Thursday, July 19, 2007

17 miles!

Today is my fourth anniversary of writing this silly little blog. It’s also Jake Is Really Busy At Work And Too Tired To Put Much Effort Into A Blog Post Day. So I’m going to let the photos from Saturday’s run do all the talking. And I’m not going to undermine your enjoyment of them with too much thoughtful commentary. I can be a giver like that.

We lucked out on Saturday with the weather—it had been warm and muggy all last week, but on Saturday morning it was cool and overcast and downright perfect for running almost 2/3 of a marathon. The weather was so perfect, in fact, that Matthew took a picture of the overcastness in homage to its perfectness:

A lot of the runners this year have been wearing the yellow AIDS Marathon moisture-wicking T-shirts we were issued at the beginning of the summer. I find the shirts to be rather itchy—and I’ve been told by two people I look bad in yellow—so I never wear mine. Besides, all that extra sleeve fabric makes me too warm when I run. But I still had last year’s yellow AIDS Marathon tank top, so I decided to follow the crowd and wear it on Saturday:

Chicago is pretty flat, so the only real “hill” we have to run is the North Avenue bridge, which arcs steeply up like Dubya’s growing disapproval rating:

And then back down like Dubya’s shrinking approval rating:

All those hills can make a runner hungry, so we took our first PowerGel break soon afterward. PowerGel, for those of you who eat only real-people food, is a hyper-concentrated little packet of sugars and carbs and electrolytes and who knows what else that you can squirt in your mouth, practice not gagging and then actually feel the exhausted cells in your body come back to life. It’s magical stuff, but it’s more disgusting than a French kiss from Karl Rove. It’s also impossible to eat gracefully:

Word to the first-time PowerGel eater: Bring something else, though, to follow, since no one should swallow it without liquids. Which are equally hard to consume gracefully when your entire head is exploding from all those carbs and sugars:

I know I posted a picture similar to this one last week, but I just want to repeat how much I love living in Chicago. Our lakefront trail is just so darn beautiful:

Argentina’s first lady deserves Buckingham Palace. Which is neither here nor there. But Saturday’s halfway turnaround was at Buckingham Fountain, where we were given giant pretzels to replenish our plunging sodium levels. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a picture where we weren’t all chewing:

On the way back north, we ran into a guy who trained with us last year but who’s now training on his own. Poor Marquese—without having us around to push him each week, he’s practically turned into Edna Turnblad. Except with less hairspray:

My calf seized up around mile 10, and by mile 12 I was the limping wounded. And when I tried to stand up after this picture was taken, I knew I had five seriously painful miles ahead of me:

There’s a water station in Lincoln Park (which on Saturday was our mile 13) where we get free Gatorade and a chance to NOT RUN FOR A WHILE. It is truly a gift from the gods:

Our home stretch is a glorious thing. Though when Matthew photographs it over his shoulder as he's running, it can look as though we might be Adam and Steve running from a herd of ground-rattling dinosaurs in a diorama at the Creation Museum:

We always do a group stretch after we finish. Here’s an embarrassing picture of Ryan I’m posting here solely for the purpose of showing you how flexible he is:

17 miles can make you exhausted. Here we are waiting rather placidly for the fiancé's pace group to finish so we could all head out to breakfast:

It can also impair your judgment. Here we are flashing our butts for the camera as though we were butt-giggly 8-year-olds (well, 8-year-olds who understand escrow). Notice we were too tired to actually pull down our pants. At least most of us were too tired to actually pull down our pants. And even then not all the way:

By the time the fiancé's group approached the finish line, one of us (ahem) had the brilliant idea that we should be cheerleaders and form a welcoming pyramid. Note to self: George has sharp knees. Follow-up note to self: Try not to laugh like a donkey when cameras are present:

Here’s our traditional final photo. Notice that no matter how boring my earlier photo captions were, I have shown no improvement over the course of this post:

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