Then as quickly as the confirmation email hits your inbox, the realization strikes that you are still eight months away from actually stepping to the starting line. The mood fades. You go about your way, perhaps training for a race nearer on the horizon, or cross-training or maybe even taking part in an awesome Run For God study at your local church. Nevertheless, Chicago is a long way off.
But before you totally set all thoughts of Chicago aside, you count back 18 weeks from race day (October 7th) and make an entry on your calendar entitled 'CHICAGO TRAINING BEGINS.' And when that day in early June finally arrives, your mind, and emotions, returns to THE marathon event of the year that you have circled as priority one. Time to get serious and committed to training. Eighty-eight runs and 700 miles to go ...... one run, and one mile, at a time.
Fast forward to this weekend. There is energy renewed as you complete week #6 and see that only 12 weeks remain. Yes, twelve weeks sounds like a long time, but in marathon training it flies by. For some reason, this point has a milestone-like impact on your training every time. Having completed 30 of the 30 scheduled workouts to date, the next 59 will come and go before you can say, "If I let Oprah beat me in Chicago, I will never run again." Of course the strategically timed email from race organizers seemed to ramp up anticipation to fever heights as well.
Oh, it will simmer for a few more weeks, as long runs remind you to respect the distance and cause you to question your readiness for a new PR. And every ache, pain and illness will result in additional fret and worry of actually making it to the start. But ultimately, from this point forward it's difficult to control the giddiness. The daydreaming will increase. The google searches for race route videos will increase. The desire to stock up on GU, ice those knees and stay off the caffeine will increase.
No, you can't quite make out the Sears Tower, Lakeside Drive or Soldier Field as of yet, but they are all up ahead and definitely coming into view!
NOTE: If any of you are running Chicago this year, it would be great to meet. Drop me a note and let me know. Also, if there are any past finishers of Chicago, I would love to hear about your experiences.