As the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is now just a few days away, I can reflect back on the range of emotions that I have experienced in this past month. From exhilaration to frustration, to pain to resolve, I am sure I am not alone in my experience. This isn’t my first marathon – I’ve been on this emotional roller coaster before. But the newness of the emotions in the last month of training never ceases to amaze me.
I started out the month of September completing one of my longest runs of this training cycle. I ran fast and consistent the entire time and finished feeling exhilarated and strong. Even after 22 miles I felt like I could keep going. It helped that it was one of those beautiful, slightly cooler days that are just made for running. Hopefully marathon day will be just as nice.
And then my mood began to shift. I started to get tired of running and began to question why I keep doing this to myself. I had moments where I was certain I would not do any more marathons; I don’t need to train all summer for this. Luckily I knew enough to recognize that I was starting to burn out and that I should cut my mileage back to recharge my attitude.
But I was distracted from that sentiment when I pulled a muscle in my low back. I have no idea how it happened but it made running uncomfortable for almost two weeks during the middle of the month. I had been injury-free the entire training cycle and had hoped to make it all the way without any issues.
CARA’s Ready to Run 20 Miler was the week after I first pulled the muscle. My low back was annoyingly painful throughout, but I was still able to run it strong and consistent. Maybe I wasn’t quite as fast as I might have been pain-free, but I finished it. I was grateful for the pacers who kept me going. After finishing this run, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that maybe all these months of training really do pay off in the end.
I attended the Breaking Through the Wall seminar put on by Fleet Feet Sports the week after the 20 miler. Listening to all the speakers talk about the marathon and then meeting the elite runners was a great recharge. It reminded me that Chicago is MAJOR. I am looking forward to once again running through 29 neighborhoods and being cheered by spectators along the entire route.
My back issues have resolved thanks to a great massage therapist. I have cut back my mileage during the taper and mentally am prepared for this Sunday. I am thrilled to be running through this city I love with so many other people. I have survived the roller coaster of emotions of this past month and am now ready for race weekend. Good luck to everyone else getting ready – I’ll see you Sunday morning!