Tomorrow over 45,000 people will attempt to finish the Chicago Marathon. I know well of the pain and exhilaration. From 1988 through 2001, I gave it my best effort (conquering the 26.2 mile course 9 times).
In 1988, my first Marathon attempt was thwarted by a massive amount of pain in my left knee. I had made it about 18.5 miles before I finally gave in. I tore something in the knee and limped for about 4 months.
The next year, I trained harder, ran slower and refused to quit. I finished in just under 6 hours. It wasn't a very good time, but it didn't matter. The accomplishment (and the medal) was mine!
I ran a couple Marathons with Louie. I ran some in other cities (Madison, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York and Boston). I finished Madison and Cleveland (twice) fairly uneventfully. I was forced out of Indy early due to the flu. In New York, I persevered through 5 hours of rain to finish. Heat Exhaustion ended my Boston Marathon around mile 19.
In 2001, I ran what would be my last Marathon (to date at least). It was a slow, plodding, painful day, but I made it to the finish in about 5.5 hours.
A picture is worth a thousand words. See that nice Marathon stand in front of me? Usually, the picture is taken with the finisher standing proudly on top of it. I was in such pain that I could not "climb" the steps.
I am not sure if I have any Marathons left in me. I am proud of what I have accomplished. I wish good luck, nice weather and smooth running to every runner out there tomorrow. I'll be watching (painlessly).