Monday, June 1, 2015

It finally came: The First Day of Marathon Training

The day finally came!  After announcing my participation in this year's Chicago Marathon on behalf of the American Cancer Society a few weeks ago, I've been waiting like a child on Christmas Eve, watching training emails pop up in my inbox, waiting for information about our running schedule and anxiously wanting to try on my official team shirt.

The American Cancer Society offers training with either CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) or CES (Chicago Endurance Sports).  I chose to go with CES due to the training schedule, their affiliation with Fleet Feet, and their awesome reputation.  Both ACS and CES hosted open houses and this past Saturday was our first official training run.

My American Cancer Society "D-Nation" gear

The Run
Though there is a training location just a mile from our apartment in Lincoln Square, I decided to make Old Town in Lincoln Park my training base; their schedule of long runs aligned more with my travel schedule this summer and the new running course would be refreshing.  Unfortunately, that means taking more time to travel to my 6am training runs, which is even more difficult now since John has the car in St. Louis.  But the difference between waking up at 4:00 a.m. versus 5:30 a.m. is minor, right? (ask me for my thoughts on that one in a few weeks).

After waking up (partially) and eating a light snack, I caught the bus at 4:45 and began my trek down to the store.  The weather forecast called for thunderstorms and endless rain so I brought a change of clothes.  As a side note, runs are not cancelled unless there is lightning, temperatures are below -20 windchill or above 100 degrees, or something major of the sort has happened.  

I arrived at the store, dropped of my bag, and made my way to the Benjamin Franklin statue where announcements would be made.  The official pacers all carried signs indicating their speed and we started hovering near our teams.  The enjoyable mist became heavy rain droplets and 15 minutes later, the paper with announcement info on it was barely holding up!

Yep.  You can't tell but it's really raining.

Our first run was very easy - too easy in some ways.  We missed our pace goal by twenty seconds but it was the first day.  The ease felt amongst the runners in our group gave us all a chance to get to know our each other without being overly concerned with whether or not we were going to make it to the next mile!  The first training run was only four miles long but it was a great reminder that I was aiming to do more than six times this distance so the easy feeling was exactly what I was striving to achieve.

After returning to the store, we picked up our official racing singlets, shoe ID tags, and Clif bar samples.  I'm such a sucker for goodies.

So new and official looking!

I really enjoyed meeting people of all fitness backgrounds at this run.  The support and sense of community was easily felt amongst everyone and I am so excited to spend the next 5 months with these amazing folks!  And to be honest, the shirt makes me feel incredible.  I must have worn it 10 times already...

So in case you missed it somehow, I'm raising money for the American Cancer Society! I am more than halfway to my fundraising goal so click here to read about why I am running and donate on my behalf!

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