Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Still Life with Peanut Butter and Marathon Guide

My last Chicago Marathon is less than three weeks away, and my official participant guide arrived this week. That creepy woman made out of shoe prints is all over Chicago as the city prepares to welcome 45,000 runners and assorted friends and family members. And now she's in our kitchen, posing with our peanut butter. And probably leaving footprints all over the counter.

And as much as I'm completely over marathon training in general—as much as I honestly welcome the fact that this is my last Chicago Marathon–I'm getting excited about it. I love tapering after my last long training run. I love being able to say I'm running only 12 miles this weekend and genuinely mean only—as in "12 miles is seriously nothing to me"—while still getting a thrill out of the reaction non-runners have to that number. I love my final pre-marathon rituals: buying new padded running socks, timing out the last of my energy gels so I won't have any left over during the winter, getting GO JAKE GO printed on whatever marathon shirt I decide to wear, hanging out with the other runners at the packet pickup, carbo-loading with Matthew the night before the race, and getting my hair cut extra-short so I don't store any more heat than I have to on race day. And so I look presentable for my marathon pictures, which aren't cheap. In fact, I'm gonna squeeze some added value out of last year's pictures and gratuitously re-post a couple. Here I am around mile 19 with my nice square haircut and my bouncy, fly-away shorts:

And here I am crossing the finish line covered in homemade salt, which I cannot guarantee is kosher:

All of which brings me to this year's wild hair, so to speak: Since this is my last Chicago Marathon and I have plenty of pictures of me looking semi-respectable in the last five marathons, I've been toying with the idea of getting a mohawk for this run. And I'm totally stealing the idea from my new favorite boyfriend on my new favorite show, though I doubt I could ever look as dreamy as a mohawked Mark Salling:

But if a 41-year-old guy's gonna get a mohawk and not look like he's having a pathetic midlife crisis, a marathon is the perfect excuse for him to try it out, yes? The people at work look at me like I'm proposing learning how to shit kittens when I bring it up. But they're not my real friends. You are. So what do you think? Should I get a harmless little mohawk for the marathon or should I spend the rest of my life being a corporate drone who's too terrified to have a little fun?

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