I headed in to the longest run planned run of the cycle, my hamstrings and hip flexors were shot from the company softball game on Friday. No lie. The important part is that we won both games, kept the undefeated streak alive and held onto the Peapod softball trophy for another year.
Mile 0.01 - Get the Garmin signal get about 10 steps in and trip. And go down hard. I had my water bottle in my right hand and landed on my right arm and shoulder. Holy shit. Peel myself off the pavement in the alley, collect myself and decide to stop my watch. Was now sweating despite it only being about 50 degrees. My knee is a little bloody, my right arm is bleeding and I can’t lift my arm above my shoulder. If I walk back in 5 minutes after leaving, Tiffany would probably hit me over the head with a baseball bat. And Bosley would probably wake up the kids. Off I go, with a throbbing shoulder, a bloody arm and knee. Only the second time I have fallen in 9 years of running (not including a couple mishaps on some ice).
Mile 1 – 9:12 pace. This is going to be a long morning.
Mile 4 – After slowly working down the pace, I see the first group of runners from the CARA Ready to Run 20 miler. Here we fucking go. This training run features bibs and supported water and Gatorade stations. And assholes. Lots of them. Just because you sign up for a training run doesn’t mean you can run 10 wide across the lake path. After a couple near misses, I finally yell at some of them when a biker passing these guys nearly takes me out.
Mile 5 – Witness a near collision between a biker and runner.
Mile 6 – Finally work my way running upstream the crowd and end up mixing back in with the fast runners after they loop around. Who runs a 20 miler at 6:30 pace? I am guessing this group is probably running too fast. What do I know though?
Mile 7- Try to lift my arm above my shoulder above my head. Can’t.
Mile 8.5 – Chat with the volunteer at the Fleet Feet Gatorade stand at North Ave. Thank him and tell him to get ready for the onslaught.
Mile 10 – Clicking away some potential MP miles. Pretty much not seeing any bibs, so I found a sweet spot. Hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulder, all seem to be working well.
Mile 10.5 – I see a helicopter overhead, about a mile up. Never a good sign.
Mile 11 – Grab a Gatorade, exchange pleasantries with another runner and he tells me he almost smashed into a dude who was on the end of 8 guys wide, not paying attention, and shockingly, wearing a bib. See some police lights ahead.
Mile 11.40 – Is that a plane? Right next to the lake path? WTF? It is a plane. And there are TV trucks everywhere.
Mile 11.5 – turnaround point. And someone is taking some professional photos in their running gear. You look great, lady. But there’s a plane next to you that apparently landed on Lake Shore Drive a couple hours earlier.
Mile 11.6 – God damn it. Running back upstream. I am at Jackson. I need to get up to Fullerton or Diversey to make them disappear.
Mile 12.5 – Of all the parts on the lake path, this is probably the worst when it comes to footing and space. 75% is very cambered, so a majority of runners run close to the edge of the path. The only thing about this edge is that right over it is the lake. Really. Fall off, you’re in the lake. Needless to say, there's a pack of fools coming at me, in addition to a growing number of regular people out for walks, jogs, pushing strollers, walking dogs, etc. Have to yell at another guy not paying attention as he’s barely giving enough space for one person to pass. My pace starts slowing down as I am now more concerned about not falling in the lake than how fast I am running.
Mile 12.7 – A warm “Good morning runners!” from one of the group leaders of the training run. Who’s the asshole now?
Mile 13 – Have a strawberry Clif shot. Makes me want to vomit. Not sure why, normally I like these things.
Mile 14 – Right shoulder now hurting. Hamstrings barking a bit after the 10 second stop to grab a sip of water and throw away the Clif wrapper. Marathon pace pretty much goes out the window at the end of this mile.
Mile 14.5 – Grab a Gatorade from the same guy from several miles ago. Wishes me luck. Tell him I can get away from the crowd in just one more mile. He laughs.
Mile 15.5 – Decide to escape and take the inner path at Fullerton. Sweet relief.
Mile 17.1 – See a dachshund being walked on the path. He has a golf ball in his mouth.
Mile 17.3 – See a raccoon running along the tennis courts. What the hell is going on?
Mile 17.35 – The raccoon is running towards a guy who’s talking to a guy on the other side of the fence. Should I say something? Not sure, it may be interesting to see what would happen. The guy finally sees him. And starts sprinting.
Mile 18 – A guy passes me. I say hello, he says hi and asks how I am doing. The negative energy has officially taken over and I say. “Hanging in there!” I have now become a negative asshole. Some people may even say I have been a dickhead for a while. Get over myself, tell myself I should be happy that I am healthy and out here doing something that I love.
Mile 19 – Choke down a Gu. Or was it a Clif shot? Either way, it sucked.
Mile 20- Taking in water. Not drinking it. Taking it in. Regretting that I decided to run 23 miles. Clearly the good vibes have once again departed.
Mile 21 - Why do people use multiple questions marks? I get it. You're asking a question. The only thing you are emphasizing is your ability to hit the question mark multiple times.
Mile 21.5 – Receive a warm hello from an older lady. Faith in humanity once again restored.
Mile 22.85- Damn it. My tweaked route on the way back in has left me short. Run another block past the house.
Mile 23 – Done. Hobble up the stairs. Realize my shirt on my side is also bloody for some unknown reason. Just shoot me. A fitting way to unceremoniously end a mediocre training cycle.