The Countdown to the Disney Marathon! What a Journey!

It has been quite an interesting 6 months training for the Disney Marathon. Today marks 4 days prior to the start of the marathon on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 6AM. I knew what I was getting into when my two Sanibel buddies Evette and Christine asked me to run the marathon with them nearly a year ago…but it’s always a different story when you are facing the race itself! Having completed three marathons, one per year for three consecutive years, I took a couple years off due to the illness and eventual death of my mom over 2005-2006. So getting back into running long distances had me a little worried—I am not getting any younger and you are more prone to injury as you age! Right? Well, I hope to shatter that notion and achieve a PR (personal record) on this race.

What a year! I definitely learned a lot from my training over the past 6 months. Here are a few thoughts:

  • Sorrow abated! Tomorrow marks the 1-year anniversary of my mother’s death. Being able to do this marathon one year later makes me feel good. I know my mom would be proud.
  • Great friendships were made! Christine and Evette from Sanibel, FL became two of my closest friends—even though we do not live in the same state. The marathon training bonded us! We were able to complete a number of training runs together and kept in contact of our training through email. Not only did I become better friends with these two, but I became better friends with Giulia who is an awesome athlete who usually trains with the Ironman boys here in Oak Park. Somehow she took pity on me and has pulled me through the long, cold, dark morning runs in the fall/winter in Chicagoland. We have had some seriously fun and funny times! What a great friend!
  • Mental break-throughs! For years, I ran at 11:30-12 minute/mile pace. During my training this year, I was finally able to break that barrier and bring down my times into the 9-10 minute/mile range. Running with people who were faster than me helped me to do this.
  • Great support from a great coach! My coach Pete Alfino from has helped me tremendously with sticking to the training program, making it fit into an active busy lifestyle. He also provided much needed encouragement when various life issues would get me down. Yes, I hope to break 5 hours in this marathon. My coach got me through all the training necessary to do that. We’ll see how it all turns out. Either way, the journey was worth it.
  • Strength gained! Not only did I gain physical strength, but I gained mental strength. Two 20+ mile training runs had to be done by myself. Coach Pete said it was good for me because it made me stronger. He was right.
  • Marriage strengthened! Because my husband is also training, we were able to do a lot of training runs and workouts together. It was a great way to spend time together. Because my speed improved, it was not such a burden for him to run with me. Of course, I really appreciated his support too.
  • Injuries overcome! As usual, this training time was not without a wide array of aches and pains. Over the course of my training these past six months, I faced, treated, and overcame shin splints, a jammed big toe, severe debilitating back pain, and recently a very bad cold with accompanying fatigue and cough—leading to throwing out my neck during a coughing spell. Because we have a wide array of natural treatments available to us, I was able to utilize proteolytic enzymes, vitamins/herbs, chiropractic, Prolotherapy, heat, massage, infrared heat, and good old fashioned TLC to keep me on the road. I can tell you first hand that these things work!

In summary: Getting to the starting line is half the battle! I made it that far! I hope to cross the finish line in under 5 hours—as an accomplishment for myself and for my coach. If I don’t do it, it won’t be for not trying. I feel ready. I feel prepared. I am excited to be doing the race with my two best buddies and my husband. Lasting memories have been and will be made along this training journey and the race itself.

We’ll be leaving in a few short days—I hope to get some good photos from the actual marathon race to show you! Say a little prayer for me on Sunday if you think about it! See you on the road!