6:30 am. I drove the domestic partner and my friends Matthew, Peter and Taz to the marathon. It was supposed to be hot on Sunday, so I'd gotten my hair cut short the day before.
We got there early enough that we could spend some pre-marathon moments hanging around in the Charity Village tent city—with its no-line porta-potties—among all the other folks who've raised millions of dollars for non-profits around the world.
We left the Charity Village early so we could get a good place in the starting corral.
But we had to pee again, so we lost 20 minutes standing in line at the wall o' porta-potties in Grant Park.
To pass the time, we mugged for the camera.
And took individual portraits. Classy individual portraits.
So the first 20 miles of the marathon went quite well for me. The weather was on the warm side of comfortable, but I sailed along at a pace that put me tantalizingly close to meeting my 4:00 goal. Though I needed to dump a lot of water on my head to keep myself cool.
I just dropped $106 ordering photos from the company that took pictures of us along the race route. So I don't feel so bad stealing photo samples from their site until my pix show up in the mail.
Around mile 20, the temperature spiked, and I started struggling in the heat. Fortunately, the marathon photo people captured my pain so I can relive it here in front of you.
My friend Taz was struggling in the heat too. And though we'd drifted apart 15 miles earlier in the sea of 45,000 runners, we somehow found each other again and struggled through our last six miles together. Our one rule: Always look good when we knew there were cameras on us.
I was caught in a tight crowd at the finish line, but amid all the runners, I was able to find a tiny picture of me checking my fancy new running watch that confirmed my official time: 4:50:09.
When I posed for the obligatory finisher picture, I was glad they cropped out my feet, which were emitting cartoon stars and spirals to indicate how much pain they were in.
Back at the Charity Village, Matthew and Taz and I smiled over our accomplishment. Though I had to take my medal off because the ribbon was trapping heat in my neck. And I really didn't need any more heat in my neck.
But I did put it on long enough for one final victory photo. And we're already making plans to train again for 2009—but this time we're gonna be our own team. And we're going to have non-yellow shirts. Because marathons are too important to be wasted in unflattering colors.