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Catcher in the Chicago Half Marathon – Part 1

Posted Sep 09 2013 4:04pm

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is how I got started with joggling and running and all that kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.  Besides, I’m not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me in the Chicago half marathon this past weekend.  joggler-in-the-rye

Where I want to start telling is the day when I got contacted from a PR firm that knows me from writing a blog about joggling.  You might have heard about joggling, the sport of running while juggling.  Of course, if you’re reading this blog post you might no all about joggling, or running at least.

Anyway, I’ve been training for the Chicago marathon as I usually do every fall when this company contacted me and asked me if I wanted to joggle in the Chicago half marathon.  I thought it was a great idea because I was going to joggle a long run that day anyway and if I did the race, they were going to give me a free t-shirt and there would be a big crowd and everything.  When you get the chance to joggle in front of a big crowd you really should take it.  If you want to know the truth, joggling in front of a crowd is much better than on the sidewalks all by yourself.

On the Friday before the race I rode my bike down to Navy Pier to pick-up my packet.  I wasn’t sure whether this was a good idea because my back hurt like hell and being all hunched over on a bike probably wasn’t the greatest idea.  I forgot to tell you about that.  About a week ago I was lifting a box of heavy books which I was sending out to some people who ordered them and I threw out my back.  It was a pretty stupid thing to do, I’ll admit it, but I hardly didn’t even know I was doing it.  I just picked up the box and it was like someone to shoved a dagger into the left side of my lower back.  It really hurt.  I could barely walk the rest of the day.  I even thought it might make me stop the joggling streak but it didn’t.

When I got to the expo, I chained up my bike and went to get my racing bib.  It was a pretty good expo and they had samples of things like sports drinks and protein bars and all kinds of things like that.  There wasn’t much in the bag they gave you but that’s ok.  Some of these races are ridiculous with the amount of papers and magnets and rice and everything else they give you in these race bags.  I mostly throw these things out and whenever I do that I just imagine the poor volunteer who spent their Saturday afternoon taking the papers and putting it in the bag just so a guy like me could barely look at them and just throw them in the garbage.  This kind of madman stuff drives me nuts.  I did stick around the expo and spin the wheel at the Minute Rice booth.  I won this notepad which I don’t know what I’m going to do with.  I can’t stand throwing away perfectly good paper.

On my ride home I took a different route.  I was going to ride along the lakefront trail, but all of a sudden for no good reason at all except that I was in the mood, I rode on Milwaukee Avenue instead.  They have a bike path there and you can really cruise if you want to.  It was a good ride except for when that guy passed me while I was going up a hill near Chicago Avenue.  I can’t stand it when people pass me, I really can’t.  I especially can’t stand it when they have one of those hipster bikes with only one gear.  I caught up to him at the stop light then stayed ahead of him for the rest of the time until he turned off.  I was pretty winded though.  If you want to know the truth it probably wasn’t the greatest idea because my back hurt like hell and I still had another 6 miles to ride.

After I finally made it home I had to shower, get dressed and go back downtown to meet my wife.  We were going to go to the free happy hour that the Chicago Half marathon PR firm was throwing.  I took a train ride to the city.  Usually I like riding on trains especially when I can listen to new audiobooks like this one about a madman who has a crazy adventure in New York City.  It’s called Catcher in the Rye and I remember it was one of my favorite books when I was a kid.  I haven’t read it in years but I read it a bunch of times when I was younger.  That Holden Caulfield is a real madman.  It’s a pretty good book and all but it’s no Count of Monte Cristo or anything.

The happy hour was fun.  Shannon and I ordered a few beers.  We wanted some of the fancy craft beers but the bartender said that the only beers we could have for free were the Budweiser or Bud Light.  If you want to know the truth, I don’t really care much what kind of beer it is so it didn’t bother me much.  I got Bud Light.  It has less calories so is probably better for me.  Of course, I just end up drinking more so it doesn’t really help that much.  One of these days I’m going to stop drinking.  I really am.

I also loaded up on the free food, nacho chips, guacamole, mini cheeseburgers and pulled pork sandwiches and chicken fingers.   Those thing kill me.  I often say that if I didn’t run every day I would weigh over 500 lbs.  We talked with some real nice people about the race and joggling and things.  Everyone was nice and I didn’t even see any phonies.  Eventually, we went to our favorite karaoke place to belt out a few songs.  I can be a karaoke fiend when I want to be.

We got home late that night after playing a round of cash cab in the cab on the way home.  I sometimes like to horse around in a cab and play Cash Cab where I ask trivia questions and everyone tries to answer them.  It’s a real challenge coming up with good questions but somehow I manage.

The next day we had to go to this wedding and it was a real blast.  There were horse carriages and flamenco dancers and lots of swell people to talk to.  I would’ve liked to stay later but it was out in the suburbs and I had to get up at the crack of dawn the next morning to make sure I got to the race on time.  I’m always having these dreams where I wake up late for a race and get there right when everything has already started.  I don’t know why since I’ve never been late to a race but I sure as hell am nervous about it.

Continued tomorrow in part 2

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