February 11, 2011

Choosing Chicago

After being on the fence for the past few days, I finally made up my mind and.....registered for the 2011 Chicago Marathon!! I hesitated for a while because I wasn't sure about New York. I was hoping NY would be my big fall marathon, and I've only been dying to run it since I started running. But there's a chance I won't get in through the lottery this year, and Chicago was a very tempting Plan B. The dilemma, however, was that if I waited to hear about New York (mid-March), Chicago would probably be sold out. I would love to do both, but unfortunately 2 trips to the east coast within a one month span is just not going to happen financially. I checked the NYC Marathon website and found out that if I get in this year, I can basically save it and get a guaranteed entry for the following year. So, with this bit of info and the fact that a few awesome folks I know will also be running Chicago, I took the plunge and registered, and I couldn't be more excited! The Chicago Marathon has been on my wish list for a while, and it has some other advantages, too, like checking off another state, a pancake flat PR-worthy course, and a mini-vacation in an awesome city. I can't wait to see the bean!
Lately we've been treated to some wonderfully sunny weather and warm temps, spurring me to break out my good 'ol Nike tempo shorts. Unfortunately, my legs weren't quite ready to go bare and after two runs in shorts I have some nasty and very painful chafing!! I swiped on BodyGlide both times but to no avail - I just sweat that stuff off. Maybe I need to apply it more liberally? Or maybe my skin just needs to toughen up? I've worn tempo shorts in multiple marathons and on endless training runs, so I don't know what gives. But man, I forgot how painful it can be! And how I walk like someone fresh off a horse saddle : /

This week kicked off a busy schedule of events at work over the next several weeks, wreaking havoc on the training routine I'd comfortably settled into. Instead of doing my midweek medium-long run on Tuesday following my volunteer shift in the morning (one of my usual days off), I went straight to work and didn't leave til 10pm resulting in a rest day. Instead, my second day off this week was today, which meant I had to do some schedule rearranging to fit in the runs I wanted to do. Since, once again, I won't be able to make it to the trails this weekend, I decided to hit the roads for a long run this afternoon. I decided to run along the river as usual, but this time I spent the first few miles on the horse trails. They certainly aren't very technical, but they are still good practice for trail running, and the change of scenery was wonderful. To think that all this time I've been running on the bike trail I never knew that just feet away there are these awesome trails!

While things started out great, just a few miles in I could tell it wasn't going to be a good one. Around mile 4 I started to feel like I had heartburn and my stomach started to feel off. My whole abdomen was cramping, I had some intense pressure in my chest, and I had trouble catching my breath. I don't know if it was something I ate earlier in the day (doubtful, nothing weird or different), a fueling issue (did my usual Gu every 45 min, salt cap every hour + water), or something else. As I ran on it only got worse, and I found myself forced to take a few breaks, completely stopping for several minutes at a time when the pain got so bad I couldn't run. I seriously considered cutting the run short and asking someone to borrow their phone to call someone for a ride home, but I pushed on. I had planned on 15 miles, but decided to just stop at 13, which would get me back to my house. With just a couple miles to go the sun started to go down and I was treated to the most gorgeous sunset I've ever seen in Sacramento. Running across the river with the fiery colors reflecting off the water, I completely forgot about the pain, or even that I was running at all. It was beautiful, and that moment alone made my struggles during the run worth it. When I got to my house I felt a little better, so I tacked on one more mile around my neighborhood to finish with 14 miles. I still have a couple more (shorter) runs to do this weekend to round out the week, but I'm glad I got this one out of the way and I'm just putting it behind me.

Anyone else running Chicago? Have a race or long run this weekend?


  1. I've already said it, but I'll say it again- I am SOOOO excited that you're running Chicago.

    I hate those runs that involve heartburn/stomach issues. Those are the WORST.

    I wish I had a run on the schedule for this weekend but I'm still taking it easy :) I miss it so much already. My feet are still nasty though and they need some more time before I hit the pavement again.

  2. I think I'll run Chicago next year or the year after.

    I can understand your determination of getting through your 15 mile run. Even though it only turned out to be 14, some days, it's just not meant to be.

    My long run was 13 miles yesterday, I will be running the Austin Marathon next Sunday. (Not a pancake flat PR course)