Training for Chicago

The Chicago Marathon is taking place October 12, 2014. That still seems like a while away, but time seems to go by quite quickly these days. It seems like only yesterday I was entering the lottery for acceptance into the marathon. Now, training has begun.

I've run two full marathons so far, but I've never actually trained for one. How did I do this? Well, the first marathon I ran was back in January 2013. I was running pretty consistently and running a half marathon almost every weekend. I was getting stronger and faster, and now I just needed to go further.

The week before the Clearwater Marathon I ran the Disney Half marathon in the morning, came home, and ran a 5k fun run - The Glow Run - at night. The next morning I woke up feeling fine. I wasn't sore even though I had run 16 miles the day before. I considered running a marathon.

I wound up having a conversation with someone about this and made a statement saying something about how I knew I could finish a marathon but it would probably take me forever since I would be doing a lot of walking. I didn't want to take forever to run one, so I wanted to train. I didn't get a very nice response. It went something like "Well if you think running a marathon is so easy, why don't you just register for one?"

Now of course, I never said running a marathon would be easy - I said I could run (or walk) 26.2 miles. It may take much longer that the average marathoner, but I could do it. I saw people posting about their upcoming full and half marathons in a few days and decided, why not? I registered for the Clearwater marathon 4 days before the race.

I finished the marathon. And I did a lot better than expected. I took it easy, walked and ran, didn't push myself until the very end, and knew if I felt I really couldn't do it I would just do a really long training run. But I finished. I was a marathoner.

I told myself that for the next marathon I would train and I would PR. If I could finish without training and feel fine, what could I accomplish if I actually followed a plan?

I was supposed to run the Chicago Marathon last year, but several things prevented that from happening. After that I lost my running mojo for a bit. I had moved and was far away from my running friends, I was working a lot, and I forgot how quickly that pesky thing called time goes by.

I was registered for the Dopey Challenge in January, but again found myself untrained. I thought about not running, but that challenge came with far too large of a price tag not to run. Worst case - I run the 5k, 10k, and half and forgo the full marathon. I would see how I felt.

I ran all four races but I really felt it during the full. My body was not in the same condition for this race as Clearwater. I had to actually push myself through the whole race and I wound up pulling my ankle around mile 21. I hobbled my way through the next 5.2 miles in pain. But I finished. I was determined to finish.

And so training season has fallen upon me for the Chicago Marathon. I have a game plan. I WILL train for this race. I need to get my body back in shape for running a longer distance. I need to be disciplined and make sure my runs get completed. I've started training this week, and I can tell I'm not yet where I should be.

I'm determined to get there. I WILL get there and I will be prepared at that start line.