How do you fit a marathon training program into a busy schedule that includes fairly frequent traveling? Since the beginning of June, I have been in Atlanta, San Diego, New Providence (NJ) and most recently, in Chicago. As I have tried to stay disciplined by sticking to my training program, I am becoming adept at packing enough running gear when I travel, and working around my schedule while I’m out of town to get my runs in.
Admittedly, it is challenging sometimes to run during trips, either personal or business. In Atlanta, San Diego and New Providence, I failed to connect with any runners in those areas so I planned my own routes from the hotels. Sometimes that was successful, and other times I found myself running along roads that weren’t meant for runners. Regardless, the feeling of running in a city in which I’ve never run before, not just to be there running a race, is a feeling I’m starting to recognize and appreciate. This past weekend, my best friend and I traveled to Chicago to attend the 5 year anniversary party for Imerman Angels, a charity that connects cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers. I will be running the Chicago Marathon as a member of their running fundraising team, Imerman Active. Being around other runners, and staying so close to Lake Michigan, I knew that I would become closely acquainted with the Lakefront Trail while in Chicago for the weekend.
On both Saturday and Sunday morning, I found myself on the trail that runs along the lake with what seemed to be thousands of runners and cyclists. There was a good mix of individuals running, small groups of 3-4, and larger training teams doing a group run together. I ran by myself and didn’t see anybody I knew, but I felt really connected to the running scene in Chicago by being out with other runners on a normal day, just training, not running a race. I probably won’t make it back to Chicago until the marathon, but being able to do a couple of training runs there is sort of like making an offering to the city. I’m not just going to come to your city, run the race and go. Chicago is my favorite big city, and after running the marathon this year, it will be my second marathon there, and third race overall. Maybe I can consider Chicago my second running home?
My one regret from the weekend was that I was not able to run with the Imerman Active team. They did their weekly long run on Saturday morning on the lakefront, but because of the anniversary party the previous evening (i.e. staying out too late), I didn’t make it up earlier enough that morning to join them. Hopefully I will be able to connect with them more on marathon weekend, and find some runners that are targeting a pace similar to mine for the race. I was thrilled to make some new friends while there, and see firsthand their passion for Imerman Angels and giving back to help others.
Note: If you would like to sponsor me in the Chicago Marathon, you can make a donation to Imerman Angels here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/brett-bogan/imermanangels2011team.