Good Luck, Marathoners

Tomorrow is the day that finds Chicago clogged with brave folks attempting to cover 26.2 miles of urban terrain on foot.  My brother Mike, of the triple bypass, ran the Chicago marathon about 15 years ago.  He had trained extensively, and at the time it was his crowning glory. 15 years ago, he was sure healthy food, lifestyle and statins would guarantee him heart health.  Sometimes the heart knows what the heart knows. Now his arthritic knees and zippered chest remind him of the folly of believing that you can run forever. There is great joy to be had in a walk: you save the wear and tear on your knees, you see the sights, and you probably will not have a "heart event."  But marathoners who walk will pull in at suppertime, and the climax will have long since passed.  They can still feel accomplished, but the acclaim will be the quiet kind.  The paper cup passing, blanket wrapping helpers will be more impatient than excited.  Still, a personal goal is a personal goal.  You go, walkers!  I honor your wisdom and pacing.  

Heat Casualties Force Premature End To Chicago Marathon

It will be a chilly day, and that is a concern for the runners.  The body works hard to keep the heart from working overtime, and ingesting chilled air will send mixed messages to the brain.  The benefit of the cool air is that runners will not be drinking large quantities of water, which is apparently as dangerous as an overworked heart.  

The "runner's high" is something that I never experienced.  I am ridiculously pigeon-toed, and when my legs get tired, they tangle up.  It is not a good look.  During my knee rehab (a pre-requisite for replacement, despite the absence of a scintilla of cartilage) I discovered that I have been walking incorrectly my entire life.  How can I be so uncoordinated that I walk wrong?  I am flat-footed, I guess, and the ideal gait is heel to toe.  You rock instead of land on your feet.  I guess I can see that shock absorption would be better with the heel hitting first.  AT the same time, I may just be too old to change.  I wonder if those MBT shoes would help?  Has anyone used them?  I dithered with the notion of getting Earth Shoes, but I feel like I would really go spastic in them.  They have a few models that they call couture, but I beg to differ.  There is no such thing as industrial couture.
Tomorrow I will stay home and read the paper, have coffee and send cosmic good wishes to the runners, and especially the walkers and wheelchairs.  I hope they have the same pride my brother had in his accomplishment, and great memories.  I also hope that no one suffers any harm.  My advice:  buy every bit of Marathon memorabilia that you see, just in case you come to your senses and decide to free your body from this exercise.  Once is enough. 


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  • Janet, great article. Reminded me of the Portland Marathon I walked exactly 10 years ago yesterday. I trained with Team In Training (Leukemia Society) I can relate to the part about getting done around supper time. There were a few people left around by the time I was done. Even the photographer was packing up! I was just estatic to know I was not last! About the last 4 miles when I was ready to quit, my dear friend who walked with me just kept pulling me by the arm and encouraging me. Well, she felt she was encouraging, I was about ready to hit her in the head with a rock if I had the strength to bend down and pick one up. You know your near the back of the pack when the last motorcycle cop is following behind you :) Thanks for the memories you have brought me this Sunday morning.

  • In reply to MsYvonne2U:

    At least you have the memory of accomplishment! I would have hitched a ride with the cop! And you were infused with a good cause, something the Kenyans cannot assert.

  • In reply to MsYvonne2U:

    Janet, I bought a pair of Skechers Shape Ups, which is a type of MBT shoe. They really do work. The first few times I wore them my unused muscles hurt so bad! Now I can wear them all day at work with no problem. They aren't the most stylish, but my white ones look just like regular sneakers unless you look at the soles.

  • In reply to dolphinlover:

    ANYTHING that will help me walk properly and save my other knee is on my to do list. The posture help would be appreciated, too. I am going to take the plunge-

  • In reply to dolphinlover:

    Janet, I have flat feet and other significant issues...I got the MBTs (and paid a dear price!) and I could not stand to wear them at all! I was so disappointed because I had such high hopes. My neighbor got them also but they didn't help her either. I do like FitFlops (but I guess it's not the season). I wore them all summer. Do you have custom orthotics? They are a must!

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