This is more deeply personal than most of what I typically post. Let’s see if I can tell it well. And I will tell it in two parts over two days.
Nick shared his Chicago Marathon story with me last night for the first time and I woke up this morning with a parallel running through my mind—another related story that “ran” alongside the re-telling of his difficult crossing of the finish line. He described a bit about the months of training for this event, conditioning not only his muscles, heart and lungs for the strenuous run but also preparing and conditioning his mind. Being a native of the temperate climate of SoCal, and not himself an elite, full-time marathoner, he could not possibly be prepared mentally or physically for the biting cold of that darn world-famous Chicago wind. Oh sure, you’re told about it but until you’re in it and pushing yourself through it for three never-ending hours straight you can’t really know. He said that the course itself was indeed flat (no problem there) including many curves throughout the run. Somewhere in the last mile of twenty-six, after pushing through the gradually developing pain, after psychologically coaching himself that, “yes, you CAN do this” and with every labored breath and every last cell in his body saying, “Enough! End this now,” nearing the finish there was, unexpected to a first-time Chicago marathoner, of ALL things, a dreaded hill. But there was also something else.
To be continued tomorrow . . .