With a 6 mile run on Thursday, my Chicago Marathon training came to a close. Now, only 26.2 miles of Chicago city streets stands between me and my goal as a marathon runner.
Although running a marathon has never been on my bucket list, it is something I have always wanted to do. I have now skied two cross-country ski marathons, but the running version has always eluded me.
I returned from this year’s American Birkebeiner race hoping to sign up for the Chicago Marathon. I figured that since I was in decent shape from the skiing race, it would be a good springboard for Chicago Marathon training. Since I live in Chicago, the Chicago race would be the marathon that would make the most sense to start with.
I was fortunate that the Chicago Marathon had a glitch and their server died midway through the registration process. They decided to have a lottery for the last 15,000 available spots. I put my name in the lottery and won a spot to run 26.2 miles.
800 training miles later, I am ready for the race tomorrow. It was not easy juggling training with work and travel. There were a couple of times I ran just after coming back from trips and had little energy and lethargically ambled whatever miles were in my schedule for the day. A few days I even called it a day before the practice was over.
I started out running 4 miles a day and gradually graduated to 6 at the beginning. I was stuck on 6 mile runs for months. I figured if I could feel comfortable running 6 miles then it would serve me well when I hit the 20 mile mark on race day and had 6.2 miles to go. I would then be in my comfort zone.
I feel confident that I am ready for tomorrow. After running 14 then 16 then 20 miles on consecutive weekends, it has given me the confidence that I can endure a long run. After my 20 mile run, I began to feel pain in my calves and a lot of general fatigue. It got so bad on one run, I had to stop. I then rested for over a week. I ran two 6 mile runs this last week and felt better with no pain and no fatigue.
I have heard the crowd is electric in Chicago. Since the farthest I have run is 20 miles and that was incredibly difficult, I know I will need all the energy and support I can get from the crowd and the other runners. I know it will be an incredible experience. My problem is I will want to stop and photograph all the amazingness around me.
After completing the training and running 20-45 miles a week since February, I have respect for everyone that has completed the race and the training. The marathon fraternity is a wonderful thing. I have gotten emails from other runners wishing me luck. They know the effort and hard work it takes to successfully prepare your body to run 26.2 miles.
I look forward to starting, experiencing, and finishing my first marathon and joining the elite group of people who have endured not only the 26.2 miles, but the hundreds of training miles needed to prepare.
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