The motto "I'll sleep when I'm dead" is one of my favorite expressions. The idea behind it, is to get the most out of life. Why skip a good party or some other unique experience just because you have some sleep schedule you are trying to keep? And, I have to admit, when I was a little younger, it was more of a lifestyle choice. One of my running partners enjoys telling the story of how he would pick me up for a long run on a Saturday morning and I would have just gotten back in from partying the night before. But I would finish the run. These days, however, that my body is no longer capable of that. And with three young children, I have learned to appreciate a few z's whenever I can get them.
Saturday mornings during marathon training, however, are not a good time to get that rest. That's when most runners I know get up early, and get lots of miles in before the rest of the family has even eaten breakfast. That was my plan last weekend. I was going to do 18-20 miles, with a friend meeting up to run the last ten of that with me.
That was before I failed to properly set my alarm clock. I awoke, instead, to a nudge from my wife that our middle daughter seemed to be awake, and making noise in the other room. That prompted a frantic look at the clock, and the realization I missed my wake-up time. Thank goodness for the little ones in my house!
So, after quickly checking on Tessa (she was fine), I rushed out the door and raced out to West Chicago where I was meeting my friend on the Prarie Path. I still had enough time to get six miles in before I was to meet him.
It was a beautiful morning for running. But I quickly discovered that it was not one of those mornings where the miles were going to float on by. It was a bit of a struggle. I'm pretty sure my legs were still recovering from heavy miles and the half marathon I ran earier in the week. I was pretty excited about how I ran in that race, but the reality of that effort set in during the run on Saturday.
And that is the lesson in all of this. We hear it all the time, and I suggest it to other runners all the time, but it's hard to do myself. The advice, of course, is 'listen to your body'. If you are feeling good, go ahead and push yourself. But if you are feeling run down and sluggish, don't force yourself to stick to your training schedule.
So I ran 16 miles instead of 20. My body was definitely thankful. I can run 20 this weekend instead, and give my body another week to recover. I can't exactly give myself credit for 'listening to my body', but I apparently picked a good time to mess up my alarm clock.
This is about the time in fall marathon training that our bodies start to feel sore and tired most of the time. The training starts to seem like more of a chore than a fun run. I don't have any advice on how to avoid that. I'm going through it as well. But the end is in sight. The CARA 20 miler is coming up in a little over a week, and that signifies the final (really) long run in most training programs before Chicago. So the end is in sight!
And along those lines, the marathon folks have lined up their elite field for the big race. It is a good one, especially in an Olympic year when most of the top marathon runners just did their fall marathon in Beijing a couple weeks ago. But they managed to lure the women's gold medal winner to come back and run again. Contantina Tomescu-Dita has won here in the past, and is just a great lady. I don't know well how she expects to run so soon after the Olympics, but at 38 years old, she doesn't have many more big pay days left, so we benefit by getting the gold medal winner here in Chicago. And she is a really nice lady and great spokesperson for the sport as well. Below is the complete list of runners in the News Release from the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Announces Elite Field
2008 Olympic Women's Marathon Gold Medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita Tops List
CHICAGO (September 9, 2008) - Bank of America today announced the elite field of male and female athletes scheduled to compete for the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon® championship titles on Sunday, Oct. 12. Topping the list is newly crowned Olympic women's marathon gold medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania and up-and-comer William Kipsang of Kenya who currently holds the 11th all-time fastest marathon finish time, fifth-fastest this year (2:05:49).
At age 38, Tomescu-Dita became the oldest woman to ever win the gold medal in the 26.2-mile Olympic contest. Familiar to Chicagoans, Tomescu-Dita won the 2004 ChicagoMarathon and her 2008 appearance will mark her fifth on the notoriously fast and flat course. In her last two Chicago appearances, Tomescu-Dita finished second to American Deena Kastor (2005) and led the 2006 women's field at course record pace (sub-2:17) through mile 16 before being surpassed by eventual champion Berhane Adere (ETH) in the 22nd mile.
"I am delighted to be returning to Chicago. I have always felt great running there and have been fortunate to have some of the best races of my life there," said Tomescu-Dita from Romania shortly following her Olympic victory in Beijing. "It will also be nice to return because I understand Chicago is bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games and I think it would be a wonderful place to have them."
Tomescu-Dita will be challenged by 2007 Chicago Marathon runner-up and fellow Romanian Adriana Pirtea, 28, and up-and-comer Bezunesh Bekele, 25, of Ethiopia. Chicago fans will recognize Pirtea who came into the final stretch last year with a sizeable lead. As she pumped her arm in victory a few hundred meters from the finish, returning 2006 Chicago champ Adere streaked up behind her unnoticed until she was uncatchable in the final strides to repeat her championship finish. Bekele will follow-up her impressive debut at the Dubai Marathon entering the Chicago race with a 2:23:09 personal record, second in the field only to Tomescu-Dita.
On the men's side, William Kipsang, 31, is the man to beat arriving off a 2:05:49 first-place finish at the Rotterdam Marathon in April. Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai, 30, will put some pressure on Kipsang considering his fourth-place finish at the Flora London Marathon in April where he set a personal record (2:06:15). Also expected to be in the mix is fellow countryman Richard Limo who finished second to Mutai at last year's Amsterdam Marathon, crossing the line only 16 seconds behind the champion.
"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a reputation for producing historic efforts and breathtaking finishes and the quality of this year's elite field is an extension of that tradition," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski of Chicago Event Management, now in his 19th year overseeing the event. "This year's men's field features four men who have run under 2:07:00, one who has run under 2:06:00 and champions from some of the great marathons of the world which should produce another great day of marathon running on Oct. 12."
Representing the United States in Chicago are Kate O'Neill and Colleen De Reuck. O'Neill, 28, will return to the site of her 2007 debut at the marathon distance, looking to best her time of 2:36:15 on the Chicago course. Masters runner Colleen De Reuck, 44, will return for her sixth Chicago Marathon.
The elite racers will start the 26.2-mile Bank of AmericaChicagoMarathon course at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12, five minutes in advance of the massive field of 45,000 registered runners. Following is the current list of elite athletes who will compete for the $125,000 first-place prize distributed to the top male and female overall winners.
2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field
Name Citizenship Personal Record
Bezunesh Bekele ETH 2:23:09
Alevtina Biktimirova RUS 2:25:12
Colleen De Reuck USA 2:26:35
Zoila Gomez USA 2:33:53
Lidiya Grigoryeva RUS 2:25:10
Kate O'Neill USA 2:36:15
Adriana Pirtea ROU 2:28:52
Kiyoko Shimahara JPN 2:26:14
Worknesh Tola ETH 2:25:37
Constantina Tomescu-Dita ROU 2:21:30
Moses Arusei KEN 2:06:50
Christopher Cheboiboch KEN 2:08:17
Timothy Cherigat KEN 2:09:34
James Getanda KEN 2:11:50
Salim Kipsang KEN 2:07:29
William Kipsang KEN 2:05:49
Richard Limo KEN 2:06:45
Emmanuel Mutai KEN 2:06:15