On May 4th I ran Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon. Coming off the high of running my first marathon, and the need to set a new goal, I instantly launched into a “what’s next” campaign, and started looking up fall marathons. Chicago open registration was already full, but there was a note posted on the website that there were still charity spots available. I remember scrolling down the list and looking through the charities, and my eyes catching the big LUNG in Lungevity. Perfect.
Convincing Lindsey to run another marathon took a few tries, but once she heard about Team LUNGevity she was sold. One email to Casey and he was on board too. It was settled – we were running another marthon! The rest of the month of May involved a lot of binge eating, sleeping in on Saturdays, and very little running.
On June 10th I set out on my first Chicago Marathon training run – 3 miles – OUCH. It’s amazing how quickly your fitness level can deteriorate. Our first Saturday long run was 8 miles and it felt like 80. I felt like I was back at square one, like I had never run long distances before, and I was mad at myself for taking so much time off.
Marathon training through a hot mid-west summer was something I was unprepared for. Physically, I felt like I was going to die at least half the time. I described the air as feeling like velvet, too thick and heavy to breathe. It was so hot, I was forced to take many baths in water fountains, and even run sans shirt. Mentally, it was summer, and while I wasn’t actually on vacation, my mind was. I wanted to be at happy hours, and concerts, and laying out in the sunshine. Not waking up at 6am to run before the sun started beating down on my back.
Training for Chicago has been such a different training experience. The first time everything was new and unknown, and I almost wished it could have stayed that way. Waking up for an 18 mile run is a lot harder when you’ve already experienced how much 18 miles hurts. So have I trained my hardest? Probably not. Am I ready? I don’t know. Either way, I’m running on Sunday, and I can’t change my training now…
But I do know this. On Friday, I will go to Indianapolis and share pre-race jitters, stories, and carbs with Lindsey, Casey, and Casey’s parents – Tina and Eddie. On Saturday, we will wake up and drive to Chicago, and get to experience the massive production that is the Chicago Marathon Expo. That night, we’ll finally meet our Lungevity teammates, put faces with names, and celebrate with a final pre-run meal.
And on Sunday morning, I will wake up, eat my trusty PB&J sandwich, and surrounded by 50,000+ other runners I will run the streets of Chicago for 26.2 miles. And no matter how long it takes me to finish, it is an experience that will surely last me a lifetime.