As marathon day gets closer…

My running career began in 7th grade with track, which I despised. Running in circles is boring! In high school I ran cross country all four years and finally began to appreciate running. I enjoyed both the company and the scenery.

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I believe this photo is from my senior year.

I made and developed some life-long friendships out on those courses. I cut back on running while in college, naturally, but when I moved to the Nashville area in 2006, a year after graduating, I picked it up again. I lived out in the country in Greenbrier, TN. I had an easy two mile route from my front door to the stop sign, which was four miles round trip. I signed a friend up to sing in the 2007 Country Music Marathon and decided to sign up to run my first half marathon since I was already guaranteed the support of a good friend along the course. By the way – one of the most amazing feelings in the world is hearing your best friend cheer for you through a microphone while running a half marathon! My other motivation to sign up for this half was knowing that my dad had done the Ironman Triathlon five times, so my thoughts were “if he can do that, I can do this.” My time for that race was 2:26. After that I was addicted. Two years later I did the same race and my time was 2:25. Talk about consistent! My best time for a half marathon was 2:13 in Indianapolis when I first ran the Indy Mini Marathon in 2013. I have now done 7 half marathons and I am one of those people who could buy that bumper sticker that says “13.1…cause I’m only half crazy!”

That time will come to an end on Sunday, though.

If you would like to track me on Sunday in the Chicago Marathon, text 23360 to 37619. You’ll get text messages when I cross check points, about every 6.2 miles (once you send the text you should receive a message back confirming that you are signed up). 🙂 I do not have a time goal for this race because I have been advised not to set a time goal for my first marathon. Everyone says if you set a time goal and you don’t meet it, you will be disappointed. Call me crazy, but I believe there is no reason to run a marathon and be disappointed!

Just a few stats:
· History of the marathon: In 490 B.C. Pheidippides ran approximately 25 miles from Marathon to Athens to bring news of the Greek victory at the Battle of Marathon and passed away just after yelling “Victory!”. Twenty six miles and 385 feet was the random distance chosen for the 1908 London Games; this has now become the customary distance of the marathon. The race began on the East Terrace at Windsor Castle and ended about 26 miles away at the Olympic Stadium in West London. The runners ended at the opposite end of the stadium from the royal entrance and in order to enhance the view for the queen and others, ran clockwise for 385 yards to the royal box, thus resulting in 26.2 miles.
· The first Chicago Marathon, which started at 8 am on September 25, 1977, was called “the Mayor Daley Marathon,” named after the mayor. The entry fee was $5 and about 4,200 runners made it the largest marathon in the entire world.
· Today, up to 45,000 people run this race and the entry fee is $175.00. They cap off the entry to the race at this point. There are on average 1.7 million spectators along the course (I won’t get lonely!)
· There are two groups (waves) at the start. I’m in the second one that starts at 8:00 am (central time).
· My dad ran his first marathon when he was 34 years old – it was the Chicago Marathon. Sunday he will be running his 7th marathon at age 68.
· The cut-off time is 6 hours and 30 minutes. Anyone who finishes after this time won’t be counted. Fifteen minutes after the last runner crosses each mile marker, they begin opening streets back up.
· The course goes through 29 different neighborhoods of the city and it is known for being flat (yay!)
· I signed up for this last year and then got very sick so I was unable to train for it. My dad had signed up too, and ran it despite having bronchitis. His time was 6:07.

A marathon is something I NEVER thought I would do but I couldn’t be more excited to be doing this with my dad and my girlfriend. Ashley and I are leaving Nashville tomorrow night to fly to Chicago. Saturday we will attend the race expo and on Sunday evening we will each be able to say “I ran a marathon this morning.”

My dad during the marathon portion of his first Kona Ironman in 1983.

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