Do you need a GPS navigator in a stone jungle? Can beans be mirrored? What for do doctors suck the blood out of runners? Chi-pizza or what does it mean “a delicious pizza”?
And here I am – in the City of Winds. The first thing that catches your eye is the architecture. A Zoo of skyscrapers with different shapes, styles, colors, ages.
The highest skyscraper in the United States is also here – Willis Tower. You may see 4 states from its observation tower: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
In this city, were introduced first vacuum cleaner, Ferris wheel, zipper and operas. The longest continuous street in the world is located in Chicago. And the world’s first skyscraper was built here. In a word, this is an iconic city…
A large Marathon – a large expo. In the morning, I took off to waste some time and money at the Exhibition of Achievements for marathoners. A huge pavilion, hundreds of stands, thousands of people.
Everyone feeds you with different useful and useless sports jogging feedstuffs. Pour strange, colorful liquids. Make photos of you running with Chicago on the background, count the finishing time, sell other marathons, draw pizza lotteries, try to talk you into buying used sneakers, give souvenirs and even give out numbers with chips. Holy mackerel!
To start with, I lit Moldova on a huge world map led-screen —
Then I gave some blood for a vampire party —
Found my name on a car —
Reminded everyone that Moldova rules —
Drooled over the future medals —
Bought some stuff —
And of course, I took my number and took photos with the comrades. We will run with Artyom Nekrasov from Moldova (now lives in Chicago)
In the evening, we made a pizza party, because eating pasta in Chicago, knowing about the unique chi-pizza, would be a real sin. Oh, our acquaintances, friends and locals have very reasonable deafened our ears that we must try Chicago delight – the pizza is indeed fantastic.
In 1943, the Chef of Chicago pizzeria “UNO” Ike Sewell came up with a unique pizza recipe, which subsequently became one of the most popular types of pizza in the US. It is a pizza, with high edges, the base of which is soaked with olive oil, the filling is laid on it, after which a huge amount of “Mozzarella” cheese comes, and finally the branded tomato sauce with herbs, oregano, basil and some Parmesan cheese. Thanks to all this, the pizza turns incredibly juicy, tasty and nourishing.
After that, the whole crowd watched a useful video about the Chicago race in Russian by Denis Makarov, thanks to him for it. Where to stay, where to sit where the start and finish are, how to run, how to run till the end and a lot of other useful information about the Chicago Marathon. Really hit the point.
A walk home through the evening skyskraped handsome city, and before bedtime – checking the equipment, gels, loperamide and pep. Everything seems to be present. Hrrr – hrr..
Early in the morning, taking my bag of clothes, I went to the start, cheerfully munching a Snickers bar. I remember the New York Marathon – darkness, skyscrapers, people like springs, running and uniting in a big river that spills into the Grand Park. It is there in 2 hours the dam will be opened, and multicolored waves will smash tens of thousands of runners around the city.
I have never seen so many restrooms. Not in one marathon. Simply a city of restrooms. Still, here and there you see half-an-hour queues. In fact, I could bow to the organizers of the marathon – a perfectly oiled machine. Everything’s clear, timely, prudent, thoughtful. What can you say – it’s World Marathon Majors. The best :)
And so I made my way to the starting pens. Ok, what is my wave? Yeah, F. Where is F out there? Stop, how can it be F? Why? At registration I have indicted my planned time (3:30) and should be somewhere in the fast waves – A or B, well, maximum C.
I slowly begin to understand that my wave is sooooo not the first or even the second, but A, B, C, D, E, F- sixth …. Damn. This means that I will run with the guys, who pretend to 4:30-5:00, which means that I will have to be zigzagging past at least 10,000 people. And it means that I lose 10 minutes from my result. And this already means that all my plans for the race are really wasted…
But how did this happen? I met Artem and spout him my sadness, and received a simple answer – the organizers have sent out a letter to confirm your planned speed with a reference on the results of your best marathon.
And I, frankly, after receiving dozens of letters from the organizers with different advertising and training information, just stopped reading them carefully. So, I missed the important message…
In the meantime, the wheelchair athletes started. I admire these inflexible guys. I think that next year’s marathon in Chisinau will be opened namely by them.
By the way, right now we are looking for an opportunity to help Ilya Shtefyrtsa with the purchase of a racing wheelchair.
So, where was I … Aha, I remember, I understand that grieving is not an option decided to improve my position to the maximum, and having included the elbows, I began to wade through the impenetrable wall of muscles towards the first line. And here I am standing in the front row with the same inattentive marathon runners, making a poker face in front of the cameras and waiting for my wave start. Here run away the C, then the D, our wave is now…
I want to take my hat off in front of the man, who came up with such a thoughtful start moment: we are surrounded by skyscrapers on three sides, and the sun is just coming out. And then exactly at the scheduled time, with no solemn speeches, under the catchy songs of the Rolling Stones everyone begins to run. Adrenalin fills you up and you have to struggle with yourself not to break into a sprint. You are surrounded by the rows of skyscrapers, and have ahead of you – the entire city.
So it rolled. I run one of the first in my wave, the wall of the previous one being in front. And soon we cut into it like a hot knife through butter! Despite the sharply increased population density, I manage to find long corridors and seep between the photographing leisurely runners. So far, the pace is good –4:50
And the city of Chicago roars! According to the organizers, we are being welcomed by about 2 million of inhabitants. And this is something really grand! Right and left the crowds of screaming, honking, trumpeting, bouncing, stretching their arms, waving the posters Chicagoans and the city visitors!
We ran through the city and each district was trying to surprise the runners. Musicians were rocking hard – rock, Elvises, cheerleaders, drummers and saxophonists were filling muscle, killed with glycogen, and running was getting easier.
Every time I am running marathons, I imagine the same support in my hometown Chisinau. And I understand that this is not going to happen soon. But be sure that it will happen, and we together with the Sporter team will do everything possible for this!
I am outrunning groups of people. Zigzags. There’s a wall at the feeding stations. I am hewing my passage through the crowd. I take a look at the pace and just can’t believe my eyes – 7:20 per km. The tempo of quick step. How’s that, what’s going on again? In a minute, the pace is 3:40. What’s happening? I look up from and everything’s becoming clear – we are running into a gorge. A real gorge of skyscrapers.
This means that you can forget about the gps. And remember about the math. To keep an even pace, you need to understand what your running speed is. And if the devices are lying, you should to be guided by the markings on the road and the watch, calculating the speed in mind. And so I ran the next 30 km, constantly calculating my pace based on the markings.
But at the 30th km, despite the efforts of the audience and jazz band, overtaking thousands of people began to affect me and I started to slow down.
By the fortieth kilometer I was running in 6 minutes pace, but having learned from the experience of New York, I have decided not to run through the screaming torn tendons, and just quietly suffered, singing:
The grove was smoking under hill, and with it only sunset burnt… We were remaining only three of eighteen guys there used to be.
And here comes the finish line. I accelerate and fly to the treasured line. If you were in Chicago at the finish arch on October 11, 2015 around noon, you would see a man in a yellow T-shirt, who 50 meters before the finish stumbles and waving his arms, like in slow motion, flies on the asphalt. Caboom!
I open my eyes and find myself lying in front of the arch, and, finishers are running here and there, proudly raising their hands. A thought flashes to crawl to the finish line and get on the local TV, but on my shirt, proudly looking into the future, I have an eagle on the national emblem of Moldova, so I get up and finish, without disgracing the country.
3:39. As planned – extra 10 minutes :) But I was not killed in tatters and I am smiling! Medal, water, smiles, photos, skyscrapers, more water, volunteers, mirrored bean, banana, beer, applause, cape, more water on my head…
In such moments you are covered by such feelings, as if endorphins, dopamine and serotonin simultaneously haste into your brain in a crazy cocktail and you stand there, like a fool, and smile with happiness.
And then I decided to go for a massage. I never went there before, and this time I have decided to do it. A proper massage accelerates the removal of toxins from the body and accelerates the blood, due to which the nutrients, required for body restoration, are delivered quicker to the repair parts, and the muscles become more elastic.
While as the one that the volunteer-girls make after marathons – calms the nervous system, brings pleasant thoughts of wife, left in a distant country, and, finally, allows simply lying down after a hard race. But there is not even a sign of any effect for the muscles and tendons. Nevertheless, thank you very much, unknown girl, for pleasant moments under the gentle hands!
And here is my Moldavian friend. Let’s get to taking photos with the flag!
After the race, snacks, massage and changing clothes, people head up to the park, where the scenes are located and the artists are performing. Music, hugs, lying on the ground, dancing, drinking, smiling and other consequences of the hormonal storm.
In the evening, by the good tradition, we have been celebrating our medals with compatriots throughout the entire city. Egegey!
In the end, I would like to say that the Chicago Marathon is one of the six greatest marathons in the world for a reason. It’s really cool.
So, two majors behind, four more left. Tokyo, wait for us in February!