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Just Like That

When I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon back in October, July 26th 2009 seemed so far away!!! Now I am only three short runs away from running my first full marathon. This process has been very educational not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. After I cross the finish line next Sunday, I will have over 875 miles of running for the year. That is equivalent to running from Denver to Tucson, Arizona!!

After trying to schedule long runs for so many Sunday mornings, it seemed odd this week to only have 8 miles. I am a big believer in visualizing success beforehand, so with each run I keep re-enacting what I think it will feel like to run the race and cross the finish line. I have come up with different aspects to focus on for different parts of the race. This is my plan so far:

Miles 1-6: Have fun, enjoy the crowd, excitement, and adrenaline
Miles 7-11: Focus on finding a comfortable pace and stride
Miles 12-16: Focus on consistency in fueling and pacing, zone out
Miles 17-21: Focus on form - arms down, elbows in
Miles 22-26.2: Run with passion, think about the journey leading up to this moment

During the past two weeks, I have definitely experienced taper madness. Most people say it is caused by the cut back in mileage, but that is not the case for me. What worries me the most is just minor aches and pains that I have been having. They say that during your taper, you can't enhance anything you have done for your marathon, but you can undo what you have done. So basically, don't do anything stupid the weeks leading up to the race!

Runner's World has an awesome article about what to do during the last three weeks. I am really going to try hard to eat well and drink lots of water this week. I am also trying to add an extra half hour of sleep each night.

The great thing about this race is that I get to look forward to a vacation after it is done. We will be spending two nights in Napa and then back to San Francisco for some more sightseeing once the legs have recovered. So worse comes to worse, I can always distract myself at the end with thoughts of wine, cheese and chocolate! :)

I hope I can post one more time before we leave on Thursday. If not, I will have a full race report when we get back!

Chi-Town and Updates

I'm back!!! I can't believe it is already the middle of July. Where did the summer go? Hubs and I have had a jam packed schedule since we got back from Chicago, and I am just now starting to feel like I have a handle on things. Does everyone else struggle getting back into the real world after vacation? I always feel like it takes me at least a week to get caught up.

Before we left for Chicago, I did my long run on Thursday morning. This is the first time I have ever done a long run in the middle of the week, and it was my last long run before the marathon. My legs were definitely tired for this run since I had done a 14 mile trail run on Sunday and I had a make-up tennis match on Wednesday night that lasted over 3 hours!!! Not exactly an ideal situation, but running 20 miles during my vacation in Chicago didn't sound like a smart idea. Good thing since I didn't even manage to run my 10 mile run I had scheduled.

Even with tired legs, this run was pretty uneventful. My friend Jess joined me out on the highline canal again and the miles ticked away fast since we were talking so much. During training, the long runs have always been my favorite. It is the mid-long runs (9-12) during the week that I haven't really enjoyed.

After we finished, I hurried home to shower, pack and head to the airport. Chicago was absolutely fantastic. I can see why so many young professionals choose to live in Chicago. I could never live there because of the miserable winters and I would miss the mountains too much. I never realized how FLAT Chicago is. Since pictures are much more fun I will let them tell the story of our trip! :)

Dinner and drinks at Moe's in Wrigleyville

Cubs Game (They won in the 10th inning!)

Watching the fireworks at Navy Pier

The top floor of the Hancock building after shopping on Michigan Ave.

Dinner at Japonais on the Chicago River

I'm in Chicago!

At the Bean in Millennium Park

North St. Beach

At the beach with the Chicago skyline

Architectural Boat Cruise

Sears Tower

My two favorite buildings are the ones on the right

Grant Park

We definitely had a great trip, and can't wait to plan another visit to Chicago. I still can't believe how much we did in 3 1/2 days. I think we got a good feel of the city. Another part of the trip that I really enjoyed was walking around Bucktown. It has a bunch of cute boutiques and restaurants and I thought it was a really cool part of the city. Less than two weeks till our next vacation....San Fran!!!