All tagged Chicago Marathon
Marathon training puts time and distance into relative perspective. Once you prove you can run seventeen miles on a Saturday morning, jogging a quick five constitutes an easy run. Six miles is nothing. It’s a breeze. It feels like less work than walking across the street to pick up my dry cleaning. Christ, I hate running errands.
The decades that have passed. The experiences that came when I was tender and new. Experiences that have happened since and may happen again, but they’ll never feel quite like they did when they were the first time or when there was less to lose and far, far less scar tissue. As I clip past the miles, it becomes clear to me that life experience can have a way of dulling life’s experiences. Like running a marathon, it takes a lot of strength and self-awareness to overcome that mopey thought and figure out new ways to enjoy familiar wonder.
Jim Von Handorf ran marathons for the same reasons he climbed mountains: to escape and to conquer.
A career fireman in Nashua, New Hampshire, Jim was an outdoorsman to the fullest. He climbed mountains, bouldered, swam, bicycled and ran. His daughter, Amy explains that her dad could never really sit still. That he had a constant need to just go, go, go. He grew up in a small, Boston apartment with a lot of people. The bustling tightness of the city drove him to get out. It was always in his nature to escape. He was into Thoreau and Kerouac. He needed space. So he headed into the wild. His mountaineering expeditions he made with his buddies took him to peaks all over the country where he would test his mettle against the elements and his own limits.
He even showed esophageal cancer that he was not one to go down easy.
The changes in weather and running routes made for a cornucopia of uncertain and enjoyable scenery. Each run was an adventure and it challenged me to stay loose and attentive and fleet on my feet and to mind my body so as not to overheat or underhydrate or freeze off my skinny fingers.
Bomb shelters, makeshift bunkers mean certain death. To survive, we must keep moving. Word of clean air has spread like gossip. It’s always just over that ridge or two clicks beyond that hill. And so we run. Speed, strength, and endurance are our only hope for survival. This is our marathon.
What was I thinking?
I’m running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Why? Because I’m forty. Because I haven’t run a marathon before. Because I need an excuse to get off my writer’s ass and move so I can live long enough to not die. Because I believe in the mission of Gilda’s Club Chicago and fundraising by running seems to be a pretty great way to get money out of your friends and family. So I am running as a member of Team Gilda.
But my god, I’m behind the ball on this.
Does Elmo go to school? Because I wouldn’t mind seeing that little red monster take a bullet in a school shooting.