Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: Chicago, workout

Another one in the books!

So yesterday morning started out early with the sun rising behind Buckingham Fountain. Not a bad place to start… excited in knowing that it was going to be a long & arduous day!

We checked our extra gear at the official Gear Check area… and then proceeded to our starting corrals. We “may” have fudged our corrals a bit… as I was supposed to be in one, Chris & Nancy in another one, Steve in one and Tray in yet another one. We thought it would be more fun if we could all wait together in one starting corral. And since your official race time doesn’t start until you actually cross the Start Line… no big deal, right?

My marathon pals for the day… Chris, Nancy & Steve who were all well-trained and ready for the race. Then Tracy who is a avid runner, but a more leisurely run-walk kinda racer. And then me… who doesn’t like to run, and didn’t really train AT ALL!!!

My training run was the Chicago Triathlon… and I hadn’t really run since then! I knew it was going to be tough… but I’m stubborn & determined. Plus, I”m never in it to race… I just have three simple goals for any of these endurance events…

Number One : Have fun.
Number Two: Finish.
Number Three : Don’t injure anything!

So then we waited… and waited…
Chilly & breezy with everyone dressed in layers. It’s amazing to see the piles & piles of clothes discarded along the sides as you approach the Start Line. People taking off their warm layers… ready to start running. Luckily, they collect all of that extra discarded clothes and donate it to worth causes.

So you start running through the downtown streets. So much fun to be running down streets that are usually filled with cards & buses!!! Andno matter how many times I’m down here, I end up being the perfect tourist every time… stopping for plenty of photo shoots along the way!!!

More fun crossing the river… across the bridges… through the City!

As you head north, you pass the Lincoln Park Zoo an several parks. Running when I can, stopping at the water & Gatorade stops… and stopping for a few pictures! I mean, I”m never going to WIN the race!!! So I’m in no real hurry… just keep moving forward and enjoy the adventure!

Mile 5 at the south end of Lincoln Park Zoo.

Part of the fun through the race is all of the wonderful spectators who are out there to cheer you on. Plenty of creative signs along the way… and I LOVED this one!!!

After heading north & turning around into Boystown… complete with a drag show performance of “Grease”… you head back into the City. Over the rives & bridges again… kinda cool looking down trough the bridge. Not for those afraid of heights!!!

Almost halfway…

Then the official HALFWAY point of the marathon!!!
Kind of exciting… but this is when the legs start getting tight, sore and the feet start to talk back a bit!

You continue west out of the City and work your out and turn-around neart the United Center. The back in, just to turn around and head out west again – this time through UIC and Little Italy.

Soon enough you’re headed in the Pilsen neighborhood… full of hispanic culture, mural, music & plenty of color & fun everywhere!!! Always good to run through a vibrant & entertaining part of town to take your mind off of the sore legs & feet!!!

Along the way, I made a new friend… the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man!!!
Followed by another great sign.. and the answer was YES!!!

Still moving forward… exiting Pilsen and headed toward Chinatown!
Always fun to see the next Mile Marker as the numbers keep getting closer & closer to 26!!!

Mile 20… and still feeling good!

It’s also so motivating to see all of the people running the marathon… knowing that everyone has a “story” to share. Some of them you get to chat with along the way… others just MOVE you when you come up behind them.

No reason for me to be complaining or aching…

Love all of the murals & artwork along the way…

And some great snacks to avoid muscle cramping… pickles & pickle juice!!!

Welcome to Chinatown!!!
You now you’re getting close to the end when you get this far…
but this is also when “The Wall” hits.

Throughout the race, there are plenty of water & Gatorade stations… so much water… so many paper cups!

Somewhere near Mile 24, a woman was on the side cheering us along and offering up Clementine oranges… YES PLEASE!!! And let me just say… the BEST Clementines EVER!!! Just what I needed right then!!!

After 26.2 miles, you finally make it to the Finish Line to claim your finisher’s medal. That’s a LONG way to run to get another piece of medal on a ribbon! Luckily, my friend Tracy was there waiting for me! Always fun to share these big moments with a good friend!

So here’s some swag… souvenirs from the race.
And another one in the books!

And for now… trying to recover … getting the muscles to settle down & stop barking at me. Shower, change, eat, stretch, relax, all of that stuff! When you’re stumbling home on sore legs & aching feet you think you’ll NEVER do this again! But after a couple days… you start to think… “Well, maybe?”

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