Friday, July 8, 2011

14 Weeks until Chicago: Looking back before looking forward

Here it is, my first blog entry, chronicling my training leading up to the 2011 Chicago Marathon.   It's fitting that after 8 years of being a marathoner, I am finally returning to the site of my first marathon.

In 2003, I ran Chicago, more as something to do, rather than something to achieve.   With a modest goal of 2:45, I trained as much to resurrect my post-collegiate running career and to get in shape as to have an actual time goal.   After running 2:44:59 (Chip Time!)  I was hooked.  Never would I have thought that completion of 26.2 miles would leave me with such an exulted feeling of accomplishment.

The past 8 years of running have been filled with ups and downs.    To list a few of the highlights:

1)  Finishing the 2006 New York Marathon as the 39th man, where I broke 2:30 for the first time after 2 earnest, yet disappointing, attempts in 2004 at NYC and 2005 in Twin Cities.  
2)  Spring of 2007:  Virtually every race I ran was a PR in route to a 25th Overall Place at the Boston Marathon and a then PR of 2:24:47, in spite of what many deemed the worst weather in the history of the Boston Marathon
3)  Fall of 2010:   Finally getting back to consistent training, breaking my good friend Laird Prosser's record at Lost Lake, and taking a fantastic trip to Europe with my wonderful wife Monica where I ran the Berlin Marathon finishing as the 47th man overall and I got back under 2:30 for the first time since 2007.
4)  Spring of 2011:   Return to Boston.    With a mostly successful winter campaign, set back only by 10 days of minor injury to the peroneal muscles in my left lower leg, I ran a (current) PR of 2:24:32 and finished as the 36th man overall.

Low Points, I'd rather not ruminate on.   Let's just say that I've dealt with my fair share of muscle and tendon injuries and suffered through bouts of indifference and fitness related depression like many other athletes not on the tops of their games.    I do believe it's getting through these low points and maintaining at least the posture of optimism that results in increased strength and fortitude and the ability to appreciate the highlights as they come again full circle.... which they are.

Which leads me to my Marathon Dream:   To Run 2:18:59 or Faster and to Qualify for the 2012 US Men's Olympic Trials in Houston, TX.