The Countdown …. Chicago Marathon 2013

To say that I’m not excited would be a total lie.  I’m SUPER PSYCHED about the 2013 Chicago Marathon!  This year seems particularly special since I had to sit last year out with a nasty injury.  At this point last year, I was walking again and had started running but my mileage was very low.  I was facing what would turn out to be a long, slow buildup to ensure that I would be “up and running” for a long time after my recovery.   The goal was long term health NOT the speed at which I could return to the run.  It seems to have worked well.  I’ve done a few fun things this year, including Ragnar Key West, the Lansing Marathon and a lot of races from 5K to the half marathon distance.  However, I’ve just recently noticed that my “run mojo” is returning.  I’m excited to see what that means for me and the Chicago Marathon.  Maybe I’ll be running side by side with Ritz?  Or maybe not.

image

I don’t have a time goal.  I know that seems odd to so many of you but I don’t.  This is a race that fields so many people, both runners and spectators alike.  We will have approximately 45,000 runners and just under 2 million spectators.  If you are running, you don’t need to worry about feeling lonely during THIS marathon.  You will always have people around you both running and cheering for you by name.  I know from past experience that things get crowded.  I don’t want to worry about trying to weave around people rather than enjoying the journey because I’m too focused on the clock.  I just want to have fun.   I want to read all the signs.  I want to see all the crazy outfits.  I want to cheer back those who came to cheer for us.  I want to laugh and smile and high five the little ones who came out in the cold to see us crazy marathoners.  I want to be present and in the moment.    Who knows what next year will bring?  Possibly a real lottery for the Chicago Marathon?  Possibly more of the same?  There are no guarantees that there will be a 2014 marathon for me, so I’m going to enjoy this one like it might be my last.  Who really knows?  Plenty of smaller marathons that I can run for time so I don’t want that to be my focus here, in my home town, in one of the BEST marathons in the world. 

The city is ready.  The signs have been hung. 

CHI Marathon_sign - connected   CHI Marathon_old town sign

The preparations have been made.  The game is ON.  Let’s run Chicago together!

CHI marathon_start sign

** See You On Sunday ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Advertisements

Excitement In The Air…..

As we come down to the last weekend before the Chicago Marathon, the excitement in Chicago is already hanging in the air.  We are ready for marathon week and the influx of visitors and RUNNERS!

image

This will be the first year that I haven’t ran since I had Mr. Michael and of course the weather is going to be amazing, just like it was that year too.  I registered but can’t run because I tore my posterior tibialis tendon during a run on June 2nd.  Although I am fortunate enough to be healing and have recently started back running, I’m no way near ready to tackle a 10K, let alone the full 26.2.  So I’ll sit this one out and cheer you all on from afar…..and I’ll be passing this onto someone who can use it:

Chicago Marathon 2012_Confirm Tix

Since I know so many people who are running Chicago for the very first time, I thought I throw out a “couple” tips.  These may be applicable to any marathon but particularly the large ones that have 40,000+ people who will cross the start line.

  • Take a deep breath and say, “I’M READY TO RUN 26.2 MILES!!!!!”
  • Starting next week, try to get a little extra sleep each night.  The closer  you get to the marathon the less you will be able to sleep because you will be full of nervous excitement.
  • Start hydrating properly each day leading up to the race.  There is no need to go crazy but if you normally drink a lot of coffee, juice, soda, etc, just replace that with water.  Try to get at least 2 liters of water in throughout the day. I have a liter bottle which I drink then refill so I know exactly when I have reached the 2 liter mark.
  • Carb loading can be tricky but its something to think about.  Last year Dimity McDowell who coauthored the books Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother did a good article for Runners World regarding carb loading properly.  I always remember it because it went to print right before the Chicago Marathon.  Please read the article HERE.  If all that is too complicated and you want to carb load TooTallFritz style, I keep it pretty simple.  I just try to each clean, fresh healthy foods, plus avoid sugar and alcohol for most of the week leading up to the race.  I then eat very bland the day before the race. My  pre-race dinner is always the same, angel hair pasta with red sauce and half of a chicken breast.  I eat early so that it has time to digest before I go to bed.  Plus, I say no to the garlic bread and wine.  I also am very conscious not to overeat because I know that anything I eat needs to digest and “leave” before I hit the start the next morning.
  • Don’t go crazy on breakfast the morning of the race.  Once again, keep it simple.  A reasonable size portion of oatmeal, a bagel,  or something bland/boring that your tummy won’t try to expel.   Then I take a banana with me to the race and eat it in the port-a-pot line about a half hour before the start.
  • Go to the expo on Friday.  If you want something that says “Chicago Marathon” on it and you’d like it in your size, then go to the expo early because the good stuff sells out fast.
  • Try to be cool on Saturday before the race, relax & stay off your feet.  If your daughter doesn’t have Cross Country sectionals, then there is no reason for you be be running all over heck at a fast pace to try to beat her and her teammates to the next check point.  Take it easy!
  • Try to be relaxed on marathon morning.  Don’t stress. The work is done and now its time to accept your reward and run the best that you can on that given day.
  • Get to the race WAY before you think you “need” to be there.  If you are running for charity, then you will need to check in at Charity Village before the race and then hike it to the start.  This takes time.  A lot of time.  If you aren’t running for a charity, then you’ll need to wait in the gear check and bathroom lines.   These lines get long and don’t move very fast.  The corrals will close at 7:15 for the 7:30 start.  So plan to be IN the corral by 7am, just to give yourself a cushion.  When they close the corrals, they are serious and you won’t be getting in once they shut the gate.  Trust me.  Kerry and I had to walk all the way to the end in 2010 and start behind the walkers.   That was not fun.

 

chicago marathon_kerry&I_2010

  • Do look cute because you won’t be feeling cute when you are at mile 20.  So fake it until you can make it, right?

chicago marathon_2011   chicago marathon2_2011

  • Start the race without your iPod.  Look around, enjoy the crowds and the crazy atmosphere.   There will be a ton of spectators throughout the city, then up into Lincoln Park and all the way until you turn west.  So try to run the first half off the energy of the crowd, then plug in between miles 13 and 15 and use your music to give you a boost for a bit thru 22, then you’ll be in the homestretch and can unplug and enjoy the crowds propelling you toward the finish. 
  • Don’t worry so much about your pace that you can’t enjoy the race, the crowds, the kids holding signs for their mom’s and the pure emotion flowing from all the people united in one common pursuit.  You race Chicago for the atmosphere, you go somewhere small and quiet for that BQ.  Many will get their BQ here but many more will be stuck behind the crowds looking for an opening.  Don’t get so swept away on pace that you can’t appreciate the grandeur.
  • Don’t drink water at every station or you will float away, vomit or get water poisoning.  The water stations in Chicago are every mile.  They are so close together that you can easily overdo it, particularly when you are tired and looking for an excuse to slow down.  Have a hydration plan and stick to it.
  • Only drink the sport drink offered on course if you have trained to do so, or you may vomit, have “other” tummy issues or end up in the med tent.  Or you may get lucky but why take the chance?
  • Take the fuel you need with you, plus a little extra.  Don’t expect to pick up fuel on course, you may not see it, or it may be gone.  Always have on your person, all of the fuel you need in order to finish the race. 
  • Lastly, Marathon Day hands you a basket of unknowns.  I can’t even tell you how many crazy things can possibly happen that you would never expect.  Things that have NEVER happened to you before in your many years of running.  I’d say “expect the unexpected” but that would be impossible.  So just go with the flow, handle yourself accordingly, stay positive and just focus on the finish.

image

** Happy Marathoning ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com