On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10/10/10 Chicago Marathon race report pt. 3: the finale

I've been hard on myself the past few days, if you haven't noticed.  When you're as slow as I am and you have a bad race, it's sometimes hard to discern the difference between "acceptably slow" and "I'm better than this slow."  But now, thanks to the magic of Marathon Foto, I have an objective look at my race and I can officially put Sunday's race into the "I'm better than this" category.

Care to take a scenic walk through the streets of Chicago with me?  Because it's a walk I'm taking in these photos, get it?

The photos aren't all bad!  This one is kind of cute.  Then again, I knew the photographers always hang out here and I'd just had an adrenaline jolt from seeing those Chinese dragons.  (I'm more terrified of Chinese dragons than I am of mummers, and that says a lot.)  (Incidentally, did anyone else notice a ton of frog umbrellas on the course?  It was like they were put out there to torture me.)

You can do it, Tracy!  Smile for the cameras!  What a great race you're having!  It's totally natural to have your right hand balled up into a fist - that's perfect running form and in no way indicative of physical discomfort!

Uh-oh.  What is that look of consternation on your face?  This does not look good for Tracy.  I'm biting my lip in pain here.  Also, I'm walking.  In case you couldn't tell.

Okay, and we're running again.  Totally running.  Just with a vapid, empty look on my face.  Like no one's home.  Completely normal.  At least there's shade.

I really hate people who can a) rock booty shorts and make it work, and b) look near the finish of a marathon as though they've exerted no effort.  I am neither of those people.  Instead, I look like death.

Mile 26.  I'm thinking about quitting.  I love how the woman next to me is all jazz hands/pained expression here.  I also love how this photo is like a minute after the other one, but my expression hasn't changed at all.  Actually, my shoulders might look slightly less slumped in this photo.

Nope...  I take that back.  Shoulders are still slumped.  This is on Roosevelt Road, less than 400m from the finish.  I saw the 400m sign, thought, "Huh.  In an ordinary day, you could do that in like 2 minutes," and I just kept shuffling.  I CLIMBED MOUNT WASHINGTON AND A FREAKING RAILWAY OVERPASS REDUCES ME TO THIS?

This is the finish.  My eyes are closed - not a fluke of photography.  I wanted to die.  I am shuffling.

Take home message: sometimes you feel like you're having a bad day, and it's because you're actually having a bad day.


  1. Sorry...I can see you are in pain, but your comment with the photos...I'm laughing out loud here! You're hilarious!

    Considering the knee injurieS (yep, that's right BOTH knees), I'll try to match these photos after the NY Marathon. That is ofcourse if I finish that thing at all.

  2. Your pictures are hilarious. I know, I can feel your pain, but you have the best facial expressions that actually shows how much pain you're in.

    I got not pictures of me in Chinatown :(

    Maybe you should grab yourself a MCM bib and come run with me on the 31st. So you can have a good recent marathon memory pre-NYM

  3. i too am laughing my butt off in my office chair - oh man you are so funny - "jazz hands"...and i think you look absolutely adorable in every picture! you should be so proud of yourself. just for doing it - for not giving up - for not giving in. for getting your butt out of bed and running in the mornings, for running at night, for running through injury, through obligations, through excuses. you do far more than most will ever do and for that you should be proud :)

  4. total jazz hands- who does she think she is anyway!

    i think you should be proud too.. i have a 'death is approaching pic' too from the NYCM. I find that look to be my running look ;)

  5. Girl, you're commentary is hilarious, but your face in the pix isn't. That was a brutal day. Rest, and get ready for your race of a lifetime! Go, Tracy, go.

  6. I know this wasn't the best experience for you, but do just what you said - chalk it up to a no good, very bad day and leave it at that! What I love about running is that even though we all have bad races, we can always get better, stronger, and there's always another race. Right? :)


    Remind me to send you a link to a series of pictures at a half that I'd planned as a tempo run but ended up almost dropping out of. (Allergy issues led to an asthma attack) There is a super seXXXy few pictures where I appear pregnant and about to either cry or pass out. (I did neither, but came awfully close to the later.)

  8. I love the pictures and the stories with them! I did notice all the frog umbrellas! :)

    Are you going to order any?