Marathon number 6 is fast approaching: the 2019 Chicago marathon
Even though I am a native New Yorker who frequently participates in NYRR events, my plans to complete their 9+1 program in 2018, to earn a guaranteed spot in the 2019 race were thwarted when my cousin Jen announced her wedding date – November 2, 2019. AKA the day before the marathon. Which would totally be ok, if the wedding was local… but Jen lives in Atlanta and, dare I say it, I love her more than marathons, and there was no way I could be fully present at her wedding the night before the race and then somehow catch a flight back to NYC and get my butt to the athletes village on Staten Island before 7:30 a.m. So, I bowed out of the NYC marathon for 2019, since there will always be another race, and started my search for an alternate fall marathon.
The real bummer of this? I had already made a pact with Mike to run NYC 2019 with him as his first marathon, but thankfully he has forgiven my transgression, and we will make up for the missed shared finish line when we complete the 2020 Dopey challenge together – but I suppose that will be a story for another day.
So, I started clicking about the internet, looking for a new fall goal. Maybe I would aim to complete a half iron man in the fall? I played with this idea, but ultimately felt like I still have so much left to give to the marathon, and found two race options. The local Suffolk county full marathon at the end of October, or the Chicago full, which is in mid October. I entered the lottery for Chicago, crossing my fingers that I would get my chance to visit the windy city, and was pleasantly surprised when my name got pulled the day of the lotto: I would be taking on my second world marathon major!
I then began to consider the logistics: Who would go with me? Where would I stay? When would I head there?
Well the who was easy – Dennis agreed to head to Chicago with me, as neither of us have been there before. I managed to earn a companion pass with southwest, so it made our flights a bit simpler as well. Thank God for points! The hotel I flip-flopped about a lot, looking at different websites, and eventually booking one through the Chicago marathon housing. I toyed with heading to Chicago a few days early so we would get a chance to take in all of the sights, but ultimately our work schedules lead to us deciding to pick a flight the morning before the race. So with travel plans all set, my next consideration was the really important one: the training plan.
In the past with marathons, I have followed different schedules – sometimes using the runners world plans, or the hal higdon ones available online. After a lot of reading, I ultimately decided to try something new this time around: Hanson’s marathon method. A big part of the Hanson method is the idea of cumulative fatigue, so there are higher mileage weekday runs, but the long weekend runs max out at 16 miles. If we are being honest, I see myself going beyond 16 miles for my own sanity, as that just doesn’t feel long enough mentally, but maybe by the time I work up to them in this training cycle I will have more trust in the method, which has brought success to so many runners.
So for now, my plan is simple. For the next month or so I am aiming to maintaining 25-35 miles of running a week, with regular biking and swimming mixed in. Once training officially begins in May, it is going to mean a lot of early mornings for me, but I like to think that I will be up to the challenge – after all, growth only happens outside of your comfort zone.