Revisiting my Plan for the Chicago Marathon

When training started for the Chicago Marathon (which will be my first), I posted my goals:

  • Make it to the start line healthy.
  • Love running as much on October 7 as I do today. Or more.
  • Cross the finish line before the time cut-off (6hr, 30 min) with a smile on my face.
  • Meet my fundraising minimum ($950).

I purposely did not set a time goal. This is my first marathon. I just want to focus on covering the distance.

My husband is also registered for the marathon (also his first). When we both decided to register, we agreed we would both go at our own pace.

But for some reason when corral assignments came out last week, I suddenly wanted to run the race together.

It could be for a number of reasons:

  • With both of us working full-time and both having long commutes, and all of my racing and focus on training, and his Navy obligations, we often have to work at making time for each other. Lately, we’ve both been trying to make a better effort to do stuff together.
  • With how hot is has been this summer, the thought of running at what will be an easy pace for me sounds like a great idea.
  • Running at someone else’s pace takes the pressure off of me, and eliminates any “I could have done better” thoughts post-race.
  • My goal has always been just to finish this race. It’s not often that my husband and I race together. (In relation to the total number of races I do.)
  • Think of how cute our finish-line photo could be … [that’s what’s important, right??]
  • Because Chicago Runner Girl is doing it too. (Not really, I swear I’ve been editing this post for like a week now, it’s just a coincidence that she posted that yesterday.)

As long as we finish, I will be proud of covering 26.2 miles. That’s my goal. Finish. So why not enjoy those 26.2 miles with my buddy? (I know, gag, that’s what we call each other.)

Running For Kicks Turkey Trot Robert and me Brooks

What do you think? I’ve done races before at someone else’s pace, and had a blast doing it. This time it wouldn’t be so much about helping the other runner, but about doing something together.

BUT … I told him if I don’t “race” this marathon, I will probably do another marathon. Because I’m pretty sure I’ll want to know what’s possible if I actually go at my pace. And it would be nice to get the initial first marathon out of the way to calm my nerves. We’ll see though. Maybe I’ll hate doing 26.2 miles and never want to do another marathon.

Don’t forget! Super Awesome Running Stuff Raffle for the American Cancer Society.Win lots of goodies for as little as $1!

And I’m giving away an entry to Fort2Base.

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21 Comments on “Revisiting my Plan for the Chicago Marathon”

  1. I’m also running the Chicago Marathon with my man 🙂

    Join the club Maggie! I wasn’t going to run another marathon post January’s Miami marathon, but when I received an early morning call from my man (he was in brazil at the time) that he registered for Chicago I thought he was full of crap. It was totally out of the blue! Once I confirmed his registration (because I was in shock) I had to sign up and run with him- there was no other option for me. Like you, we don’t run together a lot so being able to support him through his First 26.2 will be something super special. We also don’t have any time goal. Our sole goal is simply to finish and feel good and have a ton of fun!

    I think you will have an amazing time with your hubby running through the streets of Chicago!

      1. I moved us up to “F” just because if it’s hot, that extra time starting a little earlier than corral J will hopefully make
        It more “enjoyable.” 🙂

  2. I ran Chicago last year and a friend ran with me. Chicago is the kinda marathon that you can totally go out and enjoy for the experience. There are sights to behold at every turn with so many people cheering you on. I would focus on running and the crowd then look up and think “Oh Wow I am in this neighborhood! How exciting” Chicago was my first marathon and I finished running and surprisingly with no blisters. I am so excited to do the run again this year.
    My goal is to finish better then last year and to totally enjoy the experience. So go out and enjoy running with your man. Good luck.

    1. That’s what I was hoping for … the course looks like it will be really fun. My husband was talking about how he just wants to enjoy the sights along the way.

  3. I will be running it to with a charity group. This will also be my 1st…and probably last. It is a great course and my plan is to cover the distance and not care about time. I am not a “racer” per se and it is more the accomplishment that is my driver (along with my charity).

    Have fun running it with your hubby and enjoy the greatest city (yes – I am biased :-))

  4. I will tell you, with first hand regret, to do it! Run with him. When my wife and I ran our first marathon we agreed to do our own pace. I tear up every time I think of my selfishness in that race, while I started up in the 3rd corral she started near the back. My race went well finishing in just over 4 hrs, hers on the other hand, was a fight to just finish.

    She ran into all kinds of problems that day. Her finish time was a little over 7 hrs. At mile 20 they were threatening to remove her from the course if she didn’t catch up to the last group of runners. A couple of her delays were due to blisters and having to stop at the medical tent. Thankfully that last stop helped and she managed to catch up and pass about 200 runners in the last 6 miles. It took her over 6 months to heal from her injuries in that race.

    It kills me knowing that I was the veteran experienced runner and I left her alone. Waiting those 3 hrs for her to cross the finish line were horrible. I hated myself. That first marathon is tough and many things can go wrong. So run with him, be with him, support him, support each other. You won’t be sorry.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Bob! I really appreciate you sharing your experience with me. This was also in the back of my mind, what if I finish and he’s hours behind me? Will I be worried? Stressed? What if something happens to him? He’s tough (has survived boot camp), so I know he’ll get through whatever happens. Or … what if something happens to ME? Sure, I’ve done my share of races and half marathons, but this will be my first 26.2 … I need support as well! This is going to be a tough experience for both of us, I’ll feel so much better knowing we each have our buddy out there.

  5. I think this is a great idea. I feel like people are so worked up for the first marathon, that the second one will be infinitely better time wise. Chicago can be your “dress rehearsal”! Why not make it a great experience so that you will love marathoning, and want to do many more?

    And seriously, those pictures will be amazing, please do something super cheesy. I’m begging you.

  6. You know I love this!!! Come on, everyones doing it! But seriously, it’ll be great and I’m sure your buddy will appreciate that company on those last few miles when he will be cursing himself for ever thinking a marathon was a good idea. I think it’s pretty stinkin awesome that this will be both of your first fulls and you’re attacking it together. And those will be some sweet finish line photos too.

    I keep tryin to convince the man to wear matching outfits with me, but he’s not biting the idea. Something about wearing brightly colored shirts with arrows pointing to “I’m with him” and “I’m with her” seems lame to him. Hopefully the idea will grow on him.

    1. Matching outfits! Too cute!!! I’ll be in my American Cancer Society singlet and he’ll probably wear his Navy workout clothes, so no chance for matching outfits for us.

  7. Do you think he will start to join you on your Saturday morning training runs?

    My husband and I ran our first and second half marathons together 🙂 It was a lot of fun to train and run together.

    And I totally agree that running at someone else’s pace/pacing them, takes a lot of pressure off and makes for a fun experience, whatever happens 🙂

    1. We probably won’t run together on Saturdays. He’s not into group runs, and I do my long runs with CARA. We’ll probably do some weekday runs together though.

  8. I think what you are doing is incredibly smart and the perfect way to approach your first marathon. You’ll have support alongside you the entire time, the pressure of time will be eliminated, and you will (hopefully) walk away with a positive outlook on the entire experience because of the two reasons mentioned. This is exactly how I hope to run my first marathon one day.

    Good luck!!! I hope to make it out to spectate the marathon (so inspirational) so you can rest assured that there will be plenty of cheering for you along the way 🙂

    1. Awesome that you’ll be spectating! I spectating the marathon a couple years ago when my cousin ran it and it was so fun! Also I’m trying to figure out how to make sure I stand out considering I’ll be wearing an ACS singlet, along with hundreds of other fundraisers …

  9. Eric and I ran Chicago in 2006. He was shooting for sub-4, more like 3:30, I was shooting for right around 4. That year it was 38 and drizzly at the start, unlike the hot ones of recent years. We never planned to run together, he had been running faster in all of the training runs, beating the pants off me at the track, so our expectations for him were pretty high (we aren’t competitive or anything).

    I’m cruising along, running by myself, and at the mile 15 water stop I practically threw my empty cup at Eric. He was in no way supposed to be at 15 at the same time I was–he looked at me and he was seriously turning blue. He had gone out too hard, depleted himself, and was chilling fast. I chucked my race plan and went for Plan B–we walked. We ran. We walked. We ran. Those were the coldest miles ever, walking under the bridge at 17, until he started to feel better on the UIC campus (22). Without intending to, we finished our first marathon together, holding hands. Cheesy, yes. Unforgettable, also yes!

    It’s so worth doing it together, at least the first one. After that you can do what you want, but the first one is really special.

    Have fun with it!

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