This is one big weekend for running races…and I’m really happy to be a part of it! This evening, Mr. BF and I will be jetting off to the windy city, where we’ll arrive at midnight just in time to scuttle to our hotel (right by the airport!) and get a good night’s sleep. Luckily, we aren’t in much of a rush, so sleeping in and loading up on quality rest shouldn’t be a problem.
Tomorrow is dedicated to going to the expo, eating/hydrating, and seeing as much of Chicago as possible without spending too much time on our feet. Maybe a boat tour? Museum? Does anyone have any not-too-laborious ideas of what to do in Chicago?
This week has been pretty taper-standard in terms of my activity/rest levels. I’ve been sleeping really well and consistently (very thankful for this!) and my exercise has been minimal. I ran 5 miles Monday and 4 Wednesday, both very slowly, and other than some swimming and stretching—I’ve been enjoying the relaxed schedule. It’s funny…so often I dread taper and I feel like such a slug all week, but I’m actually enjoying the rest this time around. I think I’m finally realizing that the work done during tapering (muscle repair, energy restoration, etc.) are vital to performing well in a race. In fact, without taper, all the months of hard work can end up being self-destructive when it actually comes time to race. Remind me of this next time I’m having “I HATE EVERYTHING” taper tantrums, okay?
However, with that said, the other day as I was working, the feeling of “Man I just want to go on a really long run right now,” came over me—hard. How convenient, huh? In other words, while I’m enjoying the rest…I’m definitely feeling the itch, and I have a feeling come Sunday I’ll be feeling like a caged beast. That’s the goal after all, isn’t it?
As for the race itself, I’m so fortunate that I’ll have the help of Girls on the Run to coordinate some of the logistics both pre and post race. They’ve rented out a school’s cafeteria right near the start line where all us Solemates can stay warm, use the restroom, and leave all our things during the race! I have definitely not overlooked how helpful this is, and I’m really grateful for them.
I’ll be in Corral C, meaning I’m in the first wave start which will be at 7:30 a.m. Central time.
My plan for the race is to do the first half very conservatively and then see how I feel. I’m planning on sticking between an 8:30-8:45 pace to begin (probably closer to 8:45), and if I feel good at the halfway point I might pick it up a bit. I’ve written about this before, but there are times when I’m more comfortable actually going a little faster rather than slower just based on what I’m used to in my regular training. However, I’m going to need to save my energy, so the plan for right now is to conserve—and if for some reason I feel great later on (wishful thinking, huh?), I’ll go down to 8:20s or so.
There are some things I will definitely have on my side in terms of getting to the finish line on Sunday. The first being the fact that this course is notorious for just how flat it is; the fact that I won’t have to worry about hills is huge in terms of energy conservation. The second is the crowd! From what I’ve heard, the spectators in Chicago are incredibly encouraging and helpful, and while I’ve done races with crowds before, I have a feeling that I’m going to be a bit overwhelmed (in a good way) with just how many people there are going to be. The third thing that will be on my side is the weather! Right now, the forecast is low 50s, partly sunny, and fairly windless. This is pretty close to perfect in terms of marathon weather, and with the heat that’s plagued this race for the past few years…I consider us very lucky to have this forecast to look forward to.
In order to enjoy the race itself and not focus as much on *other* factors (ahem, my ankle, my out-of-marathon-shape-ness) I think I’m going to run off and on with music. I want to let the experience of running among and with so many people, in a beautiful new-to-me city, really soak in, and I think if I can dapple this with some distracting tune-age, I may just make it out alive.
So how am I feeling? Honestly, I feel ready. I’m ready to be in Chicago, I’m ready to be in my Brooks, and I’m ready to run. I know I might not be as actually “ready” as I would have liked, but I need to play the cards I’ve been dealt the best I can, and for now that means hoping for the best, playing it safe, and enjoying every moment.
So today, I’ll be listening to “Be a Man” from Mulan and “Til I Collapse” by Eminem on repeat and looking forward to competing in the second largest marathon in the world!
If you want to track me during the race it’s super easy! Aren’t big marathons good for that sort of thing? My bib number is 6486, and if you fill in some basic information on this website you can track me during the whole race (I believe the updates are every 10k or so).
Time to go run a marathon people! See you (hopefully!) on the other side!
Now you! Are you racing this weekend? Have you been in Chicago? What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago? Will you be following the elites on TV? Don’t worry, I should be too far behind them 🙂