Monday, March 21, 2011

1/2 Ironman Race vs. The Chicago Marathon Round 4

As many of my loyal readers know, I am all about running the Chicago Marathon. To me, it is “MY race”, ironically though, I’ve never done very well… or atleast met my full potential running that race. It’s been a huge struggle for me, to accept giving the race my all and then ending without meeting my time goals, or even coming close to them because of this constant knee pain. I know, I know, I should be happy that I have completed 3 marathons, and don’t get me wrong, I am! My problem lies within me, knowing that I am capable of an under 4 hr marathon and being denied that every time due to my knee problems.
This year, I’ve been really focusing on making my knee really strong so that I can run without this nagging pain. It’s a pain that I can only ignore for so long and eventually it leads me to have to walk and depending on the length of the race end in tears or the very least an ice bag wrapped around my knee. So I’ve been feeling really confident about my abilities this year and have been excited about the Chicago Marathon.

As I think I’ve said in a few posts though, I was kind of on the fence with whether or not I wanted to register this year. The only reason for contemplating this is because I do have other fitness goals, such as completing an Ironman race and even qualifying for Boston! Does that make me crazy? Probably, but I am always up for a challenge… obviously! The trick here is that I am being smart about triathlons and promised myself that I would only do an Ironman once I had worked my way through the different levels of triathlons. Last summer I tackled the Sprint and Olympic distances. I think I am ready for the next level, which would bring me to a ½ Ironman race this summer.

So the question arose, which race do I focus on, my ½ Ironman or a Boston Qualifying time at the Chicago Marathon? While technically I could train for both of them through the summer, I want to really focus on one so that I am happy with the results and if it doesn’t go as planned I can’t blame it on my training or lack thereof. My family, for the first year ever, was in 100% agreement that I should take a break from Chicago this year, while most of my runner and triathlon friends were encouraging me to do both! Ahhh… such a decision!

Well, I ended up procrastinating long enough that open registration closed for the Chicago Marathon! NOOO… So I contemplated running it for a charity and looking into it, when the beginning of March hit. I had decided that I was DEFINITELY going to do my ½ Ironman this summer – Racine or Muncie. So my more “intense” training I decided would start March 1st. Two weeks in to it, and feeling exhausted but loving every minute of it, I had my asthma attack! Woah… talk about a set back! I was so physically wiped out by that attack that it has taken me a week to get back to being able to give my workout 100%. That’s so not me, but shortness of breath and chest pain, kind of took that decision away from me… unless of course I wanted to end up in the hospital again. Thanks, I’ll pass!

I’m not a big person to believe in signs and all that stuff… but maybe this asthma attack was my body’s way of telling me to focus on my triathlon this year. Especially since swimming is a great exercise/sport for an asthmatic athlete, which I now am apparently…

So I’ve decided to be a great Cheerleader this year for all those marathon runners out there! Some of the spectators helped me get through all my marathons, but especially my first one! I only hope that I can return the favor to some struggling marathon runner! And one day, one day hopefully soon, I will get my BQ, be injury free and have strong lungs!

Just remember, the struggles that we face in every aspect of our lives make us who we are, so see them as a challenge to overcome with a positive mindset! Don’t let an obstacle hold you back! I’m not going to and you shouldn’t either!

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