ILLINOIS  -  Chicago Marathon
State #10
Finish time:  5:17:05
After such a fun and successful marathon in Tahoe, I had
high hopes for Chicago.  Richard and I got an early flight on
Saturday, and packed light since we were taking public
transportation.  It couldn't have been easier.  We took the
train from the airport to the main stop, then got on a
race-sponsored bus to the race expo.  I snagged my packet
and jumped back on a race bus to the host hotel, except that
we were too cheap to stay here, but were staying right
around the corner at the Travelodge.  After getting checked
in to our room, we dropped our stuff and headed out to Navy
Pier for some sight seeing, then on a boat tour of the city.  
Finally we grabbed some dinner and headed to bed.  

The next morning I was up early to meet the Marathon
Maniacs for the group picture.  They were meeting at the
Buckingham fountain (the fountain at the intro of "Married
With Children".)  I knew where the fountain was since I had
seen it on the boat tour the day before, but walking around
in the dark, I just could not find it!  So, I went back to hang
out with Richard for a few more minutes until it got light, then
I headed out in search of the fountain again.  When I got
there, I figured out why I hadn't been able to spot it.  I was
looking for the water, but because of the marathon, they had
shut it off, so it was just a low concrete structure instead of a
big fountain.  Oh well.  Since there was still quite a bit of time
until the start, there were still a bunch of Maniacs milling
around.  I got to meet The Prez, Steven Yee, Maniac #1.  
(For reference, I'm Maniac #3912)
The Chicago marathon has a notorious reputation of being
hot and humid.  This year was no different.  But, before I
could torture myself in the heat, I had to get to the start
line.  Here I am in the corral, waiting for the other 45,000
people to cross the start line.  It actually wasn't bad, they
had both sides of a major highway blocked off, so there
were 8 lanes of people crossing the start line at once.  I
think it only took about 20 minutes, that still meant that I
started at 7:54 - pretty late for a hot day...  
I also got to meet Dave Mari.  This might have been the most exciting part of the
marathon.  Dave Mari is a Marathon Maniac Facebook celebrity and he always makes
this trademark face.  When I got a chance to get a picture with him, I copied his pose.  
Favorite Picture EVER!  Note the non-water-spewing fountain and the Chicago
skyline in the background.  
Away we went.  I don't like crowded marathons because I end up putting in extra miles weaving
around slow people.  For the first few miles I was stuck behind a large group of run walkers.  
They would stop right in front of me for their walk breaks, I would run around them, then they
would start running again and pass me.  Here I am, about mile 3, having just ran around them
again.  See that huge group behind me, taking the WHOLE road?  Dang they were a pain!  
Dave Mari snuck past them too.  We were both
running, no stopping for pics!  I couldn't believe
how good this pic turned out.  
We were lucky to be in the
shadows of the tall
buildings, keeping us cool,
but about as we got to Navy
Pier the tall buildings were
gone, the sun was out, and I
must have somehow missed
an aid station because it
was getting hot and I am
pretty sure I went 3 or 4
miles with no water.  Although I was warm, my pace was good.  This was the first flat run I had
done in a long time, and I wanted to take advantage of it.  This pic was somewhere between mile
12 and 13, I'm hot but still feeling good.  It didn't last though, because even though there were
lots of tall buildings casting shadows, they somehow managed to have us running into the sun
on every block.  Just before mile 23, we ran through Chinatown.  I was so hot, and had been
keeping a very fast pace.  I was on track for a PR and really wanted to hit it, so although I was
worn out, I kept pushing.  I wasn't pretty when I got to the finish line, but I got it done.  PR!
Wanted to make
life easy on
myself, so had
planned to stay in
Chicago until
Monday morning.  
How nice to not
have to rush
through a shower
before jumping on
a plane.  Instead, I
got to take a long
leisurely shower,
and go out for a
post-race recovery
Margarita.  All runs
should be this
Best of all, this was my 10th state, so I am now a member of the 50 States
Marathon Club.  Just 40 more to go!

Oh, and Chicago had a sucky shirt.  White.  Thin.  Stupid logo.  I'll never wear it.