Saturday, June 6, 2009

Navy Pier and Back

On a beautiful Friday night in Chicago, street-side patios and rooftop bars are typically calling my name. Not yesterday, however. Instead of a date with the pubs, I had a date with my running partner, and our plans were to run a long one.

Though I've only run a few LSDs (long slow distance runs) lately, I've come to look forward to and enjoy them. The sense of accomplishment in saying, "I just ran nine miles" is incredible and, rather than feeling exhausted and worn out, I feel energized and motivated. Last night was no different.

Our route began at her apartment just west of Wrigleyville, and we headed west to the lakeshore. Once at the lake, we ran south, past dozens of teams playing beach volleyball, Castaways, the Drake Hotel, The John Hancock Building, Oak Street Beach and finally, stopping for our turnaround at Navy Pier. Suffice to say, it was a scenic and very "Chicago" route, filled with some of my favorite sites.

At the turnaround, we stopped at a fountain for water and refueled with Clif Bar's Shot Bloks. Essentially, these are gummi-bear like cubes, filled with fast-burning carbohydrates and electrolytes. When training for my last marathon, I used gels and goos for nourishment during long runs, but I'm sold on Shot Bloks. The textile and taste is superior and, though water is definitely required during digestion, less was needed.

Throughout the run, the path was sprinkled with runners and bikers also choosing to take advantage of the nice weather (it was sunny and around 70 degrees with a slight breeze). It was a perfect evening, and a great way to kick off the weekend. I'm really enjoying having a running "partner in crime." Though marathon training is individual-focused, the comraderie is making a huge difference. My lack of running buddies over the past few years has definitely played a role in the decreased amount of time I've spent with the sport, but I'm hoping this continues to change. Training with CARA, I'm hoping to not to meet some other gals to run with!

This morning, my running buddy and I attended CARA's marathon training clinic. I received my training packet (!!!), and there were several sessions that offered advice for marathon training. The speakers were incredibly upbeat and motivating. Now, more than ever before, I'm pumped up about training and running to run a marathon in this great city!

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