Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ten Days Away From 10-10-10

In November of 2009, Keri Schindler of Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association asked those on her email list who would be interested in running the 2010 Chicago Marathon as a member of Team GLASA. I immediately jumped at the chance. The good news about deciding at that point was that race day was eleven months away. I already had some long distance races planned and I knew I would have plenty more in the months to follow. Time passed and I had to officially register for the Chicago Marathon. Upon completion, I received a confirmation email. I had joined the 45,000 runners who would be tackling 26.2 miles on October 10, 2010. It was still about six months away from race day. The next step was to officially join Team GLASA. I did. Then I was assigned a couple of athletes on whose behalf I would run and fundraise. Sixteen year old twins, Elizabeth and Emily Fideler. All was set. Time to focus on the training. Most plans seemed to be geared for four to six months of daily dedication in preparation to the marathon. I had to keep in mind that while I was to prepare for conquering 26.2 miles, I also had to consider that I would be racing in other long distance road races and triathlons along the way. While it was important to follow a training plan, I had to prepare for those other races by giving them their just time of dedication.

This spring, I took part in the Chicago Spring Half marathon and the Soldier Field 10 and this summer, I made a return trip to New York for the olympic distance triathlon. Once August rolled around, it was time to focus on Chicago Marathon. I was able to find two gentlemen, Rich Karnia and Peter Mullen, who volunteered to be my sighted guides for the race. Then, it was the start of September. more and more I was starting to zero in on the race. It was getting closer. From eleven months down to five weeks. Anxiety was kicked up a couple notches accompanied by the question, What was I thinking agreeing to run this race? Ever since I was a boy, I have enjoyed running. I was fast. I was a sprinter. Yet, I am attempting a tough long distance race. It is for a great cause, but still, why did I think I could pull it off in such fine fashion? About ten days ago, I took part in the Chicago Area Runners Association's Ready To Run 20 Miler as a warmup for the full tilt marathon. I was scared and nervous, but I stunned myself with such a wonderful performance where I pushed myself to run faster than I ever had in any event of double digit miles. I was able to sustain that steady pace for eighty-five percent of the race. At the conclusion, I was tired, but full of confidence because I had run the longest I ever had and had been comfortable for a majority of the event.

I am now ten days away from making my marathon debut in my home town race. This is the event I grew up watching. This is the event I still watch on an annual basis. I will now be running in it. I am worried since I've never run that long before in my life. I am excited because I never thought I would ever run in this event. I will be running through the streets of Chicago and experiencing this city in a way I never have in my life. I will see more of this city in a few hours than I have ever seen which is why as nervous as I am, I am also very thrilled that I will be embarking on a special one day journey that will by all accounts, change my life forever!

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