Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Starting Point...At The Finish Line

It's over. I completed the Chicago Marathon in 3:36:48. Happy that I finished strong having never run that distance before. A little disappointed also. I felt a sub 3:30 was certainly possible but I made a critical mistake prior to the start of the race: I stood to far towards the back of the pack. I knew this might be a problem but I assumed there would be open running lanes that would allow me to move up quickly. Nope. People were running shoulder-to-shoulder and I exhausted a ton of energy criss crossing from one side of the road to the other trying to pass. Whenever an open curb presented itself (like in the Lincoln Park area), I raced up on the curb and passed dozens of people before jumping back into the stream at the next obstruction. I did not anticipate the running pack would be this dense. I bet I passed well over 20,000 people along my race. I was never able to recover my time enough to challenge 3:30. Next time, I'll know better. Still, I'm very pleased to have finished with a sense that I could do even better. That is a nice feeling and one to carry into the next marathon. So, at my finish line, I found a starting point on what to improve on for the next one.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Short and Sweet

I'll keep this brief. I don't want the people who don't read this blog to not have to spend time not reading it. Make sense?

The Chicago Marathon is a few days away. My aching foot has been sore since my last long run (see previous post) and has caused some chinks in my normally unwavering confidence. However, some decent results, foot soreness-wise, on a 13 miler and 9 miler have patched over a bit of the confidence pot holes. So, I'm ready to roll. Looking for a sub 3:40....hoping for a sub 3:30...not sure what to expect until I complete this first marathon.

Short and sweet....like the marathon course right? Right!

Monday, October 02, 2006

No Fear

For me, I need the reassurance that my body can handle the physical and mental pounding 26.2 miles exacts on the body. During this entire summer of training, I've been working toward getting to that level of confidence that (1) my body could handle this and (2) I would be happy with my time. I know time isn't everything but I'm a competitive person and it has been important to me. That's why I love running. There is no one to get angry at. No opponent that outplayed you. No referee that made the wrong call. Just you against the clock. How hard you trained can be directly measurable against your results (give or take for other incidental factors). I love that. It is a very emotionally introverted sport. It allows you to be happy with yourself as well as all of the other contestants independently.

That being said, on Sunday,I finally reached that level of confidence I desired. It has been building all summer and yesterday's long run of 21.5 miles validated my physical and emotional readiness. I left my house shortly after 7 AM and did three 6.2 mile loops back around to my house. After the second loop, I popped back inside to wish my now-awake daughter a Happy 5th Birthday. At each break, I had GU and water (and changed shirts once due to the embarrassing red splotches on my chest from you-know-what). Then, ended with a 3 mile trip up to the local high school and back. 21.5 miles in 2:49. Three minutes ahead of 8 mins per mile pace!! Maybe 3:30 is attainable after all. Very satisfied. Despite the extreme ankle pain that has hit me later that day (and caused a slight limp this morning), I consider the last long, long run a big, big success.

On to Chicago with full confidence! No fear.