My excitement got the best of me this morning and I couldn’t help talking to a teacher who has run the Chicago Marathon before and asked her if she ever misses the hoopla whenever it comes back around. She admitted that sometimes she wishes she was in shape to run again, but is wrapped up in other things to get motivated enough to run it again anytime soon, but she then went on to talk about everything that is so great about the race – the people, the city, the views, the struggles at certain turnaround points on the course, and so on. It was then I realized the conversation I want to have with other runners is not going to be as commonplace as I’d like it to be.
I want to talk about pre-race nervousness and excitement, race preparations, mental intensity, strategy, times, etc. That conversation though, is for an entirely different race. Sure, it’s the same course, same name, same distance, same day, but the experiences I’ll have will always be incredibly different from most of the others in the race.
When race morning comes around I’m not concerned with start line party antics as I’ll be warming up and nervously standing around once the seeded start area closes. I’ll be shoulder to shoulder with so many other runners who have also put in a ton of work to get where they are and share similar fears and anticipations, unable to dance around and hit beach balls like its spring break.
I won’t be concerned with the stunning city views that will surround me throughout the course as I’ll be intently focused on the road in front of me, most likely looking just 10 feet out at stretch after stretch of darkened, city stained pavement, only periodically looking around for other runners, time clocks and aid stations. This will not be a sight seeing tour.
I won’t be concerned with other runners passing me the other way after turn around points as I’ll be too concentrated on my own efforts and gauging where I wanted to be at that point of the race exactly.
I won’t be concerned with having great conversations and meeting future friends in struggle while trotting out mile after mile as I’ll be so consistently on the edge of breakdown that it will take every bit of both physical and mental strength to not only keep pace, but to keep going period. There will be no discussions about running, jobs, family, or whatever else everyone talks about at slower paces as I’ll be too oxygen deprived to talk much at all!
No, I don’t think I’ll be running the same race as a lot of people in Chicago, but our intended experiences were never paralleled from the start anyways.
My experience will revolve around primarily only a couple considerations. Run smart and run fast. Run for the fastest time you think you can pull off and run smart enough to do so. Don’t worry about the music along the way, the sights of Chicago that surround you, the potential friendships missed of every other individual running the course with you, and all those other distractions. It may seem like adding insult to injury (literally?), but I’m taking an already strenuous activity and stripping away everything involved that would alleviate some of that pain and struggle, leaving only the pavement, my body and my will to have it out.
For some reason, I live for this – the fierce struggle that ends in the joy of accomplishment over all the other frilly enticements. So be it.
We all run on the same course on the same day, but there will really be tens of thousands of different races going on simultaneously. I can only hope I get the most out of mine.
6 easy miles – plagued by this whole groin/thigh/itb?/i don’t know what thing going on with my leg. this MUST clear up before Sunday.
Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, raisins, flax seed, agave nectar, walnuts), coffee
Lunch – Pasta w/ veggies and nutritional yeast, blueberry bagel, water
Dinner – Burrito w/ veggies and tofu, water
Snacks – Tea, coffee, water, bagel, soy yogurt, apple
Franz Ferdinand – Tonight: Franz Ferdinand