I have run this dang course twice. In fact, it is the only marathon I have run. Both times, I was a Texan in heart, spirit, and address location. This time, I get to run it as a resident of this amazing, fantastic, wonderful, beautiful, crazy city that is the only place in the world where I have ever felt so small.
I also like to think that this race brought my favorite human and I together...twice. ;)
I was living (for lack of a better term) with an eating disorder. Marathon training alone is tough. Figuring out your nutrition during marathon training is even tougher. To me, marathon training with disordered eating was the worst.
I didn't do any tune-up races leading up to the marathon. I had no idea what pace to consider when going into training OR the race itself. I, like so many others, had the idea that I'd just finish. That still doesn't help the situation in training.
I ran the marathon while injured. I didn't train smart (see below), I wore the wrong shoes, and I didn't take care of myself.
I didn't cross-train. No spin, no cycling, no Yoga, no swimming? Why? I dunno. I seemed to be worn out all of the time.
I ran the marathon with a friend. We both had tummy problems and stopped MANY times.
I cried at mile 24. This isn't a bad "learned my lesson there!" moment. It's just a moment I'd like to share. The Nike PowerSong announcer/deejay stopped playing the music for a moment and said,"You are 2.2 miles away from the finish line of the Chicago Marathon. You are going to finish this. You are going to be a marathon runner."
I smiled a LOT. I waved, I gave high-fives, low-fives, and was tempted to take a beer from some friendly gents at mile 18.
I ran with music. At some point, my friend begged me to leave her at the potra-potties; she was convinced that she'd end her run there (but she didn't). :) I was happy to have a backup, but totally preferred our conversation.
I ran up Mount Roosevelt like a BAMF.
I waddled all the way to mile 27 where I was meeting friends. I literally negotiated with a curb for ten minutes: ...can I pick my foot up?...can I...? ...can I go around it?...no, that means I have to walk further...pick up your foot...your foot?...pick...just go, UGH...
When I finished, I was convinced that I never wanted to do that again. Dun, dun, dunnnnnn...
I also didn't get to see *much* (like 26.2 miles of it wasn't enough) of Chicago. I didn't have deep dish pizza. I didn't have a hot dog. I didn't see the Willis Tower. Nope, nada, nothing. I went to a film festival and saw "The Athlete", and that was a great time, but it took so much out of our day getting lost and whatnot.
I was still dealing with disordered eating, but was coming around to Intuitive Eating.
My training was sketchy. My long runs were fine, but I had a hard time figuring out a good schedule between work and training. I think the most my weekly mileage got up to was 45, and that's not exactly ideal.
Still no tune-up races.
I began running the marathon with a friend. Pablo had to bail at some point due to tummy issues. I didn't have tummy problems this time, mainly because I didn't eat properly the days before. Amazingly, we found each other at bag check right after I had finished.
My legs cramped...bad. Well that's a new one. This had never ever happened to me before.
I cried again, but at mile 20, because I was frustrated with my hamstrings cramping and my quads quivering. I think it could be added here that I didn't have as much fun as I did the time before. I didn't smile as much, for a few reasons.
I did NOT rock out Mount Roosevelt. I actually stopped to walk it. Yikes.
I skipped all the way to the beer tent. I guess I found my fifth wind! I was nowhere near as sore or tender as I was the previous time, nor was I walking like others I saw around me, doing the marathon boogie. The contorted faces and the twisted and misaligned gaits of people walking around me made me feel like I was a pro (but not really).
When I finished, I was convinced that I wanted to try it again.
We went out for proper noms and beer afterward. Pablo and I met up with Harry and our friend Martin at a local pub. I ate a bacon cheeseburger and had a few beers. It seems like we stayed there for hours...which I'm pretty sure we did.
I got to see and enjoy much more of these streets before and after the race. I got to spend the day after with (not at the time yet, but was soon to be) my Mr. Wonderful and our friend, Pablo. Harry took us to have Chicago style hot dogs, toured us around downtown Chicago and the lake, took us to Revolution Brewpub, and out to dinner. It was a fantastic time, and a lot of walking, but so worth it. It was on this day that Harry figured out a way to hook me back to the Chi for our first date, as I had seen a poster of "A Christmas Carol" near the theater district downtown and exclaimed how much I loved the show. He invited me back for a show in December, and the rest is history. :)
So what's to come for 2014?
I feel like I have more accountability. I don't mean that in a co-dependent way, either. Harry and I will have our own training, but it's tougher to bail when someone else close to you knows what's supposed to be happening. I'm very thankful for this part, especially.
WAY MORE CROSS-TRAINING. Spinning, cycling, swimming, and Yoga will be completed on the regular.
I'm training IN Chicago, not San Antonio. This might be the biggest difference of them all. I was dealing with 80*F and 100% humidity most mornings during training in Texas, and hills, hills, hills no matter where I went. I'm not saying it'll be easier here; but it probably won't be that humid or hilly.
I clearly need to work on my hydration and nutrition techniques.
I will participate in the CARA Ready to Run 20 Miler in September. This 20-mile point-to-point run on the Lakefront Trail is one of the biggest events for Chicago area marathon runners. Nutrition, hydration, and even pace groups are offered. Harry has done it a couple of times and strongly recommends it.
This will be Harry's fifth time to run the Chicago Marathon. I feel very confident with all of his support and, what I'd consider at this point, expert advice, and who wouldn't with all of the back rubs I'm going to get! :P
My disordered eating is very much under control. I will be happy to blog about that aspect of my life at some point in the future. :)
Tune-up races will be done. I have several events and races that I've already registered for and are on my calendar. You can find them here.
I'm going to smile the whole way. Come hell or high water, I'm going to have fun at this one.
I'm in the works of creating my training plan and looking at what races, events, and travel plans we have established. I'm really, really looking forward to rocking this thing out again; I feel like I've learned from past mistakes and have plenty of time to correct current ones. I have a goal in mind, but I'm waiting to make sure it's possible. I'll let you know soon, fo' sho'.
Is there a race or event that you'd really love to do, but it seems like a tough time getting into?
Are you running with me?!?! Did you get into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon?
If so, you're more than welcome to grab some noms and perhaps a frosty beverage with me afterward. If not, you're more than welcome to grab some noms and perhaps a frosty beverage with me afterward. ;)