As I set out to run my regular Sunday training run, building towards that October marathon I had lingering in the back of my mind, I was contemplating the small but still-possible chance that somehow, come Thanksgiving weekend, I'd be travelling to Chicago to lace up for a 42.2 klick jaunt through the windy city. It was a though simultaneously nerve-wracking, daunting, and yet motivating.
COVID has kicked the shit out of race season. The reality is that nothing is going to happen except for a handful of virtual races. The 2020 medal lineup is going to be punctuated with memories of laps around the local park to track miles for electronic submission. No amazing cities. No travel runs. No crowded expos. Just a summer of training with no expectations... other than stay healthy. Mind. Body. Soul. Virus.
We've been building towards a half marathon virtual, but the ultimate goal has always been to be (hypothetically) ready for the big one: The Chicago Marathon 2020.
We plugged out an almost sixteen klick long slow race, the heat kicking in for the last five... then stopped for slurpees because why the hell not on a sunny Sunday morning in July?
I staggered home, tired and over-sugared, to be met with the wife giving me the news that Expedia had messaged her about URGENT changes to our October travel plans. Long-story-short, we took a cancellation of the full booking with a two year travel credit.
No flights to Illinois.
No Chicago hotel by the park.
The race is technically still on, and perhaps that story will evolve more soon, but for me the event will be something I read about, or think about, or ponder abstractly... from afar... while eating turkey at home.
One last training run for Chicago and just like that, no more.