Sunday, March 1, 2015

Time to Train

Today is the first day of March, which means that spring is almost here. Or at least I hope it is. It also happens to mean that I had my first meeting/run with Chicago Endurance Sports. That's right, friends, this non-morning person got up early today to attend CES open house for their spring half marathon training this morning at Fleet Feet Sports Chicago Lincoln Square.

Open house before work = best way to start the day.
 I signed up for the training program shortly after registering for the Soldier Field 10 Mile. Although initially excited for the race this May, I quickly began to worry that I wouldn't be able to actually finish it. Simply put, I didn't (and still don't) trust myself to properly train for the race on my own. My longest race so far was an 8k, and I was really struggling with my running at the end of 2014. I felt like I needed help to safely train for a new and longer distance, and I knew that an online program or a book just wouldn't offer the accountability that actual face to face interactions would. I looked at CARA and CES training programs. The CES spring half marathon training fit better with my crazy schedule, met in my neighborhood, and was the official training program for the race (race day perks and knowing I'll see people I've trained with are nice bonuses), so CES was the clear winner.

Although we don't have our first official group run until next week, this morning's open house was a nice introduction to the program. Everyone I met was very nice and seemed excited for training to start. Most people there were either part of CES or were already registered for the program, but there were a few folks who were just there to get some information about the program. We started with a quick presentation of what the program offers, some information about some of the races (including the Soldier Field 10 Mile), and then we were off for a fun run. 

There was a choice of a 1 mile or 3 mile run/walk or a 4 mile continuous run. I chose the 3 mile run/walk at an 11:30 pace. It was cold outside, but I quickly warmed up as we ran. We did end up running a little slower than an 11:30 pace thanks to some snow and ice on the sidewalks. It was strange running with other people, but I really enjoyed it. In fact, the run seemed to fly by as we chatted, and before I knew it, we were back at the store to wrap up the open house and have some snacks. I felt great and found myself wishing that the run had been a little longer. 

Yay! Snacks!
Everyone mingled and chatted, and those of us who were already registered were able to pick up our packets, which including a training plan, shoe tag, and goodies like a shirt, hat, and a couple packs of Shot Bloks. I've never run long enough to need to use chews or gels or bars or anything like that, so the Shot Bloks are a foreign concept to me. I 'll keep them for when our training runs start getting longer and I need them. I like the shirt a lot, but it is too big, which is a problem I've never had before. I've been under the impression that I'm some sort of giant monster, because even the largest size for race shirts have been too small this past year.

The contents of my packet.
I made my way home to shower and change and feed Hannah before heading to work. I really need to get in the habit of getting up early to run. I feel so much happier and more energized after a run, so it is a great way to start the day. Also, my night time runs, though wonderful, make it hard for me to get to sleep at night. I just always feel so much more awake after a run!

I must have had a spring in my step, because I made it to work early enough to grab a cup of coffee before it was time to clock in and sit down. My co-workers even mentioned that I seemed more energetic than usual. But the best thing was finding out that there was chocolate at work today!

The best chocolate is free chocolate.
Group run! Free chocolate! I'll probably be exhausted by the end of March, but the month is starting out on the right foot.

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