Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011 Recap - Part 1

The weekend for the Chicago Marathon 2011 was finally here. For 18 weeks, I followed a training program running 4 days a week starting with 15 total weekly miles and ending with a total of 40 weekly miles. Until this training program, I typically ran 2-3 days per week max!

My fears when embarking on my marathon challenge were the following:

1. Will my bad knees hold up?

2. Will my bad feet hold up?

3. Will I actually be able to run 4 times per week?

4. How will I ever survive the long runs from 16 miles to 20 miles because I can’t run that far!

5. I will never be able to run a full marathon!

I would say my first concern was my knees and feet. I didn’t want to permanently injure myself. I did buy the Patellar Knee Straps for both knees as soon as my long runs hit double digits. I believe they really did help. If I didn’t wear them on my shorter runs, my knees were really sore later that evening.

Now for the questions of whether I would be able to run those really long runs and would I really be able to run a marathon? The thing that really helped me was the training runs and my group long runs. I’ve never followed a training program before and I’ve never really had running friends. The training program is designed so that you gradually build up your endurance so you ARE able to run the longer runs. Who knew? It actually worked!

And running with my new training group was one of the best things I could have done. I made some new running friends. It also provided me with support and encouragement during the really long tough runs that I never thought I could accomplish. Sometimes I needed encouragement from someone in my group and sometimes a friend in the group actually needed my encouragement!

The week leading up to the marathon had me on edge. I was disappointed some people weren’t going to be there at the marathon for me. It really rattled my nerves. It got me thinking, “If they don’t come to support me, I may not be able to do it!” Serioulsy, that crossed my mind, more than one time!  Once I got that thinking out of my head and realized that the marathon is for ME and no one else, I was the one that put the 18 weeks of training in, and the only way for me to get through the marathon was to KNOW that I could do it, my week got easier. Less stress, more excitement. I didn’t want to be upset leading up to my very first marathon!

I went to the Health and Fitness Expo to get my packet on Friday. Later that evening, I had my charity pasta dinner. I had an amazing time and the event always makes you feel like a very special person because you are doing an amazing thing by running and raising money for a great charity.

Some of the charity athletes at the Pasta Dinner - there actually are a total of
54 runners this year (up from 6 when they started in 2005)

Charity Dinner - My friend Liz and her son Josh
(the reason I started running for this charity)

Saturday I had a few things planned.  I had some running around to do (buy oatmeal and bananas for race morning), visit my cousin to say my goodbyes (in case I never returned!! Lol) and have a blogger meet up!  Yup, that’s right!  I met Dave from Experience Life and Jodi from Run Jodi Run.  They were in town to support two of their friends that were running the Chicago marathon.  So downtown I went to meet them!  I was pretty frazzled from my morning when I got in to see them.  But after chatting a while, getting something to eat and talking some more, it pretty much helped calm my nerves for the marathon!  Of course they took a picture!

Me, Dave and Jodi (left to right). This must be my "pose".
I stood this way in my charity picture too! Haha!

 It was great meeting them and their friends Mellisa and Deb!!  I love meeting people that I've known for a while due to the blogs and finally meeting them in person! 

But the night had to come to an end.  I went home, played with some music on my phone to make an impromptu marathon playlist and off to bed I went!  I had to wake up at 4:30 am on Sunday to head down to the marathon!  My first marathon ever!!

...to be continued...

What!?!  A cliff hanger?  I'm so mean!  Tune in tomorrow to find out how my marathon actually went and to see some pictures of the big day!  I'll let you in on a preview...I finished and I lived to tell the story!


  1. looking forward to more!

  2. It was so great to finally meet you! I love that I know some of the story of how your day went since I got to see it in person! Congratulations again marathoner!!

  3. So excited to hear the rest, Amanda!

  4. Glad you survived! Did you hear about the woman who was 39 weeks pregnant, did the marathon and then had her baby that night?? So crazy!

  5. Ha! Biz, yes I heard about that!