Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicago Marathon: Cold Hands, Warm Heart

By Ross Forman

(Sunday, October 11, in Chicago)
The 32nd annual Chicago Marathon was a case of good news, bad news for me as I was running in my sixth marathon in less than two years.

Scratch that, the Chicago Marathon was alllll good.

I had a time goal and was on pace until about Mile 23 or 24. I ultimately missed by pre-race goal by 7 minutes, so for a split second as I wrote this, I was bummed. But still, I set a PR by about 15 minutes. Meaning, it was my best marathon time of the six I’ve run.

It also was the coldest.

The temperature when the race kicked off at 7:30 a.m., was 33 degrees. The thermometer eventually hit the low-50s and the sun shined. Sure, ideal running weather, but cold nonetheless.

My finger tips were numb for about three-quarters of the race, and even for an hour or so after crossing the finish line. So much for the snazzy black cotton gloves that I bought for $10 at the Chicago Marathon Health & Fitness Expo, held Friday and Saturday at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

The Chicago Marathon was everything I hoped it would be, a weekend-long spectacle that I never will forget. Just consider:

- 19,444 registered female runners.

- 25,056 registered male runners.

- 34,792 started.

- 33,411 finished.

- There were 291 runners from Brazil – and I had to laugh at the fan, who was serving as a DJ in his area on the course, who broadcast, “Don’t trip the Brazilian; it wasn’t his fault that we lost the (2016) Olympics.”

- Among the countries with one entrant were: Albania, Bangladesh, Egypt, Gabon, Fiji, Jordan, Namibia, Qatar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

- 114 countries were represented, for 6,232 runners.

- Following Illinois, the most domestic runners were from Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. The fewest came from Hawaii, North Dakota and Wyoming (21 each).

I had an emotional, spirited Pasta Party on Friday night with the entourage from the National AIDS Marathon Training Program, held at a church located at Mile 14 on the course.

Saturday was a pasta dinner at Rob’s for my marathon group of 5, along with some family and friends. Then it was an early bed-time at the Chicago Hilton, located steps away from the Starting Line.

Come Sunday, I knew I was running solo since Chuck, David and Ernie opted for a different pace. No worries, I thought, since I train so much year-round by myself, so, I knew running the marathon by myself wouldn’t be a problem. Good thing for the iPod and the estimated 1.5 million fans who spanned the course in support of those of us willing to run 26.2 miles on a Sunday morning.

Including my dad, who I spotted at Mile 4, then Aunt Linda and Bob at about Mile 10.

What and who else did I see on my 26.2 mile journey? Let’s see …

- Signs featuring Hulk Hogan and Susan Boyle, among others.

- Cups of beer offered to runners at about Mile 20. I did not indulge.

- Music in Pilsen that was incredibly loud.

- Runners in New Mexico shirts, so I had to wonder if they were from Las Cruces, my old stomping grounds.

- Two sets of female-impersonating cheerleaders along Broadway in Lakeview.

- The United Center and U.S. Cellular Field.

- The water was ice-cold; it tasted great.

- I ran with Yurbuds earphones ( which I purchased at the Expo. I’d give ‘em a grade of a ‘C.’ Though company COO Richard Daniels gives a great presentation and I do think they work, they just didn’t Sunday for me. First, I wasn’t certain exactly how to get the fitted rubbery piece onto the ear-phone and ultimately I had trouble with the left one; I now know how to use them and look forward to using them in the future.

- Dan spotted me at about Mile 22 and ran with me for 5 or 10 minutes. I needed his encouragement at that point; that helped.

- I urinated only once, next to a tree near Mile 17 and not far from a female squatting behind a bush.

- Ryan was supposed to have Rice Krispie treats for me after the marathon. He didn’t, but hopefully because he ate all of them himself after finishing in under 3:30. Congrats, Ryan.

- Congratulations to everyone else who finished, including Joe and Carlos, and of course Rob (sub-4), David (his first), Ernie (nailing his goal time, 4:59) and Chuck. And don’t worry, Chuck, you won’t hear that I beat you by more than 30 minutes for two years, as we’ve been hearing it from you.

I’ve said it before and will say it again, running a marathon isn’t for everyone. But everyone can do one, and should. I’m a strong supporter of the National AIDS Marathon Training Program. Chicagoans definitely should give it a run – great program, exceptional coaches and a worthwhile cause.

Next up for me on the Marathon trail: the 37th annual
Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, Dec. 13. I know there won’t be any talk of cold temps at that race.

Thanks for your support,


Robin said...

Awesome post Ross :) Feel like I was there with you.
Way to go!

mark said...

Congrats Ross on all your accomplishments and new PR!! Keep it up and enjoy every minute!!

Rich Daniels said...

Hi Ross,
First, congratulations on the great run at Chicago and hope your training is going well for Honolulu.

Thank you for providing your honest feedback on our product and sharing your personal experience with me on the phone after your initial trouble. It sounds like it was helpful for you personally but feel free to connect with me if you have any further questions. For your readers, we have a “How to Use” section on our Web site ( We’ll be uploading quick how-to videos in the coming weeks as well, but in the meantime, I would be happy to answer questions in the comments space here. We really appreciate your feedback and all of our customers’ feedback.

While you’re training for Honolulu, my wife and I are training for the Boston Marathon. Happy listening and good luck with yours!

Best regards,
Rich Daniels