  While the nature and beauty of the view is spectacular, the road is a paved, two-way, single laned pathway that led us over bridges east and west of the South Platte River.

There were a lot of low overpasses for which my head cleared by about 5 feet (but it seemed like less).
More streams.
My quads were tight as hell, on the way there, and on the way back I was almost wishing for it to end, especially because we were riding back faster than we did going out.
The changing of the leaves, was very beautiful.
Next up, would be to run around the Inverness loop.  I hear that there are hills.  Great.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Battle Of The Chicago Marathon


And then...

...The Battle in Chicago.

In 2010, I went to Chicago with my  beautiful wife, for what should have been a conquering moment on the asphalt.  To spare the repetition from the race report from then, it was anything but.  The mercury just rose and rose, as my opportunity to set a Boston Qualifying and Personal Best, just dove and dove.
For me, that day was the slap in the face.   The kick in the nuts, my soul, heart, lungs, and the rest of me however, came 5 months later.  And that was when I had accidentally learned that my mother had died.  And she died on the very day that the Chicago Marathon took place, 10-10-10.  But worse was when I learned that her will said that she had no children.  I lost an inheritance of nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to a criminal ex-boyfriend of hers, because I hadn’t the money to afford responsible attorneys.  And everything had been liquidated before they could stop him and his girlfriend. 
There were other horrible events in 2011, and there was the beautiful moment of my twins being born last year.  As you can see where I may be going with all of this, 2011, was not a year for running.
I had vowed that 2012 would be MY year.  So much so, that this blog has had the same banner stating as such, all year long.
The first goal I wanted to achieve was to participate in more races this year than ever before in any other year.  And I did.  By August, I had broken my personal best, and at last count (including today), I’ve thus far participated in 32 events.

The second goal was to set records for the most consecutive days ran, break the 10,000 mile barrier, and finish with the most miles run in one year.  So far, I’ve completed the first 2 feats, and the year isn't over yet.
The third goal was to be able to accomplish personal bests in at least three different race distances.  And I'm happy to report that for the first nine months of 2012, I achieved not three, but eight personal records. I did this in the 3.5 mile, 8km, 5 mile, 10km (twice), 10 mile, 14.2 mile, and 20 mile distances .  What's more important has been that I've set 4 of those records in my last 4 consecutive races.  For this goal, it has been inarguably and by far, my best year yet.
The fourth goal, was to accomplish is to finish the year placing in the highest percentage of finishers ever, in at least 1 of my brackets.  Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve been doing that for ALL of my brackets (Overall, Male, and 45-49 year olds).
The fifth goal was to get a PR in the Marathon, like I did with NYC in 2010, and do so with a pace that would be better than some people (who shall be kept nameless) that I have issues with (I’ve consider it a private challenge for some time now)
The sixth and final goal?  To qualify for the Boston Marathon.
For the last three weeks, and since my crazy 22.5 mile shore-to-shore run (less than 24 hours after my record breaking 10k at the Cow Harbor), my stomach has been killing me.  I’ve had bouts of shortness of breath.  I even visited Karen’s doctor, Dr. Evan Mintz (good guy), to check me out.  Everything checked out fine, but he felt I was suffering from anxiety.  And with good reason too.  For 9 months, I’ve been patiently waiting to run in the Chicago Marathon.  I was enrolled to participate last year, but due to stress, illness and other unsavory reasons, I had to relinquish my spot, and my hard earned cash (NO THANKS TO CARY PINKOWSKI WHO NEVER EVEN BOTHERED TO RESPOND TO MY PLEAS FOR A REFUND).  So, I have been patiently waiting to undo the wrong that got done 2 years ago from the 90+ degree weather that killed my chances to qualify for Boston, and somehow bring closure to the untimely and unannounced death of my mother, which like I said, happened while I ran in Chicago for the first time.
The mounting pressure leading up to this year's race became such, that I would wake up feeling like I was going to die.  Even now as I write this, I just took a gasp of air.  Gratefully, since the race ended some 11 hours ago, I feel like my old self again. 
Perhaps the art of a good race of this magnitude, is preparation.  I am an engineer.  In my field of work, the more you prepare in advance, the better the result (usually).  It just makes sense.
I spent a lot of time planning for this race in the Windy City, especially this past week. Putting together a state-of-the-art checklist, itinerary, pace bands, turn-by-turn cards, medicals, etc., was just part of the prep for this race.  This was necessary, because Karen had decided not to do this race.  Thus, she would not be around to save my ass in case I had forgotten or overlooked something vital (as I always…grrrr…do)
Learning my lesson from 2010, when Karen and I had to leave the same day of the race, I opted to arrive to leave on Monday instead.  The plane had a lot of runners on it, including this nice guy who sat next to me named Manny Thandi.  Once we got out of O’Hare, we split the cost of a cab which was great.

The expo was very nice, and not at all unlike the one that NYC Marathon hosts at the Javitz Center.  However, I was on a very compressed schedule, so after parting with my newfound acquaintance, I made a bee-line to the race packet booths, and then to the t-shirt booth. 

At last, a good forecast for Chicago!
 The key moment of the expo, was when I realized that I needed to get a footpod for my Garmin.  This, to address the issue of the tunnel and subsequent loss of GPS in the first mile.  Yet “another lesson” learned.   Timekeeping would be a crucial element, if I were gunning at a BQ, and I needed to know that I could rely on my Garmin, even when the satellites would be out of range.


How many Chicagoans have puked in order
to have a $50 fee included as part of a fare?
From there I hopped in a cab and checked into the Hotel Sax Thompson, on N. Dearborn, just north of the river and right behind Marina City, two tall circular buildings, which are quite impressive pieces of architecture, even by Chicagoan standards.  Chicago is a beautiful city, and even as a New Yorker, it has to be the best planned city architecturally in the country, perhaps the world.

Before dinner, I figured to grab some pizza.  So, I went a few blocks to State Street Pizza.  Unique and tasty, but a ridiculous price tag.  The slice sizes were nothing different than that of a NY pizzeria, but at $4 dollars a slice, I nearly choked. 
I got back and I knew it was time to hit the treadmill for my traditional few miles of running before the race.  My right knee still wasn’t feeling right, uh oh, and I didn’t push it, so all I did was 1 mile.  The footpod worked well though!
As for the knee..A little something happened to me during one of my final workouts at Schreiber High School in Port Washington.  With only about 10 days to go,  Karen and I did some track work at the school.  I did great that night, posting a 7:34 pace over 6.55 miles and was now following Karen back out of the track to the parking lot. 
As I followed her, I was posting comments to the Nike+ site on my iPhone, when I suddenly felt a tremendous thunderbolt of pain on my right knee and to my head.  I had become so absorbed in my logging, that I didn’t realize that I had just walked right into the concrete wall & fence that separated the track from park lot.  My head hurt a lot, as I nearly felt concussed, but it was my knee that I was most concerned about. With less than 2 weeks from something that I had been training for so long, this was not a smart move.
All throughout the week, I massaged my upper knee cap, and it didn’t bother me while I ran.  But a few days before I went off to fly, I felt a pop on the left side of my knee.  It was nowhere near the bruise, but it felt like a meniscus flare.  With all this talk in our household about knees of late (Karen’s surgery, to name a prime example), I was deathly afraid of what role, if any, this could play in the race.
After finishing on the treadmill at the gym at the Sax, I returned to my room, showered, and Katharine Stralina from Windy City Massage arrived.  

As I layed on the massage table in my room, all I kept thinking about was my daughter, Stephanie, and how she got into the “Hunger Games” book.  In it, these children that were selected for a last-person-living wins duel, were all pampered the night before.  That’s what it felt like for me. Katie, btw, did a great job on my legs, thus, the plug on this site. 

After this massage, would come dinner at Prosecco’s at 910 North Wells.  I will give them a plug too, what the heck.  However, I’ve had much better Italian food.  The Bolognese sauce was good, but their service was great. 

Too expensive, and feeling too guilty to order desert, I paid the check, left, and on my way back to the Hotel, I stopped at the BP gas station for a Good Humor King Cone. LOL.  Hey, it’s all part of carbo-loading!

As I finished walking back, I noticed how amazing it is that restaurants actually LAST in Chicago.  The Rainforest, Ed Debevics, the RockNRoll McDonalds, were all still there since my Dad lived there back in the 80's.  Remarkable!

Anyway, I have completely derailed you, the reader.  You came here for a race report, and I’m giving you a lot of pre-race and personal stuff (like when haven’t I? LOL!)

After I got back to the hotel, I called Karen, did a final check for the hour-by-hour weather, did a wardrobe prep, connected all my chargeable devices to "juice up", set up wake up calls on my iPhone, the clock in the room , and booked a wake-up call  (because the scene in Seinfeld with the Kenyan oversleeping and missing the start of his marathon was one of the most terrifying moments ever captured on film for me), and went to bed.

"Wonderboy" from the movie, "The Natural".  For good luck.
I got about 6 hours of sleep, and only woke up once.
Sunday morning.  It’s 5am.  I’m already in the shower.  Did my thing with the porcelain throne, applied my Glide, petroleum jelly between the toes, applied my circular adhesive band-aids over the nips, took my B6 vitamin, and got dressed.  I had left a note from the night before reminding me not to forget my Red Bull, because for me, the saying “Out of Sight, Out Of Mind”  applies to me more than anyone else.
I left, and outside it was nippy…but not as cold as they had forecasted.  Not 32, but more like 37, 38?  Also, it was not humid, and not windy at all.  This could be the start of a terrific weather day.  Fingers crossed!

I shared a cab with a runner from Memphis, TN.  He mentioned that he had not done a marathon since 1989.  I mentioned to him how I had stopped running altogether in 1986 and didn’t run another marathon for another 19 years (in 2005).
As we got out of the cab, he refused to let me pay for it and paid for the ride himself.   ‘Good guy’, I thought, though I was going to pay for both of us too.
I walked into the Congress Plaza hotel, where Jason Vega was staying with Dianne.  This was the place that John Ginty hooked me up with.  And this was also the place where John hooked me up with the Glen Ellyn Hospitality Suite. 

The main hall was LOADED, and I mean LOADED TO THE MAX with runners who preferred to seek shelter from the cold while they waited.  I took the elevator up to 3, where I walked into the “Florentine Room”.  The room looked something out of a banquet hall at Harvard, with a beautiful hand painted mural across the arched ceiling. 
Inside, were a lot of runners, who were either with the club, or who had paid to get in.  It was a decent deal.  $35 dollars for a private, warm area to stay that was close to the race, and that provided juice, water and coffee, along with bagels, cookies and fruit. 

They also touted about the bathrooms, but there was a line all the same.  Oddly enough, I was sitting down just a row over from John, and when I heard his voice for the first time in nearly 30 years, I turned around and recognized him right away.  Some people, you just don’t forget.  John was in my homeroom at prep for those 4 years.  This was his 1st marathon, and he looked in great shape for it, probably due to his love for cycling.  He knew a lot of people there too, but we had a few moments to talk, and we got someone to snap photos.  My camera didn’t do justice, but his did.  I’ll post it, when he does. 

It may be time to upgrade my iPhone....

As I was getting ready, I noticed something dreadfully missing from my bag….my sunglasses!  Shit!  Why is it that I can never remember everything?  Why must I forget at least one thing each time?  This was my ‘gotcha’ for today.  Someone in the room over heard me muttering to myself as I was feverishly and hopeless searching my bag again, as if my glasses would magically pop into view, and mentioned that it wasn’t going to be too sunny anyway.
I had to get these glasses.  It was 6:25am, and I still had an hour to get back to my hotel and back, I took my credit card, and room card and took off as if the race had already started for me.  I was about to exit the lobby doors downstairs, when salvation came to me.  It was in the form of a over-industrious gift shop owner within the hotel who was smart enough to open his doors for the runners. 
“Excuse me…but do you sell cheap sunglasses?”
“Yes.  They are over there.”
After promising the dude to virtually building an effigy in his name, I returned upstairs, and hit the head.
The clock now read about 6:45am.  Time to kick this into high gear.  I drank my Red Bull, ate my PowerGel Strawberry Banana burst chews, and left for good.  But not before putting a lawn and leaf hefty bag, that I had packed with me before I left home, over me.  I made a hole for my head and arms.  
When I got outside, I was still cold.  I should have put both hefty bags on, but no worries.  Along with thousands of others, I walked towards my corral area. 

Had to do #1 and fortunately there were port-o-sans just outside the Corral C entrance.  The time for the corral to close was drawing near, but I got in, did my last squirt ‘n’ shake, and entered the corral, JUST about a minute before they closed the corral. 
I actually saw Dr. Seuss firsthand at the race!  Courtesy: Lindsey Lurie Photography

Realizing that the tunnel would divide the legions of runners into a left and right side, I made sure to line up all the way to my left, since the first turn was a left turn.

Chicago Marathon.   Grant Park.   7:30am.

RACE REPORT: Chicago Marathon
RACE #: 196
DATE: Sunday, October 7, 2012
LOCATION:  Chicago and it's 28 neighborhoods.
TIME: 7:30am
WEATHER: 38F, 54% Hum., Partly Sunny

I already had my trusty nano playing over my nice Sennheiser cx680i  when the siren/gun went off, but I knew we were underway judging from the roar of the crowd of nearly 40,000 runners.  I had wondered whether or not my right knee would bother me, but on this day, that’s all it ever amounted to.  Just a wonder and nothing else. 
Courtesy: Lindsey Lurie Photography
As we entered into the tunnel, the GPS did lose signal, but the footpod took over.  Nice.  And as I ran through the dimly lit tunnel, I remembered to take off my sunglasses to look for potholes.  The last thing I needed was to wipe out before Mile 1.  With the glasses off, I also spotted a lot of runners that didn’t make it to the bathroom, but were now making amends for that along the concrete support columns that held up the overpass and supported the structure.

The crowd was nice, but this time around the weather was even nicer.  Just like the guy at the suite had said it was overcast, he was right
I deliberately skipped the first few water stops, as they were not needed and I needed to speed up a little.  Mile 1 took me 8:02, and although I was 13 seconds behind, I was pleased that it wasn’t worse than that.   Especially pleased, when you consider the mob of runners for the first few miles. 
I was feeling sharp and focused, as my legs felt great.  However, the mob ruled, and Miles 2, 3 and 4 were done in 7:52, 7:57, and 8:11 respectively.  The crowds in downtown Chicago were almost as large & loud as in 2010.  And the signs were out in force, too.  In addition, to the religious, “You-need-Jesus-to-save-your-life” kind of signs, there were also funny ones.  Funny ones like  “16.7 miles till beer”,  and “Don’t Poop On Yourself”, and my favorite, ““THIS PARADE SUCKS”.

There were many "Don't Poop" signs.  Do more people crap on themselves in this race than any other?                 Courtesy: Lindsey Lurie Photography
OMG. What's with this 'poop' thing? 
Courtesy: Lindsey Lurie Photography
As I ran the course, memories of the previous race of 2010 came into view.  How amazing can the impact of weather and unfamiliarity have on a course.  It’s never easy to do your best the first time you’ve done a course, but after that, you start to feel like an expert.

Nonethless, I was using my laminated (because yes indeed, I took packing tape and borrow scissors from housekeeping) turn-by-turn directional cards.  And they were working like a charm.  I knew how to position myself on the street, to minimize distance. 

Still, I challenge Cary Pinkowski to prove to me that this course is ONLY 26.2 miles long.  On every application, Google Maps, mapmyrun, runningahead, etc., the shortest this course is about 26.35 miles.  And this is cutting every angle I could muster. 

Disheartingly then, I knew that to achieve my BQ, I would really have to run BETTER than a 7:49 pace, as I would probably run more like 26.6 miles instead of 26.2.
My wardrobe was spot on today.  No wool cap.  Instead I wore a cap.  This was good because it gave me a place to rest my sungalsses when they weren’t needed.  I also had a soft, stretchy scungie around my neck, to prevent drafts.  The Cannondale armwarmers that I got at Brickwell’s in Manhasset, were awesome.  Not too tight but just right in grabbing on and not bunching up.  They gave me the warmth and circulation I needed, and never once were they a factor.  The black & red CEP compression socks were right on target too.   All in all, perfect wardrobe planning for this race.  If the temperatures remain like this for the NYC Marathon, chances are I will emulate to a T what I did here today.
A near-collision took place between me and a middle-aged (heh, like me) woman runner.  She came out of nowhere,  walking towards me as if to pick up something she had dropped.  Crazy.  Thank God, I had my head up, or else it would have been a big mess.

Courtesy: Lindsey Lurie Photography
The area in and around Lincoln Park as we headed north, I rules.  Miles 5 thru 9 were done in 7:38, 7:31, 7:33, 7:42, and 7:31.  They were all well under the BQ(Boston Qualifying)-required pace, and at this point I was well-ahead of BQ pace.   Knowing that I was doing well, posed a problem for me mentally though.
Runners seem to have the tendency to take pride in what they do.  Sometimes this pride gets in the way of focus.  The reason why I had done so well up to this point was because I was focused.   However in realizing how well I was doing, and how well I was feeling, I started slipping in and out of dreamworld.  Day-dreaming about crossing the finish line and BQing is a very emotional thing for a runner to think about.  And emotions drain your energy.  So every time I had a daydream, I’d snap out of it immediately, chastising myself with  “No No No”.

As I ran through Lincoln Park, I saw a green nano on the ground.  “Man that sucks”  I thought.  My nano was securely inside my iFitness pouch.  So were my salt packets, advil and vitamins too.  I paid close attention to making sure to not allow my nano to come out while I was reaching in there for something to take.
As we ran along N Lake Shore Dr, near the Belmont Harbor, I remembered how the heat started to get bad back in ’10.  Then as I passed through Boystown, I started remembering how exhausted I was beginning to feel back then too.  Not this time though. 

Running south through "Old Town".  This was around the 10 1/2 Mile mark
As we made our way south back into downtown Chicago, I did another 3 explosive miles. 
Crossing south into the downtown loop again. Nearing the 20k mark on Franklin Street.

Miles 10, 11 and 12, were done in 7:42, 7:40 and 7:37.  I was almost half-way there, and really threatening to do something that no one thought could be done.  Not even me!
Hustling and Happy! 20k mark and looking good.  Chicago Mercantile building in the background.
Mile 13 was a little messy, and with a bridge channel or two, it took me 7:59 to complete. 

Perhaps, it was when I was slowing down to throw my 1st turn-by-turn card to a photographer that was in the crowd.   I didn’t need it anymore, so I figured I should have given it away.  Next time, I will put my blogsite down on the card!

Or, perhaps I was feeling like I was going too fast and needed to slow a bit.  Perhaps.  But as we headed west,  I did Mile 14, in an unbelievable split time of 7:12.  Unbelievable and stupid.  When a runner goes beyond his normal race pace, he/she will almost always regress back the next mile to average out, or even do worse than average.  And that’s exactly what happened to me, as I konked Mile 15 with an 8:06.

Tsegaye Kebede smashes previous course record by over a minute (2:04:38).
And even then, I had gone deeper than ever before,
getting to Mile 16 by the time that he broke the red tape above. :-)
Heading west on Adams, with sun at my back.
The other thing about going too fast at any given point, and especially so in a marathon, is that you bring on more lactic acid which gives you the feeling of fatigue – and that’s hard to shake off in a race where everything is seemingly accumuluatory.  

As you can see, I'm the one who looks most determined.  That's because even at Mile 17, I was still blazing by scores.

As such, though I was doing a great job at staving off the weariness by crushing a B6 and B12, and chugging it down with Gatorade (which by now I was drinking at every stop since Mile 4),  I knew I was not the same runner I was near Lincoln Park.  Still, Miles 16, 17 and 18 were done in the amazing times of 7:54, 7:50 and 7:53 respectively.
As I headed down South Ashland, the first of my signs of fatigue began to unmistakenly kick-in.  This time it was in the form of a cramp on the sides of my calves.  Had it not been for my CEPs, I feared, these cramps would have already been taking me down.  But I was able to shake it off.  Unfortunately, Mile 19 took me 8:18 to complete.  Still, a great split, unless one is talking about the senselessness of what it takes to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
And still, I battled.
Mile 20.  Typically a couple of miles after most people’s glycogen reserves are shot to hell, I make a charge.  Mile 20 will be the swan song in my race today.  It was glorious, and it was done in 7:49.  I’ve never in my world have ever ran so fast a split, so deep into a Marathon.

Was having a great time physically, with little or no warning as to what was going to be happening...
But then the demons came in Mile 21.  (Crowd, please yell “Oh NO” right now for effect)
I would never see a sub 8 minute mile again. :-(   Mile 21 (along S. Halstead I believe), started having me feel cramping.  I was getting tired, no doubt about it.  The fact that I had run so much of the course already, was a positive.  Hell, I only had a 10k to go.  But this would be the 10k from hell.
There were points during these last 6 miles, where I would just want to fold tent.  Quit the race, and forget about even getting the medal.  Wave after wave of cramps would come and go.  Once cramps start, they never go away.
Miles 21 & 22 were both done in 8:52.  And speaking of done, so was I.  Done was the idea I had of qualifying with Boston.  But I was not discouraged.  In fact I was elated that despite the pain, that I was on verge of obliterating my personal best of 3:50:53. 
As I approached Chinatown, things got worse.  And no, it was not the duck sauce.  It was the Lo Mein Cramp.  Whereas, I would never see another sub-8 minute mile after Mile 20, I would never see another sub-9 minute mile after Mile 22.  I did Mile 23 in 9:35, and Mile 24 in 9:56. 
Then it got even worse.

More shoots of pain coming at me.  And though I felt better knowing that I was on South Wentworth, home of utter despair two years earlier, because I was still running, the pain was becoming overwhelming.

We turned left onto 33rd street, finally crossing over the Dan Ryan Expressway, just a few blocks north of U.S. Cellular field, home of the Chicago White Sox, and turned right onto State street.  It's a narrow street with nicely cut grass.  And that was about the only thing I could notice, as I was already in so much pain, that I couldn't even look up as the overhead photographers booth snapped off picture after picture of me looking down 100% with a painted-grimace on my face.
I can see myself trying to hard to stay on top of the cramps. Battlin'!!!
As I’m making my way back up Michigan Avenue, I am biting down hard.  Not in the hopes to not get another cramp, but rather to brace myself for the next cramp.  Each one was stronger, and the cycle in between each cramp, shorter.  Is this what women go through when they give birth.  No thank you!!!

The look of sheer brutality.
As I looked at my Garmin, 3:24:59 became 3:25:00.  And just like that, the dream of Boston would be over again.  But, again, I was not as upset as I thought I would be, because I had never gotten this far in a marathon with such speed as I had today.

The physical breakdown was 100% to blame (as it always is).  There was a point, where I literally had to stop for about 20 seconds.  It was the strongest of all my cramps.  It was on my right hamstring right underneath the right buttock.  It froze, and locked into position.  I couldn’t even think of moving, for I would instantly tear my hamstring , and never be able to run (let alone race) again.
Mile 25?  10:18.
The last mile was finally here.  As was the roar of the crowds as they lined up along Michigan Avenue.  Great support all the way, but here was exceptionally special.   The pain of my gait, was obvious to the thousands of runners that were blowing by me in the last 2 to 3 miles.  I hated being passed, but was too helpless, or so I thought to do anything about it.  Half way through my mile, I was averaging to finish Mile 26 in about 13 minutes.  I wasn’t even going to break 3 hours and 40 minutes.  And even though I would still have a PR, I was upset that I had done so well, just to give back most of my gains.
Nothing was going to stop me.  Had to push through, just had to....

And, this is where the battle for Chicago REALLY begins.
For once, the situation between this marathon and the one from 2010, were now one and the same.  Despite the weather differences, I was in as much trouble at this point of the race, as I was back then.  It seems impossible when you consider the course is relatively flat, but 26.2 miles is 26.2 miles.  The body does not do well after 18 miles, whether one is a Ethiopian or a Port Washingtonian.
Two years ago, I was actually angry at this point of the race.  I was yelling obscenities into the air.  I was cursing at the Gods that brought upon such foul weather, which seems to (or at least it used to) have such a strong impact on my race outcomes.  This year, I was actually in more trouble.  I wasn’t angry, because I didn’t even have the strength.  I felt like crying, actually.  "There’s no crying in Baseball!", Tom Hanks once screamed, but there is crying in Marathon Running.  Especially when you’ve already completed 26 miles, and had a good half a mile or more to go.
Despite all the cramps, the locks, and the ravages of fatigue, I reached to the deepest and most personal part of whatever was left in my secret vault of whoopass, because I would not be denied one last goal.  The goal to break 3:40 minutes.  At the pace I had been moving (if one could consider it moving), I was looking at a 3:43.  Not acceptable.  I had told my wife the night before that I didn’t care if the knee flared up and start to feel like it was dislocated.  That nothing would stop me from competing.  That my leg could fall off, and that I would run on my knee stumps if I had to.  And finally after 26 miles, I felt now as I emphatically stated the night before.
So, as I saw the sign that said 800 meters to go, I put my head down, and start striding.  The pain was terrible, and unbearable, but I still managed to continue on despite the risks.  3:36 now, and I could see the big American flag hanging down just ahead.  That’s the motion to turn right onto the little hill that takes us for one last (left) turn into the park for the last 2/10ths of a mile.   I start to pick up more speed, and with it more attacks on the leg.  I was taking on more hits than a battleship surrounded by destroyers, but I didn’t care anymore.  And that became my mantra.
I got to the right turn up the hill, and started charging with whatever last bit of energy I thought I had left.   3:37 now on my Garmin.   Climb! Climb! Climb, you mother fucker!  There were tears running down my face, but it wasn’t out of joy or sadness,  but rather out of the sheer brutality for which I had subjected myself through.  It’s not all the glamour you see in a movie, where a great motivational song, like Rocky starts to play while the hero fights the villain, no.  It’s raw, ugly and crude.  Your soul is basically in a ditch, and like an insignificant worm, you are trying desperately to crawl out of it, before the last shovel of dirt buries you, forever.
I slowly crane my tired neck up and I see that we are a few feet from the top of the hill.  We’re now ready for the last turn, and to see the word that every Marathon lives to see.  FINISH.
Despite all of the strife, despair, pain, anguish, and every other adjective you can think of to define suffering,  a spiritual sense of accomplishment came over me when I saw FINISH, written in white letters against the big RED banner.   The huge crowds on either side, made it a spectacle that could easily be confused for a Gladiator tournament in ancient Rome.  Except, until now, I had been feeling like the victim and not the conquistador with the mace, or the hungry tiger.

But after seeing that sign, that spiritual sense of self-worth began to shine through.  Just as clouds dissipate and the sun shines, so did my spirits.  And despite the fact that the pain was as unbearable as ever before, it did not matter.  In fact, that’s all I can remember chanting and out loud as I ran as fast as I could downhill towards the finish.
“I just don’t care anymore!  I just don’t care!  It does not matter anymore!  It doesn’t matter!”
I looked at my watch again 3:39. 
I will be damned if I don’t break 3:40.  I will either break my legs and break 3:40 or do neither. 
I choose BREAK, and go for broke.
3:39! 3:39! 3:39!!!!!
I blasted through the finish line, and the biggest sigh of relief came over me.
This time though it was more than it usually is, and things were getting foggy on me.

A couple of yards after I crossed, I was losing grip on reality as well as my footing.  I was stumbling, and must have looked like a drunk.  I was looking for something to hold onto, a table, a person, anything.  I felt like blacking out and might have for a brief second. 
Two volunteers, one an EMT, rushed over to me to see if I was okay.  It didn’t seem long then, but I think they must have walked and talked to me for quite a few yards until I gained composure.  The finish line at the Chicago Marathon is superior to that of the NYC Marathon.  It is wide, spacious, and unlike New York’s politics that hinders the ability to make full use of the park, Chicagoans work very closely with those that put the marathon together.  Where else for example, can you get 12,000 volunteers, and that’s just to hand out cups of water?!
I saw a water table and took.  I then saw I Gatorade Recovery Station and took there too.  Then I saw a big yellow sign with a picture of a banana.  I went there and had one of thousands of bananas.  That’s another perk of getting there early.  More to choose from.

And finally the medal people were in sight.  I humbly approached and bent my head over, as they laid an absolutely gorgeous medal upon me.  I felt like crying, because for all the wishing I had had, I had accomplished a great fete today.

Not because of the PR, but serious this is one of the prettiest medals I've ever gotten...
I finished my race in 3 hours 39 minutes and 28 seconds.  I crushed my previous best by 11 minutes and 25 seconds. 
I finally got enough energy to even pose for a few photos, and was even able to finally recognize what an amazing accomplishment I had just made.  Giving it my absolute all.  Leaving nothing, absolutely nothing left in me.

I finally, made my way back to Congress Plaza just across the park, easily visible and very close by.
As I walk out of the elevator on the 3rd floor, and walk into the Florentine Room, everybody that was there cheered and applauded me.  I didn’t even know one person there, but just like themselves, they had realized the grueling ordeal that I had put myself  through too, and had to acknowledge it with kind and loving support.  That’s another reason why I have such kinship to my fellow runners.
Once inside, I found not only the support of my fellow compadres, but hot food!  Well, it was pretzels, but they were buttery, salty and toasty hot.  Yum Yum.
I also had brownies.  
After much pain, I found the strength to sit down on the floor, open my checked bag, and get my iPhone.  Both Jason and John were being tracked on Facebook, and I was admiring their progress.  Especially John, since this was his first marathon ever.
I overheard someone mentioning to someone else that they should get a massage.
Now that peaked my interest. 
I looked up and didn’t even realize the 12 massage tables , half already filled with runners, in the back of the room.  So, I got up went over, and got the best and most sorely needed 15 minute massage ever.  Not 1 but 2 ladies worked on me.  My legs felt battered beyond recognition, but their warm soothing hands helped my circulation.
I also knew I had developed a black toe condition on my left foot.  Goes to show that no matter how much I trim, that I didn’t trim enough the night before. 
I stayed for a little while longer, but without any guarantees of seeing John or Jason after the race, I decided to walk out and back to my hotel about a mile away. 
As I came out, the cool breeze hit me, and just like during the race, it felt so good.  Today was by far the best weather conditions I’ve ever had for any marathon.  So ironic, when you consider that in my only other Chicago Marathon, I had the worst marathon conditions ever.
Now, not to sounds like the fox who said the grapes were probably sour simply because he wasn’t able to leap high enough to get them (which is odd…I thought grapes grew on a vine, and not a tree!),  I want to take this time of how ridiculously unfair it is to qualify for Boston.  Only about 3000 people had a time that was faster than my “qualifying” time for Boston.  That’s about 8%.  Take now into consideration, that my age group is not as strict as the qualifying time for the younger age brackets, and you can just about slice that percentage in half.  Then add just a little bit back if you are a woman.  In short, on a perfect weather day, and on a nearly flat course, about 5% at best will have qualifying times for the Boston Marathon.  Boston Marathon….YOU SUCK, but I will raise money-and run (AND DESTROY) your course…

But Boston wasn’t the only goal.  There was that “personal” goal too, of beating some unscrupulous characters – and they know who they are.  Let me just say this.  With 26.56 miles run, my pace was 8:13 throughout.  That is faster than anything that either of these two people.  One of these people was once a close friend of mine, and then at the lowest point in my life, stole my medals and kicked me to the curb.  He thought he was the shit.  But by the end of our friendship, he thought I was shit.  Well, guess again who the shit is now.  I have triumphed over you in every way, to now include kicking your ass in you no-good louse. 
The other person, whose pace I finally bested, would have been just as sweet.  Except that over the last 7 years, a tremendous amount of maturity has come over me, and I almost feel guilty taking away his next-to-last claim to success.  His other success, is that he is a very wealthy, and very powerful man in the financial world.  But honestly, I feel sorry for him and it has to do nothing with beating his 8:16 pace in his only marathon that I am aware of.  Moreover, and without getting into specifics, it was because of what his then & still wife did to him.  She could not have possibly loved him to do the things that I believe he was totally unaware of, repeatedly over and over again. Hundreds of times and for 2 years this charade, this farce went on.  It was as poisonous as the cancer which claimed my mother’s life at the last Chicago Marathon that I participated in,  And as for what the offenses were, again I will not disclose. You’re just going to have to just use your imagination. 
Two people one a dickhead, the other who was punished by his wife for acting like one to her.  Both were in their 30’s when they had their Marathon Pace broken  by the likes of me, the 47 year old.  Hey, I never said I was your typical sweet and fun-loving runner.  I have darkness to go along with my sunshine, but don’t we all?  It’s what makes us humans.  And anyone who thinks they are better than me, and have lived a cleaner life than me, than good luck with that.   At least I’m honest with my feelings, and honesty is my currency for which my wife is fully invested in as well.  So, a heartfelt victory was had as well to go along with the statistical PR.
My final placement numbers read like this:
Age Group Placement:  587th out of 2,468 finishers  (top 23.8%)
Gender Placement: 4,830th out of 20,688 finishers (top 23.45%)
Overall Placement: 6030th out of 37,455 finishers (top 16.1%)
When I got back to the hotel, I did a lot of posting on FB and texting with friends and family.  I even used to phone to talk.  Imagine that!  J
I took a tub, and then went to a lousy Cuban place (the one I wanted to go to, Havana, was only open for brunch), called Cafecitos.  Stay away from it like the plague.  The Cuban sandwich lacked flavor, and was greasy.  And the white rice and black beans were over-spiced.  
Despite the “bad” gastronomy, the finish of the Chicago Marathon meant the release of all my stress that had been building up for weeks.  It felt so great to feel okay again. 
Lastly, was the feeling of the Post-marathon depression.  What a buildup.  What a great experience.  And just how life passes one by so, so quickly…the race is suddenly over.  No one example was quite as telling as when I left Cafecito’s to walk back home.   Ironically, it was a block from the Congress Plaza Hotel, where it all began this morning.  After leaving Cafecito, I walked back on Michigan Avenue, expecting the brouhaha of more runners and spectactors, but it was as if it never happened.  For every block where I would see someone walk proudly displaying their medal, I saw at least 3 panhandlers.  The skies were getting dark, the normal rush of traffic had resumed.  And thus, the spectacle and grandeur of a wonderful time I had just hours before, was none more now than but a sweet memory for which I shall forever cherish.