So, the original reason for me being in Madison this weekend was the marathon I was supposed to be running in. I backed out, but Sal stayed in, so I was there at 7:30 at the starting line to see him off. Feel free to play Where's Saldo? with this photo from the start:
(Hint: He's the guy who is looking in the direction of the camera and waving.)
While I would have rather trained and prepared and then run, I was certainly glad that, since I hadn't adequately prepared, I wasn't running, because it was going to be WAY TOO HOT to be running a marathon (like 85+ degrees hot), and, even in better shape, I'm exactly the type who wilts in the heat.
Next time I saw Sal was about 12 miles into the marathon, when the route came by the lakeshore path down the hill from the Social Science Building:
I was wearing my running shoes anyway, since by accident they were the only shoes I packed other than my dress shoes, and I ended up running alongside Sal for awhile in jeans. The guilt of talking to this guy who had 14 miles to go in 85+ degree weather due to something I told him we should do together and then flaked out on was e-freaking-normous. Anyway, through some complicated compatriotic reasoning, I decided that I would get some shorts on and run the rest of the way with Sal. Through some sprinting, quick dressing, and arguably illegal parking, I was back beside Sal before he reached Mile 15:
Among the things in my man purse was my ridiculously large cel phone because this was such an impromptu decision that I had to make a couple calls while running to re-coordinate or re-schedule things, including telling Dorotha et al. that I wouldn't be able to take them to watch the finish (the finish line being conveniently at the site also hosting The World's Largest Brat Fest this weekend). Dorotha still came, though, and even made signs that were intended to underscore the difference in deserved praise for Sal and I:
(You might note something blue on my sign. It's a sticker. Why did I warrant a sticker? The sticker is a blue star with one of the points torn off. Says Dorotha: "I've been wondering what I would ever do with this torn and ugly sticker, and then I got the chance to make a sign for you.")
Most of what I seemed to regard as "Sal support" as we ran seemed to comprise providing incessant commentary, taking water and stuff from volunteers just like a legitimate participant (thanks especially to the guy handing out Fla.Vor.Ice), and shouting to spectators to cheer for Sal, even if this meant sometimes claiming he had various ties to the TV show "American Idol." I was surprised at the number of people in the latter half of the race who had brought cowbells; every single one of these people had guy with a man purse yell at them, "More cowbell! More cowbell for Sal!"
If I had thought of myself as being able to do a half marathon, much less a half marathon carrying a man purse on an unseasonably warm day, I would have entered the half marathon. So, not surprisingly perhaps, the Jeremy tank ran empty about a half mile from the finish and I told Sal (and Julieta, who ran the last 2-3 miles with us in regular--stylish, even--clothes) to go ahead. I was, however, able to regroup. My original plan was to duck out right before the finish since I didn't deserve to finish (since I hadn't, you know, started). But by the point I actually reached it, I had swung around the rationalization that since the half-marathoners used the same finish line, I was willing to take the karma hit for crossing. As you can see, by the time I did finish, I certainly looked like I had been through something quite trying:
(I think all you need to know about how shockingly unphotogenic I am is that this is by no means then unflattering photo of me in existence.)
Of course, Sal and I got some photos together as well. If you want to know why I wasn't doing the whole marathon, you need look no further than the creeping-paunchiness evident here:
Sal now wants us to do the Chicago marathon in the Fall. The idea being I would actually run this one all the way from start to finish, so we could get a photo with both of us wearing medals.