Seldom do I give advice, but for post-marathon days there is a process I believe is essential: Be moderately active, but as lazy as possible. Take for instance, my Chicago Marathon post-race day plan and execution:
1. Book a flight late in the day to provide some lazy morning time. This allows a runner to wake hungry during the night, dig into their goodie bag of miscellaneous bars and fruit, then fall back asleep until the sun peeks through the curtain.
(Too early in the morning for a goodie bag photo.)
2. Walk out of the hotel with no particular destination other than water and sunshine.
3. Learn something even though you didn’t intend to, such as Chicago’s use of solar compactors discovered on our stroll down the street.
4. Watch a fleet of sailboats patiently wait for one the drawbridges to open.
5. Take a silly selfie.
6. Observe Chicagoans outdoing us in the “kick-back” category as they spend their Columbus day kayaking the river, doing some toe-dipping in the fountains and napping in Centennial Park.
7. Find something you didn’t expect to see. For us it was a building that looked like it has always been in the South Loop, but it wasn’t familiar to me.
We asked a couple of Chicago’s finest who happened to be waiting to direct traffic for the parade route (remember, it’s Columbus Day). We learned the building is the Harold Washington Library Center. After a peak inside (well, more than a peak, we stayed awhile and had to convince ourselves to finally leave), we learned it hasn’t always been here. A research librarian told us it was built in the 1980s and opened in 1991.
8. Enjoy the parade. Step back out in the sunshine, find a place to sit on the curb and watch as bands, politicians and vintage vehicles pass by. Yesterday, you and 40,000 other marathoners were the parade. Today, it’s their turn.
Although primarily Italian American, there was participation from every ethnic and cultural group and political organization I was aware of in this city.
9. Retrieve bags from the hotel, grab a cab for Union Station and wave your sister off on the commuter bus.
10. Depart like a real Chicagoan and take the El train to the airport. (Thank you strong young guy who offered to carry my bag up the two flights of stairs to the platform.)
That’s my strategy for a kick-back post-marathon day. How does yours compare?