With 3 weeks until the marathon, my loose joggling training program called for a twenty miler today. So, I stayed in on Saturday night, didn’t drink much, and woke up early. As usual, my joints ached and my feet were sore. This is the price you pay for running every day.
Outside there was a covering of grey clouds and it was drizzling but the temperature was perfect for a nice long, juggling run.
I strung the headphone bud into my right ear, tucking the other one into my hat. Experimentation has shown that this is the best setup for ensuring the ear bud stays put. Also, I think it is important to keep one ear open so you can monitor your surroundings. Urban joggling can be extra dangerous when you can’t hear.
The first few miles I ran rather slowly. When you’re going to be on your feet for nearly three hours, you can’t waste all your energy early. This is the biggest problem new jogglers face. It’s difficult to figure out how to spend enough energy to run fast but not too much energy as to wear yourself out.
The city streets were quiet and desolate. I could hear the sound of the filling crashing against the side of my Gballz as they hit my hands. The constant sound was hypnotizing.
I turned my focus to my audio book, Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie . I was supposed to read this book back in high school in 1987 but skipped it and have felt a twinge of guilt about it ever since. So far, it’s pretty good.
By the time I reached the lakefront the sun was just rising. There was a long line of joggers that looked like a gigantic millipede moving south towards Navy Pier. They were part of an annual Chicago training race sponsored by CARA called the Ready to Run 20 miler. CARA is the most popular running group in the city and first time marathoners participate in their summer marathon training program. They are responsible for numerous herds of people who run on the lakefront path during the summer. For a joggler, it’s great fun to run with and past these groups. You always get loud cheers and smiles. Also, I’m a bit faster than most of them so it feel good to pass hundreds of other runners. It makes you feel faster.
I ran with the masses for a couple miles until finally passing the last straggler. The number of people on the path dropped off significantly and I felt more alone. I stopped at a drinking fountain a took in some water. Strangely, I didn’t feel too thirsty. There is something about running in the rain that reduces the feeling of thirst. Perhaps that’s just in my head.
For the next 5 miles, I steadily made my way up north. I passed the Belmont Harbor, Waveland golf course, the tennis courts, the Montrose hill and Foster beach. When you get that far up north on the running path, you see very few people.
I turned around at Sheradon and could feel some pain developing in my left foot. The Plantar fasciitis was acting up. Since it’s not a significant injury, I just kept going. Running is painful and this is just one of the pains you have to deal with.
When the last chapter of the book I had downloaded finished, I switched to the Point of Inquiry podcast. Subjects that I made it through included, The Search for Bigfoot, Questioning the Existence of Historical Jesus, Christian Nontheism, and a discussion about whether Religion causes terrorism. Interesting stuff, and just the kind of thing that can keep my brain distracted from the pain of a 20 mile run.
On my way back south, I passed another race that had started. This was a small 5K that had started around Lincoln Park Zoo. You could tell there were not a lot of “runners” in the race but mostly people who got roped into the run by one of their family members. I like these types of racers because they cheer extra loud for the joggling. I smiled and did tricks as I passed by. I’m such a show-off.
The 5K racers were gone by the time I crossed the North Avenue bridge. There were more people out though so I still had a good audience. After 17 miles of joggling, it helped boost my spirits. I gulped down some water at the North Avenue beach house then made my way back down the road for home.
By the time I clicked off my watch, it was 10:30 am and I had been joggling for just under 2 hours and 50 minutes. I treated myself to a Diet Dr. Pepper, a ham and cheese wrap, and a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese from Dunkin’ Donuts. It tasted good.
I walked the rest of the way to my home and enjoyed the buzzing in my head which was the last vestiges of my runner’s high. I felt great after this run. And I have lots of confidence that the upcoming Chicago marathon will be an enjoyable one even if I don’t set a PR.