Somehow four months have gone by and I still haven't written about the Chicago Marathon! This ends now. I'll break it down into a few shorter posts; I'm more likely to get it done that way :).
Before I started working toward the full marathon, the longest race I had ever run was a 5K (3.1 miles), and the farthest distance I had ever run was about 4 miles.
1. Train with Team in Training!
Or another charity that you have a strong connection to, but I'm obviously bias toward my own. The combination of running for a cause and the sheer amount of support you receive makes for a phenomenal experience! I can't imagine what it would have been like to do it on my own. In my next post I'll write about Team specifically.
2. Even if you follow all the rules, you still might get injured.
I suffered from some pretty serious hamstring issues throughout my summer training. Was it caused by overtraining, lack of stretching, inadequate recovery time? No, it was caused by weeding. Weeding, people. Seriously. Pay very close attention to your activities outside of running. Stupid weeds.
3. Having a running buddy is amazing!
Up until my first group run, I had always run alone. Then at the beginning of that first run I started chatting with another lady on the team, and we instantly clicked! Having someone to share all of your stories with over those long miles not only makes the run itself more enjoyable, it is extremely cathartic. Every issue or event you've had on your mind over the course of the week gets worked out on Saturday mornings, and you get to be on the listening end for someone else as well. Great mental health workout!
4. You can never have too much Body Glide.
Chafing. 'Nuff said.
5. You will be absolutely amazed by the number of cheerleaders you have in your life.
Regardless of the number of people you think you have in your social network (real life and otherwise), you will be absolutely floored by the sheer number of people rooting for you. People you see regularly but don't really interact with - people at work, people at church, etc - will come out of the woodwork with their good wishes. It's overwhelming. And then of course there's social media. People who donated to the fundraiser I offered through this blog were so kind with their comments, it was truly heartwarming.