Heidi and Erin are both training for the Chicago Marathon. This is Heidi’s first marathon, a race that has been on her bucket list for years after having spectated and volunteered in the past, whereas Erin is returning to Chicago for her third time in as many years with a goal of completing the race in under 5 hours (her current PR is 5:39). Both women are running to raise money for charitable organizations that affect them personally: Erin is running for Team CF Superheroes – benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and her friend who has cystic fibrosis, a rare disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system. Heidi is running for NAMI – the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an organization whose mission is to eradicate mental illness and improve the lives of those affected by mental illness, some of who are her family and friends. She hopes to end the stigma associated with the disease and to continue to show her support.
Shortly after completing the 2014 Chicago Marathon, Erin discovered the LRC. She realized that in order to get faster, she needed to train better and there was no better way to do that than to reap the benefits of running with a group. Heidi and her husband Bill were introduced to the Club by a friend who suggested our love of all things fun was right up their alley. Shortly afterward, they joined us for our first unofficial beer mile in January this year. Both women agree that the support they’ve received from the LRC’s runners has been endless and authentic, and their training has improved in large part due to the accountability that comes with running with a group. As a result, their overall love of running has never been greater. With so much collective experience within the Club, there’s a wealth of information at their disposal to aid in their training.
Erin and Heidi just completed one of the toughest weeks of training for a marathon with the first 20-mile run. Though mentally and physically challenging, Erin felt stronger than ever and knows she could have gone the extra 6.2 miles. Based on her time for this 20-miler and for the Badgerland Striders Half Marathon this past weekend (2:16) she’s on pace to reach her sub-5 hour marathon goal! Though Team CF Superheroes offers a training plan and coaches, Erin has relied even more on the support and plan provided by the LRC. She maintains a 20-mile week when not training and is currently running 35-40 miles per week before planning to taper. For Heidi, the 20-miler was her first. She attests that the first 10-15 miles went well… and then the support of the group kicked in to provide a much needed distraction for those last 5 miles. Heidi has used Hal Higdon’s training plans for several half-marathons in the past, but always felt physically drained come time for her long runs. For her Chicago Marathon training, she has been using Furman University’s 3-days-per-week training plan. She is currently running 20-30 miles per week and feels ready and rested for her long runs.
Heidi is constantly picking up tidbits of information that are helping her along the way: training in miles vs. minutes, using GU vs. Jelly Belly Sports Beans, the importance of listening to your body and utilizing foam rollers, and the one I stress often, enjoying the race. Heidi knows that you only run your first marathon one time and she’s ready to take it all in and enjoy every moment. Erin agrees that enjoying the race is the most valuable advice that she would want to share with Heidi and anyone else, whether running their first or 30th marathon. She adds that you should appreciate the journey of training for a marathon. A lot more work than just the day-of goes into any race, and this is where you can gather and experiment with various suggestions from others to learn what works for you.
So what do these two do after a long run? Erin likes to just go with the flow and try to rest and relax. When food cravings kick in, she doesn’t fight them. Heidi finds that she doesn’t have much of an appetite for a few hours after a long run; instead, her focus is hydrating with a Nuun in cold water and taking a shower. Her next step is a green tea and water from Starbucks to keep her going for the rest of the afternoon. Now I’m not saying that donuts are the answer for everyone, but I know I’ve seen both of these ladies recovering with the LRC at Lovin’ Oven Cakery after those Saturday long runs!
Training for a marathon takes up a lot of time. If she wasn’t training, Heidi would take a pottery class and channel the spirit of Patrick Swayze, make a quilt, or immerse herself in some riveting book series. Since she loves the half-marathon distance and finds the recovery easy on her body, she would love to find a few half-marathons to turn into vacations (in fact, Heidi recently traveled with the LRC to Denver for a half-marathon). Erin, on the other hand, has a hard time imagining not running. After a tumultuous year in 2011, which included a career change, a break up, and finding herself burnt out from competitive figure skating, training for the 2013 Chicago Marathon was great therapy to rid herself of that negative energy. Without running, she thinks she would likely be sitting at home watching t.v. and feeling sorry for herself. Running does change everything!
Here’s to working hard to achieve your marathon goals ladies!
If you would like to help Erin and Heidi raise money for their respective charities, click the link to their fundraising pages below:
Erin’s Page: Team CF Superheroes
Heidi’s Page: NAMI