Race Day: Part 1

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I just noticed something a little incongruous about this picture. . .

I drafted something up about last Sunday’s half-marathon, but it keeps getting long and less finished. So, I am going for the serial format. 

The alarm went off at 3:40am, about 3 hours after I had finally settled down to sleep. I grabbed my clothes and tiptoed downstairs, following the smell of “caramelized” oatmeal. This is the 2nd time I have unsuccessfully used the slowcooker the night before a race. Next time I’ll stick with the stovetop, even if it means getting up even* earlier. Or nuke some leftovers.

To muffle the acrid notes, I mixed in some homemade applesauce (gotta keep those apples moving!) Then, I chugged iced coffee that I had (more successfully) prepped the night before, got dressed, checked my gear, and hit the restroom with every runner’s hope: to drop a load before crossing the start line. With only a token success, I moped back to the kitchen to finish packing snacks.

Waitasecond—I thought I already grabbed a bagel.  Meaaaaaatball!

Yes, it was foolish of me to leave food at floor level. But the dog had been sleeping. It was the wrong time of day for his stomach to be rumbling. How did he know?? I can’t get a thing past that beast.

Bagel? What bagel?
Bagel? What bagel?

I hopped on my bike, and pedaled about a mile to the Blue Line through almost empty streets. Just some taxis carrying late night revelers, or making early morning airport runs. Spoiler alert: for the only time in the day, I beat Clare. She clambered to the platform as I was taking a picture of three Logan Squares headed our way. Seconds later, the 4:42am train pulled up—right on time—and we joined other bleary eyed runners clasping clear gear bags and wearing bright non-cotton shirts; we probably tripled the normal passenger load at that hour.

At Washington, the train coughed us up and indifferently rumbled along.** We spread east, merging with more rubber soled pilgrims,  boarded one of the many yellow buses queued up on Michigan Ave., sped down Lake Shore Drive under still dark skies, and arrived. . .1 ½ hours early.  Part 2  Part 3  Postscript

*WTF does “even” even mean in this kind of context? Is it one of those words like “got” that are impossible to explain? Our friend, Jim Redd, lives in Ecuador and during a recent visit challenged us to think about how we would teach “got” to someone who does not speak English.
**I love to anthropomorphise trains. Before succumbing to bike dependency, I took a lot of transit. I wrote many odes and rants about the experiences, usually in situ. That’s something I miss.

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