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Ready to Run the 2016 Chicago Marathon!

Warning: stream of consciousness post ahead 😛

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My “I just can’t wait to run my third Chicago Marathon” face 😀

My blogging has been inconsistent at best this training cycle and I can come up with a billion and one excuses for why that is. The main reason for why I didn’t write weekly training recaps is that reading other people’s training recaps isn’t interesting to me. Everyone trains differently and I know what works for me already. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If I don’t read training recaps, then I certainly do not want to write them on a weekly basis. For the record, my training plan for the 2016 Chicago Marathon was the same as my training plan for the 2015 Chicago Marathon. The only difference is that I actually completed almost every single run this year. Last year’s training was about as consistent as my blogging right now, ha. My priority has shifted from writing about my training to actually doing all of my training.

Like every time I’ve done marathon training, I feel like a changed (for the better) person. Marathon training not only involves intense physical exercise, but it also intense mental exercise. Waking up early one weekend day each week and running for 2, 3, or even almost 4 hours? That is not easy, neither mentally nor physically. No matter how many times one has run a marathon, the training is still really difficult.

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I’ll tell you again that people were extremely negative towards me when I ran my first marathon in 2012. I rarely thought of myself as an athlete in the past, but it was for lack of trying and lack of believing in myself – not for lack of ability. When I told others that I was training for a marathon, certain people rolled their eyes. I’m still totally bitter about it, obviously, but I’m mostly on the other side of this now. Marathon training is hard and the people who judged me haven’t even run a mile. Now? I will be a marathoner THREE times. I can do really difficult things and I think that’s fabulous. If people have a problem with me, then that’s too bad for them. I know I’m amazing and I don’t need validation from anyone. I validate MYSELF. I have marathon training to thank for this mindset. No one will run the miles for me; crossing the finish line of my third marathon will be 100% because of the work I put into training and running the actual race.

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Let’s talk about goals! At the beginning of training, I wrote about wanting to beat my 2012 PR of 4:32:57. I set this PR when I was 24-years-old. My life was so different, I was so young, I weighed 10 pounds less, and I was so PSYCHED to run my very first marathon. These things pushed me to finish with a really strong (for me) time.

While I do want to try and PR, I also want to be realistic. I realize now that I have been comparing myself to the girl I was 4 years ago. I’m not as thin, young, or even as motivated as I was at that point. Earlier this summer, I was beating myself up over the (slow and healthy) weight gain since then. I looked at photos of myself from those days and wished to get back to where I was physically. I realize now that getting older means that my body will change. My metabolism is slower, but my mindset is healthier. I will never be 24 again, which is good because I went through a lot of tough situations at that age. I want to look forward from now on, never backwards. I want to do the best I can with what I have right now.

I love my body. It is not the same as it once was, but I no longer expect it to be that way. Due to this, my new TIME goal is to beat last year’s time, which was 4:50. 

Other than time, I have some other goals: 

1. Follow my fuel plan (Gu at miles 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, & 23/24 and water/Gatorade at almost every aid station)

2. Walk at every aid station

3. Hydrate/eat well every day leading up to race day

4. Sleep 8 hours per night every day leading up to race day

5. HAVE FUN and enjoy the process 🙂

I will see you at the finish line of 26.2 miles! Recap coming sometime next week for sure!

  • SJM

    Good luck, girl! I’m so excited to cheer you on tomorrow!

    • Mel

      THANK YOU! JUST SAW THIS!