Last weekend was incredible! Had I never been able to run Boston, the Chicago Marathon is the real deal. The whole event was flawless from start to finish. They know what they are doing. As for my personal race, I decided about 4 miles in that I was going to see how long I could hold a pace that would qualify me for the Boston Marathon. I felt great until about 14-15 when I could feel just a slight tightness in my groin. I was still maintaining pace though! I lasted through about 21 and then decided to shut it down. I never thought that deciding to do that would still yield a great experience. I enjoyed a classic 312 at mile 23 with some frat guys, waving to some relatives and KC fans, and enjoyed a few laughs as I was heckled by some onlookers to keep going. I was breathless for the last half mile of the race. What a finish! Even though I was very far back, the crowd was still involved as if I was in the top ten. I shed a few tears at the finish and got lots of photos of me, a first time Chicago Marathon finisher, healthy and happy (and with a beer in hand).
My favorite part of the race was Boystown, or up in Lakeview. The entire first half was incredible, actually. West Loop was pretty boring after you passed over the half way mark and after Greektown. I wasn't overly impressed with Chinatown but appreciate all of the enthusiasm and culturally exclusive neighborhoods in the south part of the race. Overall, I would give this race a 11 out of 10. What an experience! I had the best weekend, spending it with my temporary roommates Candice, Valerie and Lynne. Even my parents made the trip from Iowa to cheer me on. I saw them three times on the course and could tell them were proud. This made the entire event extra special.
This was my last marathon for a while. The race was Sunday; it is now Thursday. I am four days deep into my "70.3 training". I've got a long way to go.
On Sunday, October 13th with nervous excitement 45,000 runners will cross the start line at the Chicago Marathon. This year’s race was in high demand evident when Active.com crashed as tens of thousands attempted to register back in February in the first half hour it opened. The Chicago Marathon has been known to be a flat, fast course with unrelenting weather conditions - cold, hot, rainy, windy. This year runners are facing a new challenge, but accepting it with open arms.
The Chicago Marathon, one of the three World Majors held in the US will be the first major since the 2013 Boston Marathon which shook the deepest trenches of the souls of runners from across the globe. As a result of the Boston bombings, Chicago race officials have made plenty of modifications to accommodate an unfortunate modern day threat. It’s easy to get caught up in the inconvenient modifications, but as I see it, they are most welcomed by my fellow runners.
Last April, I was living in New York. I took a bus up to Boston to meet my brother Jason and sister-in-law Dana who were both qualified to Boston Marathon. At the time, sadly, my brother chose to revoke his elite entry and decided his injury was too serious to run on for 26.2 miles. After packet pickup on Sunday, the three of us snuck off the beaten path and found a lovely italian restaurant with no wait. What?! (That doesn't happen.) I’ll keep this location a secret!
I took this photo the night before the race after leaving the restaurant. Not an award winning photo obviously, but this is one of the most cherished photos I've ever taken.
To most people, they see a young couple being goofy and enjoying their time together. What do I see? I see those prized Boston Marathon jackets that are worth more to runners than any medal ever will. I see Dana holding onto Jason with a dependable embrace. I see the way they were smiling and it reminds me that the spirit of the marathon is so innocent but strong and unwavering.
This photo has haunted me ever since I got a phone call from Jason at 2:50pm on April 15th asking me what the heck was going on. I could hear the chaos in the background while I was lounging comfortably in my NYC apartment. I turned the TV on, but no news station had started covering it yet. My head began to spin as I headed out into the subway for a training session on the Upper East Side. I started to get phone calls and texts from people who thought I had stayed and watched the race. I will never forget that day.
It’s debatable to say that those who ran or watched Boston this year have moved on from the chaos of April 15th. We will undoubtedly celebrate their spirit which has endured all of the physical and mental challenges of the past six months. Sunday’s event will be emotional for all of the right reasons as we toe the line, shoulder to shoulder, amongst this country’s biggest and greatest “fraternity”.
I look forward to the marathon this weekend. It will be an honor to stand before the start with 45,000 of my closest friends as we cheer each other on throughout the entire 26.2 grueling miles. I encourage those participating to witness the innocence and purity of what you are about to accomplish and the enduring spirit of runners and their friends and families throughout the weekend as we take back and own one of the world's most prized and legendary marathons.
My friend Cole and I before the 2012 Boston Marathon.
We have a culture full of sitters - at work, in the car, on the couch, at a restaurant, etc. With excessive sitting comes aches and pains that can lead you straight into the doctor or chiropractors office. I have wonderful friends who work in both fields and have learned from them and my own experiences with injury over the last decade. We don't move or stretch enough, plain and simple. If you could be pain free by simply spending five minutes of your day devoted to pain relief, would you do it?
Try doing this once in the morning and once before you sleep:
1. Floor Bridge - laying on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the ground, lift your hips and glutes off of the floor, squeeze your bum for 2 seconds and lower back to the floor. Repeat 20 times.
2. Standing Knee Hug - In a standing position, grab one knee with both hands over the kneecap, pull for one second and alternate to the other knee. Repeat 20 times.
3. Standing Quad Stretch - Standing, reach back with one hand to grab the top of your foot and reach into the air with the opposite arm, pull and alternate. Repeat 20 times.
4. Standing Leg Cradle - Standing, place one hand on the outside of one ankle and the other hand on the outside of the same knee and pull your shin up to your chest in a position where the shin is paralell to your chest. Pull for one second and alternate to the opposite leg. Repeat 20 times.
I do these exercises everyday before I workout, which mostly consists of running. Since taking up this dynamic warmup prior to running, training for my fifth marathon has felt much easier than the previous ones. You see, I spend about 3 hours everyday commuting between my clients' homes and that makes for tight hip flexors and a sore back when it comes time to do my own workout.
If you have chronic aches and pains, give this a try. Of course, it could be much more serious than a bunch of tight, weak muscles so use discretion when it comes to contacting a doctor about your condition.
Rainy days can be spent on the couch watching TV, cooped up at the office, or.... blogging!
I just got done training a wonderful couple I've been working with for over five years. I'm lucky enough to train them everyday and they remind me daily of how valuable their training has been. He is a self-proclaimed non-athlete and she is an ex-collegiate swimmer in their early 50s. Before I met them in 2008, they were out of shape and had daily, chronic pain while juggling six children's schedules and the stress of self-employment. Five+ years and three new children later, they are healthier, leaner, and pain-free!
This is not the only example of true success with my clients. Others have more quantitative successes such as losing 40+ lbs and setting personal bests in local races. Some have even went on to complete half marathons and finish their first triathlon. My goal for the coming months is to spread this message in hopes that the uninformed or undertrained people of the KC area will become more aware that the quality of their life can be greatly affected by participating in a basic training program that can be convenient AND fun!