Chicago Marathon week is here! So because I'm thinking about it so much, this entire post is dedicated to marathon thoughts.
1. I'm nervous. I had a fantastic 8 miler on Saturday, right up until mile 6, where my right calf started to really bother me. Like the entire muscle was coming off the bone each time I took a step. It wasn't really painful, just very uncomfortable. I'm seeing someone today, and hoping for good news.
Update: The sports therapist said I had a strained soleus muscle (calf muscle that attaches at achilles) and that I'll be fine. Yipee!!
2. I'm excited. Check out the numbers on the Chicago Marathon. Over 45,000 runners, and over 1.7 million expected spectators. That's a lot of cheering.
3. I'm anxious. I know I've put in the training and the work, but the actual day can determine a lot of the race. Temperature, weather, and how I'm feeling. If I have a stomach ache. The elements you can't control can sometimes define the outcome of the race.
4. Ok, now for some fun stuff. This is one of my favorite videos that walks through running a marathon and the feelings you may experience. It's spot on.
5. Here's a really great blog post on Chicago Marathon tips for runners by Coach Jenny Hadfield.
6. And here's the official site with tips for spectators - where to go, what you can, and can't do. The security is higher this year, due to the sad events in Boston this past April.
7. If you want to track me, here's the website to sign up. My bib number is 33008.
8. Even though this is my third marathon, I sometimes feel like it's my first. The pre-race butterflies and anxiousness around the unknown prevail heavily over my race experience. I feel even more pressure, since this may be my last marathon for a while, and since we've been eating primal and I've cut so much time off my half marathon time, that I expect to do the same for the full.
9. What's my strategy for race day? My "public" goal is to PR. So, anything under 4:45 would be golden. I do have a "secret" goal....which is staying secret. But, here's my strategy for the actual race.
- Start slow. I plan on staying around a 10:15 for the first 10-12 miles, to save some gas in the tank, and let my body warm up to the fact that we're going to be running for 4 plus hours.
- Add some fartleks when I'm feeling sluggish. Because Chicago is so flat, I hoping to add some sprints here and there to change it up for the muscles.
- Dedicate each mile to a person I care about. I've never done this before, but I'm going to try and choose a person in my life for each mile, and think about that person for that mile. When things hurt, I'm hoping that thinking of them will keep me going.
- Pick people off. I know this sounds weird, but in the last several miles, I choose someone, and reel them in. Once I pass that person, I choose another. Girl in peach. Guy with headband. It's this "fishing" that helps me take the last parts of the marathon in small bites.
- Remember that it's just a marathon and not the end of the world. A co-worker told me, "Mel, there will be many marathons, but you only have one calf muscle." So true. I'm hoping that all body parts cooperate, but remembering that this marathon is not the end of the world will keep things in perspective.
10. All of that being said, I'm excited to get out there and KILL IT.
Thank you to all my running buddies, family, friends, and co-workers that have supported me on this journey. I could not have done it without you.
And thank you to my husband who keeps me grounded. You are my rock, and I definitely would have never started running marathons or keep running marathons if it weren't for your support and encouragement. I love you!
Full recap next Monday. Wish me luck!