Saturday, July 28, 2012

13.1 Chicago (get by with a little help from my friends)

Last year, when i ran this race, it was black flagged due to heat and unfortunately someone passed away from heat exhaustion.

The sun was already shining hard before the gun but i knew it wasn't going to be as bad as last year.  Started the race with a nice pace.  The path winds through areas rich in chicago history.
From their website
The 13.1 mile course takes you along the Lake front Path past La Rabida Hospital. After passing the hospital, you will run through Jackson Park, home of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, the Osaka Japanese Garden, a strolling garden on Wooden Island. You will then pass the Museum of Science & Industry, the only original building remaining from the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and one of the largest science museums in the world. You will then head back to the Lakefront Path to almost 35th Street before heading back south, past the 63rd Street Beach House and finishing at the SSCC. This course is 13.1 miles of perfect Windy City experience.

Got settled into a nice pace quickly and enjoyed the scenery and shade throughout the beginning of the course.  That area always makes me reflective of the Worlds Fair, the book Devil in the White City and all the stories of individuals that came to the fair.  So, i found myself in a daze, just chugging miles and enjoying life.  At about mile 11, i saw the Chicago PD bagpipe guys and they chirped me up to finish strong.

However, right after i passed them, the runner carnage began.  There were three people really close to each other all needing help.  One of which required CPR and the other an ambulance.  I stopped to check but those two didn't need any help as official Medsupport was there.  The last guy, Jesus, was lying on the side of the road cramping really bad.  Because the other two people were much higher priority, the medics didn't even notice him.  Me and another guy stretched his legs and stayed with him.  We also looked for a medic/golf cart or something as he wanted to quit but we couldnt find one as they dispersed already attending to higher priority runners.

So, i decided i would stay with Jesus and walk with him.  He said for us to go ahead and leave him but I could see he needed to help and wanted to stay with him.  Told the other runner to go as I wanted to help. After a bit more stretching,he decided he wanted to finish. This was his first half, i am guessing he was dehydrated which caused the cramps.   We hobbled, i stretched him here and there and we kept forging on.  It was really inspiring helping someone finish.  He said his girlfriend would be at the finish which definitely pushed for him to the finish line. 

When i was running through the chute, one of my coworkers was there and yelled my name.. was so grateful to see her (even though i didn't recognize her at first) and later met up with Josh & Scott whom i greeted me with sweaty kisses and hugs.  Although I am not normally really concerned about time, this race was DEFINITELY not about it.  It was about fellow athletes helping one another and pushing each other to the finish line.  Perfect strangers developing a bond... love that.

Sidenote:  Jesus told me he worked at a car dealership and had to work a shift that afternoon.. i am guessing that was going to be worst than the half!

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