It’s been about a week since signing up for the marathon and I have yet to actually, you know, run. The good news is I finished The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training this weekend. It bestowed upon me plenty of training wisdom. All I need to do between now and May (when the official training plan starts) is build a reasonable base of running. They say about 20-25 miles per week is reasonable. Deep breath. Okay, reasonable to me seems to be closer to 10 miles per week, but what do I know. 

The Big Book provided helpful suggestions like, run hard but don’t overdo it, cross-train but nothing replaces running, get enough to eat but avoid gaining weight, and a myriad of other pieces of dichotomous advice. It was mind-numbing, yet it kept me busy enough so when a hot wave of terror surged through me and my eyes widened incredulously in the realization that I’m actually doing this, I was simply able to move on to the next word, sentence, or idea, and put the whole thing out of my mind. Oh, stretching before running is somewhat controversial. Good to know… It kept me distracted, and inspired.

The book also made it clear that proper training requires runners to track and log miles for every run. Luckily, the LUNGevity foundation hooked me up with CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) and their virtual training plan that includes for mileage tracking. Because I didn’t want to be the only dork training in a different city and state who isn’t officially logging any mileage, I picked up a Timex Ironman GPS watch with a heart monitor. It took me 30 minutes just to figure out how to program the time and date. And forget about the whole zoning thing, that’ll have to wait. Let’s face it, I’m in way over my head.

CARA. Thinking of the CARA runners jogging along the lakeshore path makes me yearn for home. And while I’m grateful for the virtual training, I’m glum I can’t train in Chicago with the hundreds of other runners aiming for the same goal. Missing out on the solidarity is a real bummer. In all fairness, it’s daft to complain about the northern Cali training landscape with its rolling hills, lush trees, and beautiful scenery. Just lonely. My new watch and me. We’ll be putting in the miles together… starting tomorrow.

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