The Road to Chicago

They say that if you want to accomplish something, you must first write it down, otherwise it becomes lost among the many things you may or may not get around to doing. While I have no idea exactly who they are, I do agree that writing things down increases their chance of becoming reality.

I love running. I’m quite obsessed with it actually. I have done my share of running, a stint in high school track, a fun-run here and there, Bloomsday. But I have never seriously trained for anything. Even Bloomsday was a little more difficult than it needed to be. I never took my training as seriously as I should have. I had too many easy days, too many missed runs. I let myself take it easy when what I really needed to do was push it. I was a slacker, and I paid for it. But I made it, and crossing the finish line was thrilling. An addictable high. A feeling I wanted to experience again and again. That was a year and a half ago.

It is time to train for another race.

Running a marathon has always been on my Someday List. 26.2 miles of pure insanity, and yet every inch of me is desperate to do it. But every year I put it off. I come up with a new excuse as to why I am not out there running with the rest of the them. Then I sit at home, wishing that I were.

So I guess I have two options. I can either sit back and watch all the runners, wishing I were one of them, or I can actually get out there and join them. I guess I am getting brave in my old age, because I have decided to join them. So here are the questions floating around inside this big empty head of mine. Do I have it in me to seriously train for a marathon? Do I have enough confidence in myself and my abilities to accomplish such a race? Have I dreamt of it long enough to finally be able to dedicate myself 110% to making it a reality? The surprising answer to all three of these questions is… yes. Yes. I can do it. I know I can.

But, if I fail to set a date, pick a target race and get myself registered, I know that I will put it off for another year. And then another, until eventually I find myself regretting never getting around to it. I cannot allow that to happen. I need a goal. A time frame. So which race? There are so many marathons, how do I go about choosing one?

I looked at multiple lists of marathons recommended for beginners, and the Chicago Marathon was on every one. It is known for being fast and flat, and while I don’t care much about the fast part, I am very excited about the flat. It also has no qualifying time, so anyone can register. October 13, 2013. A little less than a year away. Time enough to train but not so far out that I will lose steam or put off training. Registration is not yet open, but it will be soon. Will my name be on the list? Yes, I am almost certain that it will be.

Rob and I have run races together, but he is going to sit this one out, partly because he thinks (knows) I have completely lost my mind, and partly because he knows how much time and dedication the training will take. This is not going to be easy, so he and the kids are going to be my cheering squad. They will be the ones who push me out the door when I really don’t feel like it. The ones who drag me out of bed when I want desperately to sleep. The ones who will keep me going, even when I am ready for a rest. I know for a fact, even at this early stage just prior to training, that I will not be able to do it without them.

I am not expecting a time fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which would be 3:40 for my age group, but I do hope to finish within the course limit time of 6:30:59. Mostly, I just want to finish. I want to accomplish something I have always dreamt of. I want to prove to myself that I really can do it. At the very least, I will be able to cross an item off of my Someday List, and even if I never want to run another mile, at least I will not have to live with the regret of never having tried.