I knew I had to maintain about a 9-minute-mile pace to hit the 4:00 mark, and I did almost exactly that until mile 15, when suddenly my knees started feeling as though they would seriously buckle backward if I landed on them wrong. So I slowed down, stopped to stretch a couple times and made damn sure I landed every stride with my knees pre-bent in the proper direction.
I had to pee about half an hour before the race started, but I knew if I left the starting gate and got in one of the endless lines at the porta potties, I could damn well miss the entire marathon. And I didn't dare stop DURING the marathon for fear of losing precious time. (I did, however, see a lot of runners peeing in alleys, behind bushes and on the outsides of busy porta-potties along the route. Runners are weird people.)
My mom and sister came in this weekend to help me carbo-graze all day Saturday (Mmm ... Chipotle! Mmm ... garlic cheese bread!) and to navigate the crowds and the El to cheer me on in four spots along the marathon route, starting at the endless Boystown party at mile 8. I swear, there is a special place in your chosen heaven for all of you who come out to cheer on friends, family members and even perfect strangers in races. Your woo-woos and whoops and noisemakers make all the difference between excruciating pain and excruciating pain with a huge rush of adrenaline. Bless you, every one.
My GO JAKE GO shirt proved once again to be the best $10 I've ever spent—being cheered on by name when you're seriously worried your knees are gonna do something gross and embarrassing is priceless. Some nice lady at about mile 19 (you know who you are) even yelled NoFo at me when she saw my shirt. (At least I hope that's what she yelled.) How cool is THAT to be recognized
So I'm all done running for the year. The running togs are scheduled for a thorough washing today, and then they're going in a drawer for a good long time (and away from the shower rod, where they've spent the entire summer drip-drying). The knees and thighs and feet are scheduled for some serious stretching and maybe a nice massage this week. And the pictures,
Thanks again for all your good-luck wishes!