When I made the commitment to train for the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon I knew that it would take some serious time, dedication and mileage. As a triathlete I love cross-training, can’t wait to dive into the water, and enjoy being on the bike. I put up with the run because it’s part of the overall package (kind of like a boyfriend with a bad habit or two). About 3 months ago if you’d asked me about running I would have told you that I thought it was the absolute worst. I wouldn’t have ever called myself a runner, and honestly was very intimidated by it after a stress fracture in my tibia in 2012. Still, never one to back down from a challenge and always in search of a new finish line I couldn’t let this year pass me by without the marathon in my sight. After all, there is no greater accomplishment than doing something you once thought might not be possible, am I right?! I had something to prove – to myself.
Luckily, the NTC Lincoln Park CREW was in the picture. As discussed here, NTC Lincoln Park opened at the beginning of the year and not only offers amazing duds, kicks and classes but also was the center of an extremely talented running community – the CREW. 18 weeks ago we came together as strangers, and today we stay together as friends who helped each other through seemingly endless training runs, injuries, and a few low points here and there (um hi, my second 18-miler, FML). On the flip side we celebrated each other’s PRs, strengths, good days and helped boost each other’s confidence – we were in this together. I can honestly say that I could not have gotten through our training plan without each and every one of these bad ass babes. Each one of them inspired me weekly on so many levels. Whether it be their speed, determination, or positivity every gal brought something to my table and gave me a new level of respect for endurance sport. I truly looked forward to Saturday mornings no matter what distance was on tap.
As a member of the CREW we were lucky enough to have access to a Nike crafted marathon training plan as well as really fun events. Discovery runs took us throughout the city and culminated in a dance party, sweet treat or (booze) cruise on Lake Mich. We even were on location at baller photo-shoots with a Nike photog behind the lens, I mean, it’s really not that big of a deal…(okay it is!!). Below is a small snap shot of our path to becoming marathoners.
They say you shouldn’t cry because something is over, but smile because it happened. Even though I try to act super hard, I’m actually completely emotional and sentimental in all facets of life. I always get what I’ve come to call “post-race day let down.” Meaning, the feeling you get after a race is over, kind of like a Monday morning after a really fun weekend, or the day after Christmas. It’s been a bit of a rough week for me battling lactic acid and knowing that this chapter is over, and we can’t get it back. But there is comfort knowing there will be others and we’ll move forward one foot at a time stronger, faster, harder and better versions of ourselves. Thank you ladies of the CREW, you are truly remarkable. Now…what’s next?!
Images via: NTC Lincoln Park and Nike