Down the Home stretch

It’s hard to believe that there are only 5 weeks standing between me and the Chicago Marathon. It seems like we just started yesterday, and yet it was a full 4 months ago! The ability to finish 26.2 has never crossed my mind having run the distance four times before. I wanted this time to be different. I played with my training schedule, ran some extra miles, and trained with a purpose. I balanced running with speed workouts, lots of cross training, and strength training with the goal of getting stronger and starting to find out what I’m capable of.

So, this weekend I ran the first of two 20 mile training runs. Yes, that’s right, two 20 mile runs. I was unusually nervous before starting. I had butterflies fluttering around my stomach, allergies trying to upset the butterflies, and then there was the bug I swallowed running 2 miles before the group run. But I have great friends who started putting my mind to easy. Jessica came over smiled and said I would do awesome. Angela reminded me that I was going to a super yummy dinner the next day, and Lori and Jim were at water stops doing what they do best, handing out water, high fives, hugs, and smiles. I ran with my mentee Jaclyn, and both of us starting thinking the same thing a third of the way through, “this feels really awesome, and kind of easy. Are we going too fast?” The beautiful weather brought new possibilities to both of us, mostly that we are a lot stronger than we thought.  The weather this summer has battered confidence down. It’s been mostly about surviving more than anything else. This was one of the best runs in months, maybe even the best 20 miler period (20 miles in 3:18 an average of 10:03 per mile). It gave me such a needed boost of confidence going into the final weeks of training. My teammate, and fellow mentor Andy snapped a few pictures while we were running:

 the Chicago team before starting our run
heading down one of several hills with Jaclyn

Sunday a new confidence was growing even more after discovering that I’m 95% of the way to my fundraising goal! I simply cannot express how much it means, and what a difference the money is making.

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