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Learn : Marathon Story  

Running Background:

I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for weight/control loss. I decided to run a marathon because it's the apex for an avid runner, and I wanted to seek a challenge.

Training:

I trained for 6 months following Runner's World training for a marathon. Hal Higdon's, I think, would work better because he incorporates more rest days. During my training I averaged 40-50 miles per week. Overall I think I ran too much and didn't get adequate rest. I ran as much as six days a week, and believe I burned myself out. I also didn't do any weight training, and should have.

Race Day:

The race didn't exactly turn out like I expected, but still had its moments. A brief recap of the event:

Mile 1: Costumes sighted- Captain America, Superman, Spiderman, and Batman. Wonder Woman and the Chicken Man are curiously absent.

Mile 2: I see a t-shirt that says "A marathon is a 10k with a 20 mile warmup" Right.

Mile 5: I am running with my college nickname "Johnny Wad" on the front. But only dudes are chanting my name. And I haven't even hit "Boystown."

Mile 7: Run through "Boystown" which is by far the most amusing part of the trip. One guy is in drag with a gold dress and a "beehive" wig at least three feet tall.

Mile 11: My mile times keep getting lower. Hey, maybe I have a shot at a sub four hour time.

Mile 14: Never mind.

Mile 15: A guy holds a sign that says "Run faster, or you will face the evil monkey." Bring it.

Mile 16: Right knee starts to ache. A lot. I can't stretch it, because I get a charley horse.

Mile 17: Left hamstring starts to act up. Now the knee and hamstring are taking turns at running torment. This isn't funny.

Mile 19: Running a half marathon sounds much more appealing right now.

Mile 20: Remember that guy with the funny t-shirt from Mile 2? I want to choke the shit out of him.

Mile 21: A 5k run sounds much more appealing right now.

Mile 22: My left hamstring snaps my leg straight like the extended leg of a folding table. It is the weirdest kind of pain ever. I hobble and stretch until it lets my knee bend again. My buddy has been getting cramps too and has to get his legs massaged. I didn't see THIS in Chariots of Fire.

Mile 23: Run by Sox Park. They have a cool banner with the team celebrating that says "No crying, unless it's from the sting of champaign." I didn't see a banner like that in Wrigleyville. G#$%n Cubs.

Mile 24: Every muscle in my legs is throbbing. I have to stretch about every 1/2 mile or so. Why am I not sitting at home watching the Bears game?

Mile 24.5: I nearly get hit by a cyclist coming up behind me. Hey lady, the f&*%$g "Bike the Drive" race ended five months ago.

Mile 25.8: What bastard put a hill HERE?!?!?

Mile 26.2: DONE. Ahhhhh. Beer is served. Makes the numbness in my feet go away. A friend once asked me "Why run 26 miles unless you're being chased by a bear?" Can't answer that.

Unfortunately I didn't hit my goal of running it in under four hours.

Recovery:

My recovery wasn't bad. I ate chicken wings, drank beer and made sure to rest, rest, rest, rest,....

Running Gear Recommendations:

New Balance 856 Running Shoes
The shoes I ran in.
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Search on Amazon.com

Hal Higdon's Marathon Book
A great read, and plenty of tips.
Search on Amazon.com

GU
Great energy boost!
Search on Amazon.com

Tips/Words of Encouragement:

To someone thinking about running a marathon I would say run/train with a friend. You'll bond with that friend for life. Train on a course that has lots of the opposite sex running the other direction. IPod's and other MP3 players are great too. There will be pain, but there will also be a great sense of accomplishment.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm planning to run another marathon. I'd like to take a shot at New York next, but not until 2007, or when I get drawn into the lottery there. For now I will stick with half marathons, which are easier to train for. For my next marathon, I'll do more weight training and make sure I don't burn myself out.

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