If I haven’t been posting anything new in the running category lately, it’s because I am on running hiatus. By hiatus I mean still running 3 miles 4 times a week on the average just to keep my legs in condition at the same time taking it easy before my first full marathon. I originally had wanted and planned to do it next month (before I turned 40) but I had to change my plans when I learned that I needed to have a gall bladder surgery. I didn’t want to compromise my knees and train less than the recommended 16 weeks.
Four years ago, in an answer to a meme in my older blog I wrote that one of the things I wanted to do in my life was to run a marathon. That was before I joined Weight Watchers, started running regularly and ran a half-marathon. But I have always loved running as a child, one of my favorite games back then was playing tag with my siblings and neighbors. I ran a couple of races in high school and college, nothing spectacular but they say something of my interests. At the back of my mind I also know that I would want to do something physically challenging to keep my body young even in its “advanced” age and running seemed to fit the bill.
I don’t remember if I specifically put in Chicago Marathon but it would make sense if I did. It seemed to be the most practical race to choose. I wouldn’t have to do anything elaborate, no packing, no hotels to book. I will just wake up early, drive downtown and show up for the race. A friend who ran in it last year, sealed it for me. She said it was one of the best marathons she joined in. It was well organized and the volunteers were great. In fact, I was so elated by my performance in the half-marathon last year that I looked into registering for the Chicago Marathon online only to find out that registration was already closed. It was still May and the race wasn’t until October. I later learned that this marathon fills up quickly they get fully booked by April.
That was why when I saw an announcement placed by a friend in Facebook that the Chicago Marathon 2010 was open for registration last February, I didn’t take any chances, signed in and plunked a non-refundable $130 fee that night. Last time I checked they are again now closed for registration and I will be one of the 40,000 doing the 26.2 mile race this year.
Do I think I can do it? I honestly don’t know. The longest I’ve ran was 18 miles but that was almost 6 months ago. There are days that I am not sure that I can even do 3 miles (which I still end up finishing), or even have the energy to lace up my “rubber” shoes and push myself out that door. I know I need to lose a few pounds, do strength and stretching exercises to get myself in tip top condition. I know I have to plan out my meals and anticipate the number of calories I will be using up during my training and how to replenish them wisely.
I am not too worried about my uncertainty because even a friend who ran 3 full marathons (among others) last year also expressed doubt about making on her first full marathon this year. So I think it’s normal especially since there are a lot of factors involved including weather on race day itself (I remember a sweltering hot Chicago Marathon 2-3years ago).
October is still far away and my training doesn’t start until the last week of next month so I have yet to feel excited about it. I was even on the fence about writing this entry so early. But I figured I can use the 6 weeks or so before the official training to concetrate on the strength/stretch/diet part of it and get motivated by making a detailed online journal for this preparation. And this idea just popped out of my head while I was writing this piece. That’s the beauty of blogging.
This afternoon I was reading a Good Housekeeping article about Valerie Bertinelli and her turning 50 and I was a little bummed out to learn that she was running a full marathon before her birthday on April (I later learned that she did the Boston Marathon 4 days ago) because I did Weight Watchers before she did Jenny Craig. But I do have 10 years ahead of her in terms of running the marathon (that is if all goes well this October). However the same article also inspired me to get a pedometer (Valerie does 10,000 steps a day) because I think this will impel me to do my short runs and more on days when the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak and the computer is just too tempting.
I don’t know what will happen after the marathon this October. There are times I can’t wait to get over it so I can try new cardio workouts. A year ago I thought running one marathon would be enough for me but that was before I saw photos of the Big Sur International Marathon (gorgeous, scenic route!). So we’ll see. For now I will try to visualize on that feeling which makes running races addictive. Aside from the feeling of community when volunteers and onlookers shouting words of encouragemets at you, even calling you by your name, or the super sore feeling on your legs you get all day after the race? It is the indescribable exhiliration you get when you cross the finish line. I can’t wait to experience it to write about it.