Friday, September 7, 2012

Twilight 5K and Chicago half Preparations

After an exciting week of a major step in risk taking, I am preparing for this weekend. The big day is Sunday as I will run in my next half marathon. I will run the Chicago Half. It will be my first 13.1 mile event since Houston during Olympic Trials weekend in January. On that day, the fabulous, Jenny Paff, and Stu Evans escorted me to a personal best 1:57:23. On Sunday, I hope to shatter that and bring my personal best time down by a solid margin. Todd Smith volunteered to be my eyes for this event. Todd and I first met on June 24, 2011 on the day he guided me for the Pleasant Prairie Duathlon. The two highlights I take with me from that day are pushing 30MPH on the bike in stretches for the first time ever and closing with such a strong kick the final couple hundred meters that Todd turned to me and said, "If you have enough to finish that strongly, you weren't going all out before then." It was a major lesson in truly examining myself and whether I do in fact stop myself from going all out early in races until the end so I will look strong heading to the finish.

A couple months ago at the New York City Triathlon, Todd romped and stomped to such a tremendous finish time that not only did he win his age group, but he was the king of the age groupers as he had the fastest time of an age grouper in the entire field. He can fly. Because he has guided me before and he has learned a little bit more about me over the past year, I am confident I must bring my A game since Todd will push me. Hopefully, I will be pushing myself so he will not have to do much of it. Before I go any further, I wish to thank Todd for volunteering as he did back in February of this year. After learning of what I had achieved in my previous half marathon, he reached out to me and suggested I pick a race for this year that we could "go out and win." Within minutes of seeing his note, Jemma of Imerman Angels sent me a note stating US Road Sports had formed a partnership with Imerman Angels for the Chicago Marathon. As a result of being a major featured charity, IA athletes would be spotlighted so US Road Sports was looking for IA members to highlight. Jemma said she instantly thought of me so would I be interested in running? Of course. Here was the race for Todd and I to run. I asked him and he immediately jumped at it. I contacted Jemma and within minutes of the original note, I had agreed to run Chicago Half.

I am so looking forward to this as it will be the first time I will run in this event. I hope to perform well. I hope to shatter my PR along the way shining brightly for IA. It will be easy to spot Todd guiding me due to the tether around my waist. You will also be able to pick me out of the crowd if you spot the Imerman top with the name Sexy Isra on the back. Before I reach the Sunday race, I will have a chance to run in another event. I will run in the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association Twilight 5K on Saturday. This is the fourth consecutive year I will participate in this event. I debated whether to run in it considering I have a 13.1 mission the next day, but since my plan for this week calls for a twenty-five minute run on Saturday, I figured I might as well do it at the Twilight 5K. I am debating what the game plan should be going into the event. I have considered attempting to break my 5K best. I have also considered merely getting my miles in without concern for time. There is a part of me which wants to just push in the opening miles and then shut it down in the last mile to coast to the end. I guess I will see how my guide, Michael Crissie feels. He has been my eyes each year I have run Soldier Field 10. It can be frustrating attempting to make our way through all those runners at SF10 so I was excited to have Michael agree to run in this event where the field is capped at 500 people. With it being a small race, it allows for some open space through the streets of Lake Forest so we could turn it on so he and I can experience that feeling together. It will be a fun time.

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