The week I started considering signing up for a marathon, I decided to try running 6 miles. I usually only ran 3-4 miles, and the 6 didn’t end up being so bad. The next weekend, I tried 8 miles. This time, I felt like sick to my stomach and like I was going to throw up. I knew I could do it, but I realized I needed to get educated on how to train. I spoke with some people at my work who had run the Boston Marathon about training programs and tips on nutrition before, during , and after runs. I learned about Gu energy gels and that some people stop at a convience store to grab water in the middle of a run. I also got a book, Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide by Hal Higdon. I thought the book was informative and had humor, which made it fun to read. It definately inspired me to train more, and train properly. I wanted to make sure I ate enough of the right foods and didn’t get hurt overtraining. My favorite quote in the book is:
In all honesty, this is why a lot of runners run, and why they train for marathons. Their common motto is “I love to eat.”
This is me on the dot. I LOVE food and eating!
The question was, which marathon would I choose? Try the Boston Marathon? Heck no! Don’t get my wrong…I know some people who raise enough money and run Boston as their first and get addicted to running after that; I felt like I wanted to take my time and ease into it so I didn’t scare myself away. I did some research on marathons and found that the Chicago Marathon was a good starter because it was a flat course. With my boyfriend, Dave, being in graduate school, it is often difficult to get him away from his work; Since Dave went to school an hour outside of Chicago at Valparaiso University, I knew if the marathon was in Chicago he’d want to go so he could also meet up with some friends. I also spoke to Dave’s college roommate, Kurt, and he said his girlfriend, Kim, was thinking of running the Chicago Marathon. It was settled, I signed up! I paid the fee and knew I had to do it.
I started my training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2009 in March 27, 2009. I was so terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do it, so I started sooner than some of the typical 18 week training programs had suggested. I dreaded running, especially when it was too hot, raining out, or anything but pleasant out, so I wanted to make sure I gave myself enough time to train. The typical novice programs have only one 20 miler scheduled. During my training, I ended up running 20 miles 3 times and moving myself up to the Advanced I training program. I was able to do this because I had started training early.
I will never forget the first time I did 20 miles…as I was finishing up, I could barely jog; I was doing more of a slow walk with the motions of a jog than an actual jog. As I was about half a mile from my finish, my boyfriend was starting off on his 3 mile run. As he passed me, he went to give me a high five but I missed the high five. When he arrived home from his run, he had said, “I was going to go back to give you a high five again, but I thought you might fall over!” Nevertheless, I made it through two more 20 milers, each time better than the previous! After training, I now don’t mind running in the heat, rain, or cold weather. I look at it as a challenge. Only thing I fear is getting sick. I got sick once, two weeks before the marathon. I felt doomed. I took a day of from work and slept all day and took 2 days off from running. The rest paid off and I felt healthy and ready to run when it came time to go!
We went into Chicago and stayed at a really nice hotel, the Habitat Corporate Suites Network Presidential Towers. There were 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, kitchen, and walk in closets! AMAZING! Perfect for us.
The expo was fun. There were so many vendors there and foods to try. It really got me pumped up for the race. Dave and Kurt had fun too pretending the building was a jungle gym and being their goofy selves.
The day of the marathon, it was so cold! I had never run in such cold weather! Despite picking out an outfit the night before with Kim and Rachel, it took me nearly an hour in the morning to actually decide on what I was going to wear. I settled on nike running shorts, a long sleeve shirt, and a tank with my bib pinned on it. Rachel came up with this idea, because if we got too hot, we could just take off the long sleeved shirt underneath and not have to repin our bib. It ended up, that I never needed to take that long sleeve shirt off! I also kept my gloves on the entire time, except for when it was Gu time! My water belt also was helpful. At first, I was thinking that I would depend on the water stops, but after having participated in a half marathon with water stops, I decided that the cups were too difficult to drink from; I usually ended up spilling it all over myself or had to stop to actually get iany water into my mouth. I was nervous and the last thing I wanted to worry about was getting hydrated. My trustworthy water belt and easy to use water bottles were by my side.
What was your first race?
What first motivated you to run?