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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