Monday, September 24, 2012

My favorite, yet most difficult, client

13 days out now from the 2012 Chicago Marathon, the man's BIG race of 2012.

Last weekend we put in our last 20 before the race. It was cold and blustery with a bit of sprinkles here and there, a complete 180 from all of our other long runs so far this year. Summer came into Chicago fast and hard in the early weeks of D's marathon cycle. For a man that was just getting back into distance running and hadn't run over 10 miles in 6 years, training became a bit more challenging than we anticipated in the harsh summer weather.

Those first few long runs were tough on him both mentally and physically, we took plenty of walk breaks in the late miles and ended up shaving several miles off the top of quite of few of these runs. Even when I progressed his training slowly, it seemed to take his body a bit longer to get the hang of this whole marathon training thing after a 6 year hiatus. For awhile we weren't really sure if he was going to be able to make it to that starting line on 10/7 healthy, but we both kept patient and were holding out for the moment that things would finally come together. 7 weeks in, he was finally able to get in a solid long run (17.18 miles with an 8:58 average to be exact where the last 5 miles where lingering just around 8:00 flat) without walking and feeling beat to hell in the late miles.

1 kick-butt run is all he needed to tell him that it was on for 10/7 and that there was no reason whatsoever to doubt that he couldn't do it. We took this as a sign that he was ready for some challenging workouts and set our sights on running one awesome marathon together and time to ramp up his training.

When I told him to do 800's at an 3:30-35 pace
He would do them at 3:00.

When I told him to do a 4 mile tempo at 7:45 pace
He would run the first few miles at 7:30 then bust out with a low 6 pace in the last mile.

When I told him to be patient with the long run pace 
He would push it anyhow in the late miles and try to school me in the end.

And now he's ready.

It's amazing how much a runner, or any athlete for that matter, can grow in a 4 month time period with a bit of persistence and patience. Goals that once seemed far off can become well within reach, and the possibilities of what lay ahead really gets your motor going. The coolest part is when that runner is your own husband where he tests and challenges you every step of the way completely blowing your expectations of his abilities out of the water. 

That last 20.01 miles we ran last Saturday took us 2:56 minutes, which is an 8:47 average pace. 

That was 7 minutes ahead of his last 20 miler 3 weeks prior, where his last 7 miles were a progressive build down to a 7:28 pace for mile 20. 

We aren't getting too concerned about marathon pacing yet, just focusing our efforts on running a smart solid race where we restrain as much control as possible in those early miles to conserve a heck of a lot of energy to cruise right through the finish. No matter what that clock says, I think he already is a winner and I couldn't be more proud of him for waiting out the rocky start to he had with his training patiently for this exact point in time.

This is the most excited I've EVER been for a marathon where I'm really enjoying not thinking about myself and my goals where all my efforts are instead focused on what is best for D. It actually makes the whole marathon experience worth it to know that you're going to be at your best friend side as they shoot for and nail their own goal.

Chicago Marathon 2012, here we come!


  1. Good luck! I can't wait to hear about it!

  2. That is so exciting! I'm really happy for you and the hubby! I'll be out there cheering for you guys and I wish you (and him) a happy and healthy race full of smiles and strong legs!! :)

    1. thanks! lets hope there are a lot of smiles, makes the 26.2 seem less daunting! Where will you be spectating?

    2. I don't yet know where I'll be spectating. I have to figure out a good place to park that is close to the finish yet also public transportation to take me all over Chicago! :) I hope to be at a couple different spots along the way. I'll be sure to post on my blog what I'll be wearing and where I'll be! :)

  3. Damn! Sounds like D is more than ready to rock the streets of ChiTown with you :) and I must agree that getting to run by your best friends side during a race like this, Is in many ways more exciting than toeing the line alone for a personal goal race. I know I'm a bit more excited to run with L for Chicago and support him for the 26.2 than I was for fox valley, if only by a small margin :)

  4. Just shows you how hard work and dedication can really pay off. Best of luck with the race.

  5. ok reading this gives me hope for my own race. i am about light years away from any of those paces, but I am putting in the work and you're right in 4 months I can see a difference if I remain consistent!

  6. So awesome that you two are doing this together. What an AWESOME experience! Go Get It!

  7. So excited for both of you! Good luck, I will be watching for a race recap! Hope you both have a great race day.

  8. Good luck! You both are going to do great!

  9. Wow sounds like somebody is chomping at the bit to unleash it on race day! What a cool journey you two have shared. I'm looking forward to possibly working the first water station then being spectator in chief on 10/7. I hope I can meet both of you!

  10. That's awesome. Great to hear he has come so far along. You guys are both gonna rock it.

  11. you are an amazing coach and cheerleader. So proud of you both!

  12. I am so excited to hear how he does!

  13. Such a great (and funny post)! I'm sure my husband wouldn't listen to me either ;) GOOD LUCK! Can't wait to hear all about it!