Twas the Night Before the Marathon

Holy cow, I can’t believe the big day is finally here!  In just about 11 hours I will be making my way into my start corral to begin the biggest challenge of my life so far.  I am a ball of nerves and excitement, and just cannot wait to experience everything that is the great Chicago Marathon! 

The last two weeks have been interesting, to say the least.  My mind has been in overdrive, alternating between confidence and trust in my training, to fear and doubt.  Since I did my homework, I knew in the back of my mind that I must be experiencing a bit of taper madness, and this was all very normal.  Knowing that running extra miles wouldn’t help, and could potentially hurt my chances of a successful finish, I kept to the training program.  Because the runs were shorter and my endurance has improved so much over the last few months (especially since it has gotten cooler) I found a faster pace to be much easier, and had to keep reminding myself that I should be taking it easy and resting my legs for the main event.  Here are my stats for the last two weeks:

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In final preparation for the race, I have laid out my clothes, gathered the rest of my gear including gels, ear buds, post race flip flops, compression socks and anything else I could possibly want or need tomorrow.  I feel as though I am prepared and am looking forward to a great day.  The weather is forecast to be perfect…high’s in the mid to upper 60’s, lows in the mid to upper 40’s, low humidity, no rain and a light breeze.  As I have said before, since this is my first marathon I’m not worried about meeting a time goal, I just want to get out there, have fun and finish feeling proud of my accomplishment.  That being said, after weeks of research, trail and error and practice, I feel like I have a solid pacing, hydrating and fueling plan that will hopefully get me across the finish line feeling good. 

Well friends, the next time I write, I hope to be able to count myself in the very, very small percentage of the U.S. population that has finished a marathon!  Until then, good luck to all of my fellow Chicago Marathon runners and happy running!

Half-Marathon…Take 2!

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Well, today I finished my second half-marathon!  I wasn’t sure if I would ever run another half after my first in January this year, but a friend mentioned she wanted to run one and I volunteered to help her train and get across the finish line.  It was a beautiful morning in downtown Chicago.  A little on the muggy side, but the sun on my face and the lake breeze felt awesome.  After a full fledged carbo-load yesterday I was feeling great.  I had my usual pre-race Wisconsin Mac and Cheese from Noodles and Co. for lunch, and the most delicious gnocchi I have ever tasted at a fun birthday dinner with my in-laws – for the record, A Tavola (http://atavolachicago.com/) is fabulous!!  For breakfast I had my usual can of Diet Coke and a Blueberry CLIF bar – breakfast of champions!  🙂  This combo always works well for my races, anything heavier and I risk a sloshing stomach, anything less and I tend to bonk pretty quickly. 

The race got under way at 7am and I felt great through mile 4 when we stopped for a nature break.  I took this as an opportunity to eat a CLIF Shot and fuel up for the next third of the race.  We got back under way and kept a nice and steady pace through the turn around to about mile 7 – the farthest my friend has ever run!  We finished up the race on a run/walk plan – but I’m happy to say, we finished!  Back in January I had a friend help me through my first half, and I was glad I had an opportunity to pay the favor forward.  Today was not about time for me, it was about helping another runner and friend achieve a lifelong goal.  I am so incredibly proud of her for having the guts and determination to set out in achieving this goal and for not giving up no matter how much she may have wanted to.  I don’t know if it’s the runner’s high talking or if I’m just “half crazy”, but today has inspired me to want to run another half…and soon!  I’m thinking about the Chicago Women’s Half in June…we’ll see!