Monday, June 4, 2012

Marathon Super Clinic

It's marathon time!  Again...  Didn't I just finish one?

Before I get to the Super Clinic (you all want to know what that is, right??), let me talk about the beginning to my Saturday.  Saturday started out with a 6 mile trail fun run arranged by the local running store Running For Kicks and sponsored by Saucony.  You can go and try out their trail shoes on the trail run.  This run is no cost.  Just tons of fun.  And lots of hills.  It's completely trail though with rocks, dirt, etc.  I had done this run last November, which was the first annual run. 

A friend of mine from high school has started running a little last year and is starting to get addicted (it happens).  She is still a run/walk pace and has wanted to run with me for sometime now.  I told her to pick a day and I would run with her.  She picked this day.  lol.  I told her about it a few months ago and she decided to do it but wanted me to run with her.  I talked to her a few days before and she said she was so excited and had been looking forward to this run since I mentioned it!  I came to find out during the run that this was the second longest run she had ever done...with one 10k being the longest!

There were about a hundred people going to this run.  I met up with a few friends while there.  Finally the run started.  I told my friend Becky that I would run at her pace and don't worry about me!  My friend Kathy from the FNRC decided to join us on our run.  Becky was running really good and almost ran a whole mile (ran 9 minutes straight) before we took our first minute walk break.  Her goal is try get to running one mile straight without walking.  She didn't start to really lose it until about the last two miles and then I could tell she was struggling just a bit and we took a few extra walk breaks. 

After the fun run, everyone headed over to the Running For Kicks store where they were going to have a raffle for 2 pairs of trail shoes and 5 goodie bags.  Kelly won trail shoes here last November!  Two of Kelly's friends have won shoes at various times since then.  Kelly told me a while back my turn was next.  I probably rolled my eyes!  Haha!  I never win anything.

Well, they raffled off the first pair and a guy won them.  Then they raffled off the 5 goodie bags and my friend Becky won one!  Finally they were raffling off the last pair of trail shoes and the first number they called, the person wasn't there so they picked another.  And the next number they picked was mine!  I think I said "OMG that's me!"  lol.  So we got fitted for our respective trail shoes and had a photo op!
Group photo....I circled my face and put the arrow so you can find me!

Shoe winners!
Part of the Swallow Cliffs Trail

More of Swallow Cliffs Trails
Now on to the second half of my Saturday.  I run with the group CARA (Chicago Area Runner's Association).  There is a fee to run with this group for marathon training (there are perks to running with them) but my charity group pays for this for me.  CARA has their marathon Super Clinic every June to kick off the marathon training season and so you can pick up your CARA packets.  I went last year and really enjoyed it but it's downtown and I wasn't sure I was going to go again.  A friend of mine, Shelby, was going to go and her husband was working.  She asked if I wanted to go with her and we could carpool.  Then she reminded me that there are Beginner presentations and Advanced presentations and she thought we should go to the Advanced one. I checked over the schedule and decided it would be a good idea to go and since I didn't have to go alone, it would be more fun. 

It's full of information from nutrition, stretching, injury prevention.  The advanced one included a little on incorporating different runs into it (tempo, speed, recovery, etc).  One thing that I really liked this time...they passed out paper and envelopes and told us to write our marathon goal on it (we were all "experienced" marathoners...have at least run one or more).  After we wrote our goal and whatever else we wanted to write, we gave it back to them in an envelope addressed to ourselves.  After the marathon, they are going to mail these back to us. 

Wow?  You mean I have to pick a goal now??  My problem with my last marathon was lack of confidence and lack of a goal.  With all my injuries, I was scared whether I would even finish in one piece! 

This time around...I don't know what it is...I have complete confidence in myself.  And it's not forced confidence.  It's a confidence like I know it's going to be my best one!  Sure, things will never go exactly as planned.  They never do for any races.  But I'm not nervous or fearful.  The second time around, I was terrified.  The first marathon, it was new.  Of course you're nervous.  You don't know what to expect.  You don't know what time goal to set for yourself.  The second time, I was completely terrified the whole time.  Injury upon injury, doubt upon doubt.  The last month of training, I had sleepless nights and tons of stress.  I just couldn't wait for it to be over and I dreaded the fact that I had another one still to do (we had to sign up for Chicago within 6 days of it selling out in February!). 

As soon as the second one ended, I let all of that go.  I immediately felt a sense of accomplishment (even though I didn't hit the goal I set out) and automatically felt that the 3rd time would be the charm!  I was going to own Chicago (in my way! lol).  And it's weird.  I'm definitely not a hugely confident person.  I always have doubts about things. I over analyze to the point of insanity!  I make problems where there are none.  So for me to have complete confidence that's not even forced, it's a new thing for me.  Maybe knowledge is power and I've learned things from both marathons to take with me to this third one that I have no doubt will help.

So when they asked me to write my goal for the third marathon now, I was unprepared!  Shouldn't I see how training goes first?  How can I decide this before I even start?  Well it's simple.  I know what training for and running a marathon is like.  I didn't just do one, I've done two!  So I decided to wait about an hour and then write down a time goal.  I was undecided...should I take the "easy" way and make my goal right under my best marathon time and just try to PR?  Should I shoot high (for me) and go with 4:30?  Should I do something weird and just say 4:39:59 (because I would like to have a time goal in the 4:30's)? 

In the end, I wrote down 4:35.  That was around a 10:30 pace average for the marathon.  I also wrote down ways that I will work to achieve this marathon goal. What else did I tell myself in my letter?  Don't laugh.  I wrote down "You are strong!  You can do it!"  And I signed it "With much love, Yourself".  Then signed my name.  It's in a sealed envelope.  All CARA is going to do is put a stamp on it and mail it to me.  No one will see it!  No one knows what I wrote...except Shelby because I told her.  And of course all of you! :-)  I still thought this was a fantastic idea!

Now to actually see how all this goes!  I know a ton of people running the marathon this year from both run groups and wish everyone a great and healthy training season!


  1. Aww, i am sad i missed the clinic! I wouldn't have had a goal either though. oh well! can't finishing still be a goal??

    1. Finishing is a given goal! You want to finish! :-)

    2. And great job on your redemption marathon!!