With only a few weeks left before the race on Oct. 9, Emily ran her first 20-miler over Labor Day. The weekend was busy with a friend in town, but she woke up on Saturday morning and, in 80-degree heat, started her run in Evanston.
“Shawn moved up there because he is now a Ph.D. student at Northwestern,” Emily says about her boyfriend. “We started running together in downtown Evanston. It was a nice change of scenery.”
The couple ran in tandem until they reached the lakefront path—about five miles into the trek. From there, Emily headed south to Navy Pier. She felt strong until mile 12 and decided to walk while eating a Clif Shot Block. She struggled until mile 16, when she got a second wind.
“I got back to my place and was experiencing some pain in my left calf, but I was OK,” she says. “I ended up hanging out with my friend well into the night and, amazingly, felt great the next day.”
Emily reports several benefits of her training regimen—the most surprising being her new dedication to relaxation.
“I’m the kind of person who usually can’t sit still,” she says. “I fill my weekends with errands; I make dinner when I come home from work—I am just always going. Training has given me a real wake-up call that I just can’t do everything. It’s forced me to slow down.”
The change came after her training regimen hit the 13-mile mark. Up until then, Emily would run armed with a mental to-do list for later. The stress was too much, and physical exhaustion set in.
“I finally decided to relax; the long-run training has forced me to enjoy my weekends more,” she says. “I now know that it is OK for me to sit on the couch and watch TV for a couple hours. I don’t need to run around all the time. It has really given me a sense of serenity.”
Next time: The race is near. 26 miles of excitement.