Tomorrow, 10-10-10, is the Chicago Marathon.
As a 2 time marathoner (I did the 2003 edition in 4:21:48 – 15,981st place) and a Chicagoan, I thought I would offer some helpful hints for those of you running your first marathon.
Avoid eating White Castle, Popeye's Fried Chicken, or chili the night before the race. If you crap yourself at the 6 mile point, you have to live in your filth for another 20 miles. And that shit is gonna start chafing.
If you crap yourself, no one is offering you a ride to your hotel, either.
Speaking of chafing. Wear band-aids over your nipples. Or at least wear a black, red, or orange shirt. No one wants to see your bloody streaks on the front of your shirt from mile 16 onward.
If you ignore the previous advice, take extra care when getting in the shower, because when the water hits your raw nipples, that STINGS LIKE HELL!
Avoid the first few aid stations. They will only slow you down, and you walk with the herd for the first two miles before you can even START jogging. Plus, since you've been "hyper-hydrating" all night, you've already bespoiled 3 sets of Depends undergarments before the race even started. There is a thing as "too much water" pee boy.
If you don't have a lot of friends lining the course to cheer for you, put your name in big bold letters on the front of your shirt. People will read it, and shout your name in encouragement. "Go Eric!"
It's even funnier to write "NADS" on the front of your shirt, so people shout "GO NADS!"
Left. Right. Left. Right. X 26.2
On Monday, when people say, "You ran 26 miles?", be a dick and correct them. "It's 26.2 miles. The .2 matters." People will appreciate the attitude.
Pheidippides ran the first marathon from Marathon to Athens. He announced victory for the Greek army, then dropped dead. If you croak after crossing the finish line, they aren't going to rename the race in you honor, so lighten the hell up, and enjoy the run.
* Yes, that's a picture of me running the marathon, not some random Google image.
** Yes, I have my own bottle of water with me, that I would fill at aid stations every once-in-a-while. Run like you train. I trained with water. I ran with water. Probably saved me 10 minutes of time not having to deal with the crowds, and being able to take a hit whenever I needed it.