Friday, 7 October 2016

Marathon On The Horizon

My mind is like a whirlwind as I scan the image of my suitcase wide open on the guest bed containing everything I will need this weekend as my husband and I head to the Windy City. Did I pack a throw-away? What about my glide? I definitely must pick up gels before our flight on Saturday!

This is our second year running the famous Chicago Marathon and we're both itching to get back there. However to say that I left last year's marathon with a sense of it being unfinished would be quite accurate, even though I came home with a finisher's medal. I have an on-course port-a-john stop and a week of antibiotics prior to race day to thank for this feeling.

Running the Chicago Marathon was not something that I can truly say was always a bucket list item of mine. In fact, I questioned whether or not I'd find a connection to the city that I imagined was bleak, cold with tall buildings and of course, windy. The complete opposite was actuality and my assumptions were left in the dust. If it wasn't the scenic Chicago River that travels through the city, it's fascinating architecture or the food that brought us back, it would have definitely have been the flat 26.2 mile foot tour we embarked upon with approximately 40 000 other runners!

But am I ready? 

After reaching what I would call a plateau in our running, my husband and I decided to take our training into a different direction and hire a coach. Previewing the hard copy of the workouts left us wide-eyed to say the least and with a sense of strength and satisfaction when we could boast about how we conquered it or strategize when it didn't go so well.

With a few tune-up races under our belts it became clear that our training was working and all the hard work was paying off.

Enter the taper. If you have tapered you can probably predict what sorts of questions I am having about my fitness, about that missed run or two due to that head cold that popped out of nowhere (one of the perks of teaching elementary school), and of course whether or not I had the strength (both physical and mental) to do this!

Recently I was invited to do a talk to the half marathon clinic at the Running Room and my focus was on Race Prep-physical and mental. Now I find myself having to take my own advice, and that is not always as easy as it seems.

Pre-Race jitters can get the best of any seasoned runner. My plan is to have a tool kit I can draw upon to overcome any sort of race anxiety I experience over the next few days.

Other than the obvious things to check off of my "things to pack" list I will also practice some mental conditioning. There are a few things that really help me get my cramped, dehydrated and fatigued body to the finish of any 26.2 mile race.

1. Faith in my training. I keep a hard copy log of every single run over the past 18 weeks that helps me solidify trust in my training as I preview it on race eve. Knowing the homework is done, helps me feel better prepared for the big test and push me through the final miles!

2. Have a mantra to say when things get tough. Amazingly this has helped me in past races more than I ever imagined! I like to tell myself that I AM strong and that I CAN do this. Others have faith in me and I need to have faith in myself.

3. Visualization. I create a mental movie of running under the arch, red digital clock and all. When I can see it I believe I can do it. I also enjoy thinking about that post-race celebratory meal!

4. Soaking it all up. Race day can bring you a plethora of surprises. Always be prepared for the unexpected. I like to enjoy the experience no matter how my race is going because I've poured my heart and soul into hundreds of training miles. Let's face it, no one wants to work that hard only to take away the negative aspects of your run. High five the spectators, thank the volunteers and take it all in!

Thanks for stopping by my space in the blogosphere and have a beautiful day!

Happy Running,
Heather :)


  1. I'm really excited for you. Go get it, lady!!

  2. I love this :) I kept a log on my desk top at work and I have every run and all my notes and I have been looking at it a few times a week, just to remind myself how hard I have been working.
    I love your visualization tip too! I always try to picture myself finishing, but I need to picture myself eating my meal lol
    You are such an inspiration always :)

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