Sunday, October 10, 2010
My 21st consecutive Chicago Marathon
Can this be the swan song?
The final elbow?
The Kinks, "Flash's Dream," 1974.
Another one is in the books--my 21st consecutive Bank of America Chicago Marathon. My elbows are the least of my problems. Will there be a 22nd? Well, the tenderness in my upper right calf that I've been coping with since June needs to heal. Because of that pain--which I felt with every step from Mile 6 on--that's 20 miles--my stride was altered, which caused additional pain in my right quadriceps and my right hip joint.
But pain goes away--glory remains. Just don't ask what my time was. Treat me with the same courtesy as a middle-aged woman. Or a man.
The photograph on the top was taken at the start--Jose Nebrida was holding the "Flag of Honor." The 68 year-old Chicagoan has run at least 167 marathons--he started the tradition of carrying the flag after the 9/11 attacks. He's a "Fifty-stater," running a marathon in every state and Washington DC. You'll have to click on the picture to see--but the names of each victim of those horrible attacks can be found in the Flag of Honor.
Twenty four miles later Mrs. Marathon Pundit photographed me on south Michigan Avenue. Yes, I'm still smiling. I was running somewhat pain-free at this point--miles 19 and 20 were difficult, as was the last mile. I'm certain I was grimacing as I struggled up the Roosevelt Road railroad bridge near the finish.
As I have in previous years, I'll be posting pictures I took along the route of the race.
The temperatures reached into the 80s before the end of the race. I heard constant sirens for the last hour of the race and I was still hearing them as I drove away from the Loop. The Chicago Tribune, citing race officials, called it "uneventful." About 65 runners were taken to hospitals, there were over 30,000 starters. I witnessed several runners being treated for heat stroke--the multiple ice bags are the indicator--at all of the first aid stations in the last half of the race. I saw one runner vomiting profusely at Mile 19--which was probably caused by heat stroke.
Sammy Wanjiru and Liliya Shobukhova were the men and women's champions, respectively. They prevailed in 2009 as well.
But this should not be the end for me. If Nebrida, who is in his late 60s, can run 167 marathon, I can keep going.
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