First of all, thank you to all of you that read my birthday blog last week! All your wishes and comments were awesome and hilarious! I loved sharing a part of me with all of you and will continue to do so, but I was truly overwhelmed with the love and support from all the views 🙂
Now….on to this week!!! So… those of you that follow me on social media, have noticed the increase in my cardiovascular activity via the Nike app… IT’S OFFICIAL! I will be running in the Chicago Marathon this October! This is my first marathon, my 3rd race overall and I’m nervous but excited. In truth, I was convinced to do this race by Jake, but also because I was able to avoid the dreadful lottery situation and the hefty price tag. I was being offered a spot on a charity team through a contact at the gym, so honestly, I had nothing to lose plus other friends of mine that I train with were also on board. I knew that I might have made that decision rather rashly and signed up anyhow and got the confirmation email and was slightly apprehensive.
After signing up for the race, I did realize that I should probably look up the charity I am running for and will be raising money for. Chicago Diabetes Project, started in 2004, a group of highly qualified scientists and their teams who committed themselves to achieving a functional cure for diabetes as soon as possible. Headed by director, Dr. José Oberholzer, who holds the coordinator and director of cell transplantation position at The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, along with other Chicago Diabetes Project leaders believe that the scientific community has all the necessary ingredients to make cell-based therapy an option for the majority of diabetic patients. Having parents both diagnosed with diabetes as many of Indian descent are, I started to realize how important this charity’s mission is. I may also be diagnosed with diabetes myself years from now, as they are projecting that by 2025, 300 million people will be affected by it, and that’s not counting those that aren’t diagnosed because of lack of health care. These researchers have teamed up with global partners in Norway, Switzerland & Slovakia as well to create a larger experimentation alliance to increase the time frame in finding this cure for diabetes. Living in Chicago and knowing UIC’s Medical System well, it made running this race that much more important knowing that I can help raise money to bring awareness to this charity, my city and most importantly a formidable cure for diabetes.
So, before 2014, I never once ran a mile just to run a mile. I decided one October afternoon that I would run to the gym from my house via the beautiful lakefront. That’s about 8 miles from door to door. I know, what moron that doesn’t run decides to go for 8 miles right out of the gate. Hey, it was a gorgeous day out and well, I had been training with Jake for about 7 months at that point…why not? Well, aside from the atrocious 14 minute pace, you just don’t do that to your legs. I was bored, it was mindless…. but something inside me was inspired. After I got over a month’s worth of sore muscles from that run, I started running after that once a week, about 2-3 miles. My pace was still about 13-15 mins/mile depending on the day. A friend of mine convinced me to run a half-marathon with her in Nashville, so I started self -training for that. I trained outside, on the Chicago River and Lakefront in the cold, snow, sleet…. whatever was dished out to me. I was NOT EVER going to run on a treadmill, although I did twice and almost keeled over in boredom. I reduced my pace to about 11:30/mile to about 10:00/mile by the time April 2015 came around. I was aiming for an under 2-hour half in Nashville, but the humidity and hills I wasn’t completely prepared for and finished in 2 hours and 23 mins.
I remember being on that high for weeks afterwards! I still ran weekly up until that summer and switched from running to prepping for my first Spartan race in August. A whole new monster that was harder than running and really the strangest race I’d ever imagined. I did finish that race as well, but my time was not a concern, I was just happy to be done with 8 miles of mud, hills, obstacles and those stupid logs…. stupid freaking logs!!!! I’m never going to live that one down! After August, I pretty much was raced out and bored. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next, heck, I didn’t know if I was going to train with Jake much longer. I ran a few more days just to keep up with my pace and saw that I was much stronger and running 8:00/miles…hmmmm? 😉
My Current Training:
So, now that we know that I am signed up to run 26.2 miles in October, training is underway! It didn’t start without drama, yep, I had a meltdown and freaked out days after I signed up and was just so unsure. I hadn’t run a mile since January and wasn’t sure if my body could handle it and I didn’t want to let the charity down or my friends or Jake. After some convincing from him and a new training schedule coupled the assurance from my friend Kerry that we would keep on each other, I felt much better. I felt really great when I went on my first training run and ran a 7:58 mile and wasn’t winded at all…the good news continued when I ran a 7:08/mile followed by a 6:27/mile and then finally a personal best at 6:14/mile. Now, Jake had me sprint those to build my own confidence in my ability to run, that I hadn’t lost it and that I was stronger than I knew. After that week, I slowed it down and had to start working on pace. The first slow run I did was just awful, I was all over the place and too fast. Too fast? Point is that I can’t sustain 6:14 for 26.2 miles, that’s just insane.
I needed to start learning how to run consistent paces in one run, although I know that when I race adrenaline will cause me to run some parts faster than others. I had to start running 2-4 miles with a pace that is comfortable and doesn’t exert all my energy. Luckily, I am a slow starter so I don’t burn out early, but that doesn’t mean that I can just take off at will and not burn out later. This whole mentality of this race has got me in a bit of a state of confusion. Trying to mentally control my own adrenaline from pushing me too fast too soon has been quite the struggle. I currently am on week 6, working on 6 miles with a 9:00/mile pace, trying to work on getting that consistent and not any lower…although we have toyed with idea of qualifying for the Boston Marathon which requires a slightly faster pace ;). I have definitely started to feel the fatigue in my body as I haven’t slowed down my 5 days a week training with Jake which really will help my build more strength, speed and power in my stride. I run 3 short distances a week and my long runs are Sunday mornings. I have a slight concern on losing more weight as I train this hard, but I have been eating like a horse and have been watching my weight closely. Today, I finally became an official runner as I was bumped by a car on a run as he rolled through the stop sign…I still finished my run with an 8:00/mile pace…yep, just call me Wonder Woman….I totally stopped that car with my power!!! LOL!!! Foam rolling hurts more than having my intestines ripped out and Tiger Balm and Aspercreme have become my daily drugs. I also can’t say Fartleks without cracking up and will continue to be a immature about it! This weekend will be my first run with Jake as he paces me and can really feel out my stride and my running style. I am looking forward to corrections from him as I know that his expertise is long distance runs is highly respected. I am sure that there will be more to tell as the months pass, and I will keep you all updated here and on all my social media, especially my donation page!
So here’s my kickoff to 2016’s Marathon Training Season!!! Our team, Cellmates on the Run is cruising and I can’t wait to share more of our stories and our training sessions! If you are also training to run any races this year, I would love to hear your stories as well, it’s so amazing to hear about the feats people over come in any form to reach their goals!
Stay tuned for more awesome updates and until then go take a look at my donation page and feel free to ask me anything!!
P.S. Someday you will learn the story behind my nickname, Gizmo 🙂