Chicago, thanks for letting me use you for better things to come…


When I signed up for Chicago it never crossed my mind that I might run it as a training run. First of all, it’s hard for me to run any race, no matter the distance, as JUST a training run. If I’m scheduled to run a race, I want to race! Second of all, when it comes to the marathon the longest training run I’ve done has been 24 miles and I often wondered if that was too long! I’ve never considered running a marathon inside of marathon training.

However, two weeks ago the thought did occur to me so I decided to bring it up to my coach, Carla Hastert. My email to her went something like this, “Would it be a good or bad idea to actually run chicago w/no expectations but just as a training run for CIM? I feel like chicago is my nemisis. But, maybe its not smart to run it even as a part of training. Just a thought though.”

After a couple of days she decided it would be okay. Our only concern was that I had to stick to our “race plan.” If I ended up pushing too hard and trying to “race,” I would blow it for CIM and not be able to recover in time.

This is how she wanted me to run; miles 1-3 were to be at a 7 minute pace, 4-20  she wanted me to run a 6:45 pace, and then the last 10k I would ease back down to 7-7:05 pace. Carla, told me if I ran the marathon according to plan I’d finish in 3 hours or just under.

This was one of the most relaxed marathons I have ever run. In fact, I didn’t feel any of the normal race jitters or anxiety I usually have before a big race. In my mind, Chicago was just my weekend long run. The other nice thing was not having the Olympic Trial time of 2:46 breathing down my back. My goal was simply to run the paces I had been told to run and cross the finish line. And that’s just what I did. I crossed the finish line in 2:58:21. I think my first 1/2 and second 1/2 would have been pretty equal. However, around mile 3, I started to have some stomach issues and by mile 15 I decided to stop. I felt pretty good from 16-19, but then at mile 20 I had to stop again. This would have been devastating if it was my goal race but since it wasn’t, the fact that I had to make 2 stops in the 2nd half wasn’t that big of a deal.

All in all I felt like I ran relaxed, didn’t “push” myself, and stuck the workout. 2 weeks before Chicago I was at 94 miles, the week before Chicago I ran 100 miles (including a long run of 22 miles the Sunday before the marathon). So, being able to run on semi-tired legs and hit the paces I needed to do has helped to build my confidence for CIM when I intend to RACE the marathon.

My Dad’s advice after hearing I ran such high mileage and didn’t taper for the marathon…”Now Suzanne, you should really back off two weeks before CIM, don’t run that much. It wouldn’t be smart and you don’t want your legs to be tired.” Thanks Dad! Planning on doing just that.

My friend’s comment (you know who you are) “I thought you were done with marathons and sticking with 5 and 10ks?!”

My Mom’s comment, “Now Suzanne, is it really that smart to run a marathon in October and then run another one in December. In fact, I thought you said you were done running the marathon?” Mom, once a mileage junkie…always a mileage junkie!Image

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