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Friday, February 25, 2011

Red Bandana: Marathon Training Begins (Slowly)

Sign up today for the Chicago Marathon
before it fills up. graphic: Anthony Trendl
Read my latest column: Red Bandana: The Colorful Range of Runners

I signed up. Finally. First time. Never before. This is it. Going to do it. No more "thinking about it." Here it is. It is time. Get ready, set, go!

Last night, I attended a meeting at the Glen Ellyn Public Library, hosted by the Glen Ellyn Runners Club. "So You Want to Run a Marathon?"

I have hemmed, hawed, howled and high-tailed the other way whenever the question of running a marathon has come up. I've talked trash, made commitments, and gave excuses. So here I am, a runner who loves long distances, but has no marathons behind him. Hopefully, this will soon be past tense. We will find out in October.

I follow the GERC on Facebook, and saw their event posting for an overview of marathons for first time runners. Carey Pinkowski, executive director of the Chicago Marathon was the featured guest.

Ken Christie, president of the club, spoke enthusiastically and infectiously about his marathon journey. He explained the hopes of the new marathoner, and with this, the challenges. His advice: Don't increase your miles too quickly. Stick to the training schedule. Join a group.

All of these great ideas the Glen Ellyn Running Club offers through its group workouts and other activities. Check them out (links below).

Pinkowski, in turn, spoke from his position as the guy running the big show. Mock-hard-selling the marathon as best he could with a smile, he laughed, knowing he was in a room full of people serious about running. He told us how, in the early days, he was still trying to recruit runners in the fall just before race day. No hard-sell is needed this year, however. The Chicago Marathon is expected to fill up quickly, perhaps as early as March 1.

He talked about improvements for this year, took suggestions and questions, and admitted some frustrations with technology. The tool which sends runner splits via text message is not yet perfect. He, along with race directors at Boston, NYC and other major marathons are searching together for a better solution, he said.

I think Pinkowski mentioned, by the way, they had 3,000 Portajohns last year. There were 45,000 runners and a multitude of volunteers and people cheering. You do the math.

Now, things get serious. October 9, 2011 will come quickly. Getting out of February and through March fit enough to start slowly adding distance will be important. Adjusting my diet, watching my schedule to ensure I am sleeping well, and other details matter.

Are you with me? Are you willing to go the distance? Join me in this adventure. Sign-up today before your spot is filled. It is $145 for most runners.  

Let me know if you do:

Glen Ellyn Runners Club

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Sadie" by Son Seals
This classic Hound Dog Taylor Chicago blues song finds pulse and life in Son Seals. The singer, it seems, has made excuses for things he cannot defend. Sadie has left, and he wants her to return, but she is not sure this is a good idea.

"Sadie, will you come back home tonight
Oh Sadie, will you come back home tonight
I love you, and you know I'm gonna treat you right."

Download it free from

Writer Anthony Trendl loves Chicago, blues guitar, and a long run. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes, or to tell me about your road race. See
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