Fox Valley Marathon

Well, I did it. I am officially a marathoner! I could not have asked for a more amazing experience.

The weather was absolutely perfect, cool enough for a sweatshirt in the morning, but warm enough to take it off before the race even started. It warmed up as the day went on, but not too much. The course was a little crowded in the beginning, but eventually the half-marathon and marathon routes split, so it was not too crowded at all on the trails.  

The crowd along the course was spectacular, cheering for everyone as they ran by. Their signs were great. Even the chalk writings on the sidewalk were fun to read. There was everything from “You Rock, Runner!!” to “Don’t Stop Now!”, followed almost immediately by “That’s what she said!” My favorite signs were “Run faster… I just farted!” and “Marathon runners never die, they just smell like it!”

The course, as promised, was relatively flat, scenic and shady. I took pictures along the way, determined to remember as much about this day as possible. 

I didn’t really have a time goal in mind, but I knew what I could expect to finish in. 5 hours was realistic, so I lined up behind the 4:45 goal pacer. Eventually, though, I lost contact with the pacer and was running my own race. I had read too many stories about people who forgot to enjoy the experience because they were so focused on time, and I was not going to allow myself to be in that group. Especially not in my first marathon. So, I just ran. And looked around. Read signs. Took pictures. And I loved it. Every. Single. Minute. Of course, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of the half-marathoners at the 13.1 mile mark…

In the end, it took me 5 hours, 8 minutes and 50 seconds to cross the finish line. I wasn’t fast at all, but I finished. And, since this was my first official marathon, I set a Personal Best. How could I possibly complain about that?    

Time to Run!

I am sitting in my hotel room right now, anxiously awaiting the start of my marathon tomorrow. William and I arrived yesterday after an 840 mile, 14+ hour journey. The last 40 miles alone took us a little over two hours to complete. I had never seen so many cars in one place in my life, let alone at a stand still on the freeway. Every road coming and going was barely moving, which was amazing considering it was only 1:00 in the afternoon.

We are actually in St. Charles, about 30 miles or so from Chicago. The starting line for tomorrow’s run is just over a mile from the hotel and I know right where I need to go. I gathered all of my gear today and have my morning all planned out. I think I am ready for this. I have been training for this for a long time and I am ready to run. Less than 12 hours to go!

Time to Run

I finally realized that I cannot wait for the conditions to be perfect. They never will be. All I can do is get out there and do my very best. Give 100% of myself. If it works out, perfect. If not, well at least I tried, and I will not have any room for regret.

What on earth am I talking about? I have absolutely no idea. But I wanted to share something with you. Something that makes me certifiably crazy and completely alive at the same time.

I signed up for my first marathon!

My original plan was to run the Chicago Marathon in October, but I think it will be too crowded, and I do not do well in crowds, especially by myself. So I began searching for a smaller marathon that happens around the same time. If I plan it right, it will take place right in between our summer and fall jobs, giving us the travel and recovery time needed.

What I found was the Fox Valley Marathon in St. Charles, Illinois. A beautiful course that winds along the river in a suburb of Chicago. They only allow 2,900 runners, so it will be quiet, and it is also ranked as a good race for first-timers because of the frequent aid stations, not to mention it is flat. I could not find a single bad review, so I signed myself up.

September 22, 2013

7 am (Ouch! I am not even sure this is legal…)

This is it. I am going to do it. My 35th birthday present to myself: a heart attack in the streets outside of Chicago. Sign me up. Oh wait, I already did!!!

IMG_0500 marathon

My feet have several thousand meetings scheduled with the dirt on a trail not
far from here.  Who am I to keep them waiting?  Time to run.  ~Jeb Dickerson