something always fires the light that gets in your eyes


the chicago marathon was an amazing experience... from a spectator's perspective it was inspiring and exciting... from a marathoner's perspective (based on what JP told me, of course) it was greuling, emotional and challenging.

the weekend as a whole was fun as shit. friday night JP and i did a little carbo-loading at a local pasta joint and stopped by big chicks for a drink. saturday was HOT.. forshadowing?!.. we were going to go see an outdoor sculpture exhibit, but opted for a movie instead. we saw ang lee's new flick.. Lust, Caution. It was beautiful and brutal with extended scenes of intense sex. later that night we met up with some of JP's buddies and went to a BBQ on an amazing patio overlooking the beach and lake michigan. highlight... portillo's chocolate cake. we ambled over to JP's apartment at a respectable 9:30pm and made final preparations (including writing "JP" on both of JP's arms with a sharpie) for the marathon and headed to bed nice and early.

JP got up at 5:00am on sunday and woke me up at around 5:45am. we met JP's friends and fellow-runners, Dan and Joe on the train and headed down to grant park. i split up with the boys and sought out a good place to view the start... at this point it was already getting a bit warm out.

after seeing the wheelchair start and the contingent of frontrunners i headed up to boystown to meet a couple of JP's friends and do the first round of cheering. it took no time at all to get into the spirit of the race. within a few minutes we were yelling words of encouragement out to anyone who had their name on their shirt or skin... we of course went extra crazy for all of JP's fellow aids marathoners. about 15 minutes before JP, Joe and Dan passed us i recieved a surprising call from JP saying that the aid stations were out of water and that we should go buy some to hand off. luckily his friend Karl came prepared with a few bottles. JP's friend Anders made three amazing posters mounted on foamcore (pictured above)... evidently there's some sorta bear/otter taunting betwixt them. we screamed our asses off when the boys finally ran by... signs were thrust in the air and we doged the local faggotry as we sprinted down broadway a couple of times so that we could get ahead of the boys and cheer them on again. highlight of this stretch was getting a kiss from JP as he stopped for a second to grab a bottle of water from me.

next stop was caribou coffee for some cheering fuel. Anders' BF, Chris, came by to pick us up and drive us down to the cheering point. we struggled to find a parking spot in little italy but finally found a place convieniently close to a supermarket. we went in and stocked up on supplies.. bottled water, a 7lb bag of ice, disposable dishtowels and ziplock bags. by the time JP made it to us at mile 18 it was rediculously hot out. when we saw him coming down the road we knew it was time for us to kick into action. Anders and i ran out to meet JP, bags in tow. we refilled his water bottle, gave him ice-cold wet rags, fed him ice, gave him ziplocks of ice to put under his hat, all while running along side him and cheering him on. i ain't gonna lie and say he looked great... he was definitely feeling the effects of the heat and humidty. i think we helped him a good bit.. we also selectively distributed ice and rags to other aids marathoners who were running near JP. by mile 19 we broke off from JP and waited curbside for a few minutes for Dan... we gave him the same ice/water/cheer treatment until mile 19.5.

somewhere between mile 18 and 19 was where we first started hearing that the marathon had been called. the cops were doing a sort of shitty job at telling people to stop running and to walk the rest of the way. things like "give it up, this is a fun run now" don't really resonate with folks who have been training for months for the race and who had struggled through 18 miles of heat and inadequate water stations. many people were walking, but you could tell that most were planning on finishing the race. many people would slow to a walk whenever they would pass a police officer and then resume running once they got past.

i broke away from the marathon route and parted ways with Anders after the stretch in pilsen. i headed back over to grant park by foot. let me tell you... i swear i thought it was over one hundred degrees out at that point. by the time i made it to the foot of the park i saw that people were picking up the pace for the home stretch. i got word from Karl that he was running the last 6 miles with JP and that they were nearing the final stretch. i was so fucking happy when i finally spotted JP on roosevelt right befor the final turn. i sprinted down the sidewalk screaming his name and dodging through the crowd. when i couldn't run any deeper into the crowd i stood on my toes and was able to see JP cross the finish line with a smile on his face and his arms in the air! weirdly and appropriatly, mushaboom started playing over the PA system the second JP crossed the finish.

we spent the next few hours in charity village as JP and Dan cooled down and stretched. JP felt a little crappy during the train ride back to his apartment, but we were able to remedy it with a quick stop for a few bottles of water along the way. after a few hours of R&R we headed to sidetrack for "church" where we met up with JP's whole crew and celebrated his run! a quick bite to eat at crew followed by a good night's sleep capped off a long and eventful day.

monday seemed to fly by way too fast. i packed up my stuff and enjoyed my last few hours alone with JP. then we headed down to his office and then to giordano's for some great chicago deepdish pizza. JP took me on a little walking tour of the gold coast and we sat for a few minutes on the beach and savored the august in october weather.

all in all... yet another great fucking time in chicago with JP. good times rolled together with his amazing marathon accomplishment made for a perfect weekend.


more marathon pics.



Blogger Papagayo said...

dude, crew? big chicks? you're killin me here. i miss living in chicago. i'm glad your friend got to finish- my girl mari finished too, like you said, no way they're stopping after all that training...

5:07 PM  
Anonymous kevin (in chicago) said...

during the final few miles, there was a low-flying helicopter ordering us not to run. and at one point, a cop, through his squad car PA, announced that "running is a felony". no joke. and not just a misdemeanor... a felony!

it was a crazy scene...

and as one of those runners with their names on their shirts, thank you!

6:29 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Hey Paul...
We don't know each other but I wanted to get in contact with you regarding an old post of yours. If you happen to read this, please contact me at wickedphobic@yahoo.com

12:22 AM  
Blogger -=|Ë¡ Jöãö!?|=- said...

great! NY is amazing!

6:53 AM  

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