The professional marathoner list is posted for the Chicago Marathon. (I don't like calling them (us) elite athletes, professional describes the situation much better.) On one hand I am surprised for a 40,000 person race how few people are listed. On the other hand, I expect to get beaten by all of those men, even if I have a good day. In particular I have been using Moses Mosop's training before Boston in 2011 as a guide for what workouts to try. It is especially fitting that I will be "racing" him in Chicago. Let me be clear, he and I are not in the same race. Barring an injury he will have drank and eaten and started jogging a cool down by the time I stumble across the line, hopefully less than 20 minutes later.
This is what it takes to run a 2:03 marathon.
I will be racing multiple Olympians, both men and women. I have raced a number of fast runners before but this is another caliber. These guys daily run faster than my personal records. It is unfortunate because honestly, I like racing to win. I don't like to admit I can't win. Strait up, I can't win the 2013 Chicago Marathon. Unless all the top people go off course... two miles... one way, the opposite direction.
There is a bright spot to this. In the minutes before the race starts I will be feet from some of the very people I read about. These seemingly "invincible" people will stand as mere mortals frightened of the same 26.2 miles that I am. All of us knowing that somewhere after mile 20, the distance will hurt, really bad. I will likely see the same people again after the race, maybe in the medical tent, the massage tent, or casually sipping Gatorade sitting on the curb with a blank look on his face. The distance will destroy all of us, yet one man and one woman will walk away with the sweet satisfaction of knowing that he and she were the least destroyed.