Saturday, October 07, 2017

Last-minute tips from me to you for getting the most out of tomorrow's Chicago Marathon:

1. Do your crying up front. You'll be emotional at the starting line as it is, so let your tears flow then. Trust me: You won't have any moisture left in your body at the finish line anyway.
2. Speaking of moisture, PEE BEFORE THE RACE. Then get back in the porta-potty line and pee again.
3. There are very few people in the world who get to be cheered and screamed at by millions of fans for plus-or-minus four hours. You're one of them. Drink it in.
4. That said, don't let all that screaming distract you from the race. It's fun to smile and wave at everyone, but doing so burns precious energy. Find the balance between being a rock star and being a disciplined runner.
5. THAT said, all bets are off in Boystown. The second you turn left from Addison onto Broadway, you will be overcome by megatron levels of cheering and screaming and drag queens and music and pure unbridled joy. It is the BEST mile of the race, so smile and wave and cheer and pump your arms and maybe even cry a little. You won't be able to stop yourself anyway, so dive in and enjoy it.
6. There's no shame in walking if you need to. Your legs will start to stiffen up if you walk too long, though, which will make it harder to resume your running. But you probably already know that by now. :-)

7. That said, suck it up, put on your badass runner face and start running like a world-class athlete whenever you see the marathon photographers. (See photo.) You'll thank me when it comes time to buy your commemorative marathon photos.
8. I'm not gonna lie: Your last few miles running north up Michigan Avenue will suck like you won't believe. The cheering crowds will thin, your feet will hurt all the way up to your neck and you will swear that someone has put the Willis Tower -- your one shining beacon leading you to the finish line -- on wheels and is slowly pushing it farther and farther north just to mess with your mind. Rest assured that's not the case; there seriously isn't time to get all those wheels installed.
9. The route is pretty uniformly, blessedly flat. For the first 26 miles. In a twist that can only be described as cruel and unusual, the route becomes a steep hill once you pass the 26-mile marker and turn right on Roosevelt. To mitigate the situation, though, there will be another massive crowd there to cheer you on. Drink in as much as your body will let you.
10. Check out your skin after you cross the finish line. You will be covered in homemade salt. You're a margarita! So cheers to you for finishing. You've earned it.

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