I have been talking a lot lately about putting my name in the lottery for the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Working the aid station at the this year’s marathon a few weeks ago really got the urge up again. Plus, I have also been known to tell people that even though I crossed the finish line in 2017, I feel like that marathon ran me instead of me running that marathon. I feel like I could do better than 8 hours, 7 minutes, and 21 seconds. I know I shouldn’t care about the time; I crossed the finish line, and it wasn’t easy to do. The training was hard; the race was hard; but my desire to finish caused me to push all that hard stuff to the side.
Another reason I keep thinking about running again is that I am in better shape now than I was when I ran the marathon. I am 20 pounds lighter than I was when I did the marathon (and I hope to be be down another 20 – 25 pounds within a year). I cross train regularly through my boxing class — my overall physical fitness level is improved. I have core strength and my knee is noticeably stronger than it was when I did the marathon. And when I finished in 2017, I didn’t get to run through the “regular” finish — I had to go through a small, temporary finish off to the side on the sidewalk. I want to know what it’s like to cross that regular finish line.
I had my mind all set to apply to run Chicago next year when one of my running friends suggested I check into the Grand Rapids Marathon. I did — and it sounds like a fascinating race to run! The FAQ page is an absolute selling point — it is HILARIOUS! Some highlights that make this race enticing: they have an earlier start for people who are “velocity challenged” (read: slow). They will keep the course open until everyone finishes. They had aid stations every 1.5 miles. And it looks like no lottery. Just pay your fee and run. No whining allowed (see the FAQ page). Running Chicago is an exceptional experience — and I experienced only part of it. Trying to run Chicago again means I am taking some risks if my time ends up being not what I want it to be.
So now I’m in a conundrum. Do I attempt to face my old nemesis, the Chicago Marathon? Or is my nemesis the distance and the proving ground is irrelevant? My husband asked me, “What does a ‘win’ look like?” and I’m honestly not sure. I think a win looks like crossing the finish line in less that 8 hours, 7 minutes, and 21 seconds. Ideally, I’d love to finish in 6 1/2 hours.
My plan is to continue with my boxing as cross training 2 times a week and running 3 times a week (2 short runs during the week and 1 long run on the weekends); use a longer training plan (last year was 20 weeks, but this year I want a 32 week plan); and I am seriously considering using a training coach.
But I am seriously unsure of what to do. I need your help. If you’ve read this and you’ve got an opinion to share, maybe you can tell me which option you like. I’m like Johnny Number 5 — I need INPUT (my age is showing with that allusion!!!).