Sunday, May 04, 2008

It's that time again

Time to make sure I'm in bed every Friday at a reasonable hour. Time to stock up on sunscreen and laundry detergent. Time to ask everyone I know—and don't know, for that matter—for money. Time to start blogging endlessly about my running and eating and pooping schedules. Time to start training for this year's Chicago Marathon!

After doing two marathons on my own in less than 4:30 and two marathons with the AIDS Marathon training program (which is designed just to get people across a finish line) in the 5:00+ range, I was intending to train on my own again this summer. BECAUSE I MUST BEAT FOUR HOURS. But then the AIDS Marathon developed a new advanced program for people looking to hit a specific time goal. So I'm back on board ... and slightly nervous about what's in store for me.

Our first training run started Saturday morning under bright sun and unseasonable chill ... after we first stood around filling out a ton of forms enumerating our injuries and our goals:

Then we ran three miles as fast as our little legs could carry us so we could get placed in our pace groups. I have no idea what inspired me to dress like I was auditioning for Blue's Clues: The Musical when I knew Matthew would be recording the day on his spiffy new camera:

Unfortunately, our pacing runs happened in multiple heats, and the first finishers in my group didn't stick around so we could all get to know each other. And have our picture taken for my blog. THE. NERVE. So here I am with Peter and Matthew from last year. Peter is in the group ahead of us this year, because he totally kicked our asses on Saturday. Technically, I timed in in the group behind Matthew, but I want to spend the summer coughing up my own lungs, so I promoted myself to his pace group for the summer. I will live to regret this.

The advanced training program requires that we have running watches. I don't even own a real watch because I have a slight birth defect in my wrists: abnormally large pisiforms that make wearing a watch kind of painful. But I really want to beat my 4:00 goal, so I am now the proud owner of a Garmin Forerunner® 405, which monitors my heart rate via a little thing I strap to my moobs, tracks my running distance via GPS satellites and mixes me a vodka tonic after each successful run. It's kind of expensive, but I've never bought a watch in my life, so I simply tapped into 40 years of unspent watch money to pay for it.

While I had my wallet out on Saturday, I also got a fresh pair of Brooks® Adrenaline™ GTS 8s. Benefit #271 of training for a marathon: You get to buy shoes! These shoes have been correcting my pronation and supination issues—and making my feet look huge and manly—for years. My podiatrist—who I'm pretty sure is not an employee of the Brooks company–advised me to replace my running shoes every 100 miles, so I dutifully get a new pair every every spring and every fall. According to the Brooks marketing materials, the company is constantly improving this shoe ... and giving it a new accent color every season. This season's color is yellow, which is so perfect because I totally don't have any yellow shoes yet!

So everything is in place for a fabulous summer of AIDS Marathon training: the shoes, the watch, the little strap for my moobs ... all that's left is the shameless plea for you to sponsor me. But I haven't set up my donor page yet, so you're off the hook for the time being. But take this opportunity now to find your wallet and memorize your credit card number because I'll be begging for money in the near future. You've been warned.

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