Recurring Decimals…..

Everything here is irrelevant

We did it !!!

with 17 comments

Ran 26.2 miles through the streets of Chicago without any injuries, dehydration, cramps or the sad (although probably apocryphal) fate of the first person who had attempted to run the distance.

(A generic picture of the finish line; we were still about 6 miles away at the time shown here)

Experience-wise, it was simply amazing. No amount of training or reading and hearing accounts of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon prepares you for the real event. Especially when after having trained mostly under 90+ degrees, 90% humidity conditions, on race day, the Windy City  lives up to its reputation with cold and blustery conditions – temperature in high 30s to low 40s, winds gushing between 15-30mph (bringing wind chill to 20-30s)! But when you are sharing the road with 40,000-odd wildly enthusiastic runners (see the start line picture below), and about a million spectators alongside the road braving the chill to show support with banners, whistles, cow-bells, music and full-throated shouts (the noise is till ringing in my ears), you totally forget the weather and start having fun.

Feeding off this amazing energy and actually helped by the cool weather, till the halfway stage, the run felt like a walk in a park. The adrenalin was pumping, I was hardly feeling any fatigue and the legs were going strong. I even harbored thoughts of finishing quicker than expected. But then I started slowing down around the 18th mile. Because of the weather, I had dressed with a few extra layers of clothing – which I was shedding by the road-side as the race progressed – but the extra weight had tired me down already. Thankfully, having loaded on a carbs the week before, I did not ‘hit the wall‘; with constant encouragement from the sidelines, and my dear wife running by the side, I was able to keep running and finish.

The moment we crossed the finish line, a feeling of euphoria swept us. I could hardly stand or walk and now that we weren’t running anymore, the wind felt really chilly, but we were on an incredible high. Considering that about 33,000 (officially) had finished the race, many of them in shorter time than ours, it was not as if we had conquered the world. However, on a personal level this was quite a significant achievement. Last year around this time, we would huff and pant while running simply 2 miles around our neighborhood block – running a marathon was furthest from our mind. We took the decision to sign-up for this around April of this year – at that time we could manage to run/walk 3 miles around a course that included some very steep grades. Therefore, to be able to complete the full 26.2 mile course, running all the way (we took brief walking breaks to drink water/Gatorade – its tough to drink out of a glass while running), provides a great sense of accomplishment.

Right now, the elation has subdued a bit, but the muscles are still sore and aching. Steps are being taken gingerly, and walking down the stairs is a huge pain. It was quite funny yesterday at the O’Hare airport in Chicago – you could easily recognize the marathon runners from Sunday by the awkward, hopping manner of their walking.

Ultimately, it was loads of fun to do the marathon – the entire process. There were times during the 18-week training when I doubted myself and wasn’t even sure why I was going through all this pain. Running 30-40 miles each week takes up a lot of time, not to mention the toll on your body. But it is all worth it in the end, particularly at a race like Chicago, where you are surrounded by so many ‘running buddies’ and constant cheering from the sides. Definitely recommended for everyone !

(I will post later – once all the pain has subsided – a more detailed account of the run and our training and some of the things that helped us on our way).

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

October 24, 2006 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Fun, Life, Personal, Sports

17 Responses

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  1. Hey, that’s some accomplishment. Especially since I am reading this post after my 3.5 mile walk around our neighborhood. I am not huffing and puffing but am sweaty and thirsty.

    So congrats to you and your wife. You can rest on your laurels (after your backside is no longer sore) until the next one.

    Ruchira Paul

    October 24, 2006 at 1:33 pm

  2. Wows, congratulaions. We await the longer post.

    Confused

    October 24, 2006 at 5:27 pm

  3. […] Bong’o’Pondit runs the famous Chicago Marathon and lives to tell his story. Inspiration comes but laziness…sigh! […]

  4. Congratulations…

    Running a marathon is no easy task.. hats of to ur determination and hard work

    thanu

    October 24, 2006 at 7:12 pm

  5. You are a brave, brave soul.

    Vi

    October 24, 2006 at 7:59 pm

  6. Congrats! I have never been able to muster the courage to run the marathon…would be happy with a 5K 🙂

    Patrix

    October 25, 2006 at 2:07 am

  7. Congrats. Thats an awesome achievement

    Ravi

    October 25, 2006 at 4:21 am

  8. thats awesome, man. Well done!

    gawker

    October 25, 2006 at 8:31 am

  9. @ all: thanks for your wishes.

    Ruchira: Can’t think of the next one (yet). The problem is the huge time commitment during training

    Confused: Probably two longer posts – I intend to extract some mileage out of this 😉
    Thanks for the DP link – my first one under new management 🙂

    thanu: Thanks

    Vi: Dunno about brave….but yeah – it did take some mental determination…

    Pat: Believe me – a lot of it is in the mind. When you think you have some time to spare over a four months period – try it out.

    Ravi & Gawker: Thanks guys.

    BongoP'o'ndit

    October 25, 2006 at 8:41 am

  10. Pondit ji,

    May I point out that Patrix remains the boss and will always remain so. :p

    Confused

    October 25, 2006 at 12:17 pm

  11. Congratulations! Chicago this time of the year is always cold and blustery 🙂 But the crowd that gathers totally rocks. Never been brave enough to run the marathon myself, but three cheers for each one of you who worked and trained hard to make it through. Congrats and look forward to reading more and seeing some pics of Chicago.

    M

    October 25, 2006 at 1:11 pm

  12. @Confused: Yes, of course, but day-to-day management is new, no ?

    @ M: Thanks. Actually, people were saying that it was a little unseasonable for it to be that cold – especially during the day. Anyhow, it actually helped a bit.

    Not many pictures though….did carry a digital camera during the run (a mistake in hindsight) but did not get a chance to click too many. And missed out the touristy things in Chicago as well (too tired after the run).

    BongoP'o'ndit

    October 25, 2006 at 1:42 pm

  13. Awesome. Boston next year?

    Brian

    October 25, 2006 at 2:34 pm

  14. Congratulations, fantastic effort!

    Perhaps the Seattle marathon next year?

    Sunil

    October 25, 2006 at 3:26 pm

  15. Congratulations for the effort, I am sure it feels great. I fall in the drop out category. Was to run the marathon this year but has been postponed to the next. So I admire the tenacity.

    Shreemoyee

    October 25, 2006 at 5:21 pm

  16. @Brian: Yeah – Sure ! Just have to ask them to lower their standards (by quite a bit) 🙂

    @Sunil: Thanks. Actually Seattle was our first choice for the marathon, since we have quite a few friends there. But people suggested Chicago for our first run because of its very flat course.

    Certainly not next year – but will think about it again in 2008 perhaps.

    @Shreemoyee: Thanks. Good luck with it next year.

    BongoP'o'ndit

    October 26, 2006 at 4:56 pm

  17. […] Bong’o’Pondit runs the famous Chicago Marathon and lives to tell his story. Inspiration comes but laziness…sigh! […]


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