Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm Going to Chicago!

The Chicago Marathon is one of five World Marathon Majors. It’s going to be run on Sunday, October 7, 2007. It’s already full.

How does this happen? The race increased its number of entries from 40,000 last year to 45,000 this year. And it filled up last week, almost six months in advance of the race.

After doing the National Marathon four weeks ago, I took a little time off to reflect on whether I wanted to do another marathon in the fall. I recovered quickly from National, however, to the point where only two days ago I ran a 1:16:05 at the GW Parkway 10-Miler, which is just ninety-one seconds off the PR I set at Army last fall when I was in peak form.

My friends have been talking up Chicago to me. It’s flat and fast, they say. I liked the sound of both those things, because the hills really bothered me the last ten miles at National, and I’m only five minutes off a BQ. (At dinner at a steak house a little while after National, celebrating Jeanne's recovery from surgery, Bex's long Half, my marathon and A's Cherry Blossom. I can't remember if we were talking about Chicago, we were probably talking about food!)

By last week, I had decided to sign up for Chicago. I ran New York last November, another Major, and I loved it! (It helped that I am from New York City.) But New York is not a BQ-friendly course.

I fell hard for Chicago. Doing another Major would be cool, I thought. I would be in the same advanced "C" starting corral with some of my friends, most of whom I can keep up with, at least for awhile. We would be ahead of the mass pack of runners. That’s one of the things that sapped my energy at New York, the congested condition of the course for the entire 26 miles. All that sideways running wore me out.

I tidied up some outstanding matters. Two weekends ago I found all my tax documents and filed for an extension. I got my birthday celebration out of the way. (Thanks for the calls, notes and presents, kids. Not!) Last Wednesday I ran my monthly noontime 3K race at the Tidal Basin. My "pressing" tasks completed, I was ready to make my commitment to Chicago.

A half hour after I returned from the Tidal Basin run, A came into my office to tell me Chicago was closed. It had filled up that very day.

I was stunned. I felt like I did the day during my divorce when I came home and found court papers tacked to my door announcing that my minor children were supposedly suing me, supposedly over a "fiduciary" matter. (The case was ultimately thrown out and their Mother was sanctioned, and then assessed all of my appellate costs, almost $50,000 in all. Sadly, years later my now-majority age children still don't see me or speak to me.)

Jilted, I cast about for a substitute. I got excited about Steamtown for awhile and it’s net downhill of almost a thousand feet. I ogled at its elevation (or declination) chart. But, Scranton? Someone told me it's where the NBC series "The Office" is based. I didn't see the draw.

But like an ongoing stormy romance, I received another chance. A came into my office this afternoon and explained to me about charity running. She too was kicking herself for not registering for Chicago in time, but who among us knows what they are going to be doing six months from now? No one knew the race was about to fill up.

A registered for Chicago last year, got injured and had to scratch. She ate her entry fee. The purchase of a $100 t-shirt, was how she termed it. And the shirt sucked, she added.

A had been talking before Chicago had closed about maybe running for a charity. She had found a qualifying charity that benefitted two causes she felt deeply about, education and helping persons from impoverished circumstances.

This charity still had seven entries available for Chicago. The charity required a commitment of $500 worth of fund raising. Whatever you don’t raise, you owe. Paying that amount would be a body slam but it wouldn’t be a death blow (some charities require a commitment of several thousand dollars).

I was seduced. Every marathoner should run for a charity at least once, I figured. I used my American Express card for the $110 race entry fee. I used my Capital One card for the $500 charity commitment. A took my forms and her forms off to the fax machine.

Now there are five slots left for A Running Start Foundation instead of seven. It’s a wonderful charity, folks. It’s going to be a wonderful race.


jeanne said...

it's all good. now just ask some friends to donate to your cause (which you can do over at completerunning.com, btw, just click on the giant "Fundraising" link) and you'll recoup your investment! (and hey, I sent you birthday greetings!!)

Anonymous said...

You cannot compare my news to news of the fiduciary suit! I'm much nicer (and I was only breaking OLD news). -A

peter said...

(Anonymous said...You cannot compare my news to news of the fiduciary suit! I'm much nicer (and I was only breaking OLD news). -A)

A, it was an unfair comparison. You are MUCH nicer and I apologize to you. I am sorry to be such a Johnny-One-Note over having had all of my children effectively taken away from me through Parental Alienation Syndrome (“PAS”) during my interminable divorce, even though I have always had full joint legal custody and have always fully supported them. It just about destroyed me to lose my three sons through PAS.

In “Time Has Come Today” the Chambers Brothers sing:

My love has flown away (Hey)
My tears have come and gone (Hey)
Oh my Lord, I have to roam (Hey)
I have no home (Hey)

That’s how I feel about the occurrence of a “fiduciary” suit being filed against me "by" my minor children during my divorce (with their Mother’s name on it because one child was too young to be on court papers). This reprehensible, abusive and cowardly conduct by "responsible" adults destroyed both my children's childhoods and my fatherhood. My children never visited me again after this harassment lawsuit was tossed out of court in March, 2003. They never again felt the exertion of a paternal influence during their teenage years. I won’t tell you how I feel about the Arlington County (VA) court or the contemporary American jurisprudence system for being an active enabler and passive participant in this total destruction of my family. PAS is real and is being increasingly wielded against fathers in our society to the detriment of all of our children.

Anonymous said...

No need to apologize--I was kidding. Really. I just had NO idea that you'd really put your mind to doing Chicago! And I certainly didn't know I was dealing the crushing blow! (I would have prepped you better had I known!) ;p

And trust me--those of us who know you know that you do your best to deal with the loss every day. We admire how you handle yourself in the face of it all.

Just12Finish said...

Peter - do we really need to develop more Kenyan runners? Just kidding!