Indiana Jones and the racers of the lost marathon

You know the opening scene from Indiana Jones where he slides underneath the slowly closing stone door, just narrowly getting crushed while still managing to snatch his precious hat at the same time? I’ve been trying to find that on YouTube, but come up empty every time. I wanted to post it here because that scene most aptly describes how I feel about my marathon goal time. I know, it must be getting old hearing me talk with such concern about running as fast as I’m hoping to run. It would probably be more entertaining to read excited and overly-optimistic rants about crushing the marathon distance and achieving new heights of accomplishment, but forgive me, I’m bound by my honesty. Regardless, that scene is a perfect metaphor for my attempt to drag my chip across the line no slower than 2 hours, 18 minutes and 59 seconds. And those seconds are crucial to list.

See, it would be different if I had been training to run 2:14 or 2:16. If I knew I had that sort of speed and endurance in my body, I’d be training well beyond the 2:19 cutoff, knowing that even if things went south I’d still have a solid chance of coming under the qualifying time. But that’s not where I’m at. I’m training to run seconds, literally seconds, under the qualifying time, because right now that’s what I feel I have in me. Right now, that’s where my body has progressed to. This might change in the coming year (for better or worse), but as it stands I’m still a 2:25 marathoner training to become a 2:18 marathoner.

What that means is if everything goes right 9 days from now, I’ll just barely squeeze in under the HUGE STONE DOOR of qualification. There won’t be a miraculous 2:16 finishing time, leaving me a great margin of error, as if the stone boulder was released a minute late and I was able to walk out the front door carrying the golden statue before it had even begun to close. Heck, my hat wouldn’t even have fallen off! No, this means that when I come across that line, again if everything has gone right, I will have managed to avoid any minor mishaps, overcome physical obstacles and mentally pushed through the last 6 miles and effectively conquered that microscopic margin of error….but I’ll still have to sprint my ass off and slide under that door at the finish.

Ya never know, if I’m feeling good enough (yeah right), maybe i’ll LITERALLY slide across the mat Indiana Jones style, reaching back across the line to grab a dropped Gu packet.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First I have to outrun the massive boulder of physical fatigue that will chase me into the last 6 miles of the race. If I win that battle, then we’ll take on the ever-shrinking stone door of qualification.


In fear of this summer’s constant humidity, I’ve been watching the extended forecast leading up to Chicago, primarily the morning temperatures. Last week we were looking golden with morning temps hovering in the low 40’s, which probably translates into the upper 40’s at start time…..perfect. Today was the first day I could look 10 days out for the actual race date and as it stands morning temperatures will be 52 and the highs at 66. Being the midwest and all….this could all change quite quickly, but let’s just hope it doesn’t get any hotter. These temperatures are doable, even acceptable, but I won’t lie that I wish they were a bit colder. I’d feel MUCH more content if we were looking at the 40’s, but again, this could all change. At the very least, we’re not looking at 70’s or anything, so no reason to think we should bag the attempt and run elsewhere. So Chicago it is!


Finally, I emailed the  marathon asking about runner tracking. It isn’t available on the site right now, but I was assured that if you want to follow any runners along the way (like me!), that feature will be available by next week. All you have to do is sign up and input my bib number. I did this for Jesse Davis during the Boston Marathon and it was really cool to watch. I believe you’ll get my 5k times along the way and my overall mile pacing, which I hope to keep at 5:18 to the end. Here is the info you need

Scott Spitz
Bib # – 422
Pace per mile – 5:18 (to hit my goal time)

Let’s do this.


9 responses to “Indiana Jones and the racers of the lost marathon

  1. How exciting! I don’t mind reading about your worries and concerns – it makes you human, even as you run at super-human speeds for 26.2 miles. Best of luck in the race – I can’t wait to hear how you do! (And if you don’t slide across the mat with seconds to spare as described above, I will only be slightly disappointed.)

    • It would be pretty hilarious (and slightly painful) to slide across the last timing mat, but I’m guessing no one around would have any idea what I was doing and would probably call the paramedics over immediately. I’ll just do it in my head if it comes to it.

  2. Delurking to wish you the best of luck, to tell you how in awe I am of your incredible speed and how I am so excited to hear how your race goes! If you’re like me (ok, let’s face it, you run a mile in the time it takes me to run 1/2 a mile – you’re not like me), you might enjoy reading about other (super-fast, in my book) runners who are going for big goals:

    Best of luck!

  3. I think tracking might be up now –

    Good luck meeting your goal!

    I am running Chicago this year, as my first marathon. I am much slower though 😉 (I was the one who yelled out for you last year “Run Vegan Run Chicago!” or something like that) 🙂

    • So it is! Good timing…thanks for the link!

      And again, thanks for yelling for me last year….that was really an awesome moment and I haven’t forgotten it!

      Enjoy the experience…no race I’ve run has ever compared to Chicago and I don’t know if anything will ever top it. The environment is so inspiring you inherently run faster. Good luck and swing by the Chicago Diner afterwards for the post race meal!

  4. Scott, Have begun t pick up your writings again…. Am totally excited for you and your goal, Will be following closely as the race day approaches.

  5. Scott all the best in your race. You will do it!!! I’ll be plodding around the dino trails. Great weather great race times!! Gooooo!!!!!

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