Choose a Course, to Keep Course

When setting any goal, it is important to work towards something that is specific, and measurable. Which is why picking a race, is essential to planning my training program. I have generated a list of races in the Chicago area that take place during Spring 2013:


Race Legend

CARA Runners Choice Circuit
CARA Best of Chicagoland
CARA Certified Race
Long Distance Series
Clydesdale Weight Divisions
CARA Discount
Certified by USATF
Prize Money Awarded
Electronic Timing
Wheelchair Division
Baby Joggers Allowed
Pet Friendly
Schiller Chiller 5K & 10K Trail Race 12/01/2012 Chicago 10k-5k CARA Discount Electronic Timing
Santa Hustle 5K 12/01/2012 Chicago 5k CARA Discount Certified by USATF Electronic Timing CARA Certified Race
Jingle Bell Run/Walk 12/01/2012 Wheaton 5k Certified by USATF Electronic Timing
Lions Club Reindeer Run 12/01/2012 Wheaton 5k CARA Discount Certified by USATF Electronic Timing
Tricity Family Services Snowflake Shuffle 5K 12/01/2012 Geneva 5k-1m Baby Joggers Allowed Certified by USATF Electronic Timing
Kiwanis Santa Run 12/02/2012 Crystal Lake 5k-1m Baby Joggers Allowed Certified by USATF Electronic Timing
Reindeer Run 12/05/2012 Zion 5k Baby Joggers Allowed Certified by USATF Electronic Timing
Jingle Bell Run/Walk 12/09/2012 Kankakee 5k Certified by USATF Electronic Timing
Jingle Bell Run/Walk 12/15/2012 Chicago 10k-5k Certified by USATF Electronic Timing CARA Certified Race CARA Discount
2nd Annual Dash Into the New Year 5K 12/29/2012 Matteson 5k Baby Joggers Allowed Certified by USATF Electronic Timing
The Biggest Loser Run/Walk 12/30/2012 Panama City Beach FL Half Marathon-5k Certified by USATF Electronic Timing Prize Money Awarded
35th Annual March Madness Half Marathon 03/17/2013 Cary Half Marathon Certified by USATF
April Fools 5K Run 04/06/2013 Bloomingdale 5k Certified by USATF Electronic Timing
5K Spring Shuffle 04/14/2013 Addison 5k Certified by USATF Electronic Timing
Bear Paws for a Cause 04/27/2013 Kenosha WI 4k trail run-walk Electronic Timing
United Warriors Xtreme Race 08/10/2013 Jacksonville IL 5k Mud Run Electronic Timing

Based upon this list, what do YOU think is the best course?

What’s Next

As I already mentioned, last year I ran in the Lansing Half Marathon. During the last couple of miles in the race this past spring (which were undoubtedly the toughest stretch), a fellow runner struck up a conversation with me as a way to keep both our minds off the race. She talked about how she had run 5 miles in the last couple of years, and found the Lansing course to be the hardest with the hills, which created an even greater challenge. I didn’t realize that course can really impact performance. I don’t know a lot about selecting a good course. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Emma Buchholz, is the “friend” I referred to in my last post. She also enjoys running, and is a fellow blogger. I’m sure you will be seeing some guest blogs from her in the near future. You should go to her blog about her bucket list!

My Motivation

This past April, I successfully completed my first half marathon. I originally signed up for the Lansing Marathon in fall 2011 with one of my best friends, which I thought would be an adequate amount of time to train (a whole 6 months!). However, I got caught up in the holidays, got too lazy to run in the on cold days, blamed a busy schedule, and didn’t train whatsoever. Not only did I make excuses, but my friend also took similar shortcuts. So much for the buddy system, right?

As the months passed, the amount of training declined, and found myself in a panic as the weeks dwindled down to the big day. In the weeks leading up to the half marathon, I had run a total of 6 miles.

The night before the race, the thought of calling my friend to cancel had crossed my mind a dozen times, but I had to refrain when she called me excited about the following day. I tossed and turned all night thinking about the torture I was going to go through that next morning.

In the end, I completed the race in about 2:20. Physically, I wasn’t prepared for the race in any way, but it was my mental strength that got me through those few hours. The most important lesson I learned that day: mental > physical.

Now, that I know I can mentally get myself through two hours and twenty minutes of running, I want to push myself even further to see if I can become physically prepared. My goal is to run a half marathon this spring, with one goal: complete the race in 1:50. I have created this blog as a way to track my progress towards this goal. Enjoy!