Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Training for Chicago, Day 1 (...plus, initial goals for the marathon)

Today is the day. I am officially in training for the 2019 Chicago Marathon. I am excited. I feel ready for this running adventure. I am also terrified, but I consider that a positive. To me, that's a testament to the fact that I've chosen to challenge myself. This will be my first marathon—I should be a bit nervous, yes? People tell me I will do just fine. I believe them. Plenty of people also tell me how hard it is to train for and run a marathon. I believe them, too.

I can do hard things.

I have all the emotions right now.
Mostly, I'm just focusing on the fact that I'm really...really excited about this.

I've been waiting for this day.
Marathon Training, Day 1.

I never thought I'd ever say that I was training for a marathon.

But, here I am.

And since I have no idea what I'm doing, I'm turning to someone most runners turn to when they need a training plan: Hal Higdon. I'm using his Marathon 3 training plan, which fits my current schedule. It only calls for three days of running per week, which is what I am already doing.

It's a 24-week plan.
I'll build to 20 miles.
I'll run that three times.

To me, Marathon 3 makes sense. Is it, perhaps, a bit aggressive for a first-timer like myself. Maybe. But I believe in myself. And I've been studying the plan for weeks now and feel as though I have my head wrapped around it (and enough base miles behind me) to be just fine.

I can do this.
I can do hard things.

As of right now, these are my goals:

1) Don't overtrain. Or start too fast.
I am guilty of pushing myself simply because I can. Who doesn't want to win? Or run as fast as they can? I need (and want) to reel that in. And in doing so, I'll prevent myself from overtraining. Watching pace and listening to my body (in training and on race day) will be key to getting myself across that finish line on my own two feet.

2) Cross the finish line on my own two feet (in less than four hours). 
Most people come up with a specific time goal. I have no time goal right now. I'm sure a target will develop as I get deeper into my training. Something to aim for based on the paces I'm putting out, but in all honesty—I just want to finish on my own two feet. Hopefully I can do that under four hours. So maybe that is a time goal? Or just a window to shoot for. Definitely not chasing that BQ.

3) Raise enough money for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
I am running this marathon as a member of Team CF. This means I need to raise a certain amount of money that ultimately goes to finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. I am so very willing to help this foundation. I lost a dear friend to CF, and I'll take his spirit with me as I go. If you feel it in your heart to help, I'd be forever grateful for your generosity. I cannot express enough thanks for each and every donation I've already received.

4) Prove to myself that I can do hard things.
For the longest time, I didn't believe that I could ever run a marathon. And there's still a part of me that is slightly doubtful. BUT—I'm choosing to prove that tiny part of me wrong. Starting now. I am going to believe that I can do hard things, and my goal is to maintain that belief from start to finish.

165 days until I line up at the start line.
165 days until I complete this adventure.
165 days until I become a marathoner.

Let's do this.
Let's do the hard thing.


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