Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 15 - The longest run

The start of my 20-mile journey.
The culmination of most marathon training programs is the 20-mile run three weeks before the marathon.  To some people this makes no sense. How do you know you can run 26 miles if the longest you've run is 20. To them I say, beats me. Except, knowing that I have somehow worked my way up to being able to run 20 miles without falling over dead leads me to believe that maybe, just maybe, it's possible.

Needless to say, running 20 miles isn't something one does lightly, or usually, unless you're Mr. H., by oneself. So for that added support I knew I'd need, I signed up for the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) Ready to Run 20 Miler, where I was able to run with other people going the same speed as me. Though I started in the back with the other slow people, it was great to be with such a huge group of people. We pretty much took over the entire Lake Front path and I genuinely felt sorry for any other runners or bikers who were on the path. At around mile three I made a friend and we ran together until about mile 13. I neglected to get her name but I know she's a high school English teacher who lives in Beverly, this is her first year running the marathon, her husband is also running it and, like Mr. H., is much faster than her. So if you're out there, thanks for running with me. It made those miles so much better - hope to see you on race day!

If you look down at my miles left to run, you'll notice a nice drop off. That's because these next three weeks are all step back weeks before the big race. Each week is a shorter distance until I have a super light week of only a couple of three miles runs before three rest days before the marathon. I know that the step back weeks have given me the energy to build up to the next push forward and so I'm really looking forward to taking this time to recover even though I'll still be putting in some miles.

I'm also starting to get excited/nervous/anxious/somewhat let down for the marathon. I know that it's going to be a big day, and I'm not sure how I'll sleep the night before. Training for a marathon is in and of itself a marathon of sorts. A lot of work and dedication. My summer was pretty different than what it would have been had I not decided Mr. H. and I should do this. So getting near the end of this has me already anticipating what it's going to be like after. I won't have to get up and run four days a week (not that I've been that successful at that this last month). I won't have to get up at 5 a.m. to run on Sunday mornings.  In a way a relief. But also, what am I going to do with myself? I want to keep running (just not quite as much), and we're already talking about some half marathons we might do. All this training for one thing. A big thing. And to make it even bigger and more important, I'm not only doing it for myself, but to help raise awareness about childhood cancer and to help give a kid a chance at a summer camp experience. There are times it's overwhelming. But in that great, I'm glad I'm doing something, even if it's just a little bit, way. For all of you who have supported me, with donations, or encouraging words, I am truly grateful. I couldn't have made it this far without you. 

Fundraising update
This last week saw a couple more donations helping me to my goal of $1000 - Katey and Ken, thank you very much. I have only $240 left to go. Mr. H. is making headway on his fundraising too. If you'd like to donate to either of us, you can do so at the below links.

Running/fundraising stats for week ending September 16
Miles run this week: 28
Training miles to date: 361.22
Miles left to run (including the marathon): 85.2
Dollars left to raise:  $240

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