Lucky number 7 in the books. Not my worst time, but quite slow by design. I was just too beat up to risk flaming out and limping off the course like a couple of years ago. This one was intended as a slow stroll through 29 neighborhoods of my home town on a sunny beautiful fall day (50-57). A few pictures will be posted on Instagram at @sweberwaller.
To start at the beginning, I got up at 5 AM and quietly dressed in the office not to wake L, her sister who was staying over in one room, and mighty Max in the guest room. Half a bagel and banana later, L drove me to the Belmont subway where I took the red line down town. In past years, L just drove me (and occasionally random stray runners) to the lake shore drive side of Buckingham fountain and then just walked to the corral. Now in the post-Boston bombing era, there was a serious security fence surrounding the couple of square miles of the start/finish area. There are now 5 gates on the Michigan Avenue side on the west of the park that every one has to go through. The el was super crowded even 4 miles away from the park but I got the last seat. 20 plus minutes later I was walking east in the scrum of non-elite runners heading for corrals G-L and the second wave start at 8 AM. Thanks to the Plaza hotel for their lobby bath rooms and comfy couchs where I hung out for about 20 minutes reading my Time magazine before I headed into the park.
In the park, there seemed less public urination then usual but that may have been because the first wave had already left and I had only 10 minutes to finish stretching and get to my corral before it closed at 7:45. Chatted with various friendly out-of-towners while pushing my way to the front of my group so that only group F stood between me and the start line which was still several blocks to the north.
The gun goes off and the usual 10 minutes or so until we shuffle to the start. My big worry was the state of my knees which had different things wrong with them, all falling into the general overuse and I cannot believe I tweaked that during a 4 mile taper run category. I start slow (the theme of the day), needing a quick bathroom break from my excellent pre-race hydration and looking unsuccessfully for my faculty colleague John D. at mile 2/3.
We swing north and then west and then south toward downtown. At mile 2 1/2 I see a blind runner ON CRUTCHES with his guide. At that point, I vow to finish for his sake if nothing else. The first 4 miles plus involve clearing the loop and some river north neighborhood and entering Lincoln Park. Leaves are beautiful but not yet peak.
We do a couple gentle jogs in the course heading north and east and then hitting Lakeview and Sheridan Road where I have a long list in my head of my friends and family who are at various corners between here and mile 10. I pass my apartment and family, friends, neighbors, Ginny the wonder puppy (now age 7) and Max waiting to jump onto the course. Quick photo op and I head north and they head west to mile 8.5 on Wellington and Broadway where Max will join me and I will load supplies switch to clean garments and chug a Nuun bottle to avoid Gatorade tummy.
At this point I am way behind any respectable time but having way too much fun to care. I visit with some friends from law school (married to each other) on the next corner, my chiropractor 6 blocks up, a former girlfriend and one of the Student Fellows from the Antitrust Institute 3 blocks after that and hit the north edge of the course at Addison. West a few blocks with a huge crowd on both sides and then south on Broadway stopping for a chat with my brother-in-law and sister-in law at the assigned corner. Didn't see the transvestite cheer leaders this year but really enjoyed the precision drill team in hot pants further on in boys town.
Mile 8.5 my peeps are on the corner and change shirts and hats, reload snacks and take off with Max after more photos. Frogot the water bottle though. Then the fun begins which I cover this afternoon after I prep for my evening civ pro class.