Maree’s 26.2 Journey is my Blog about training for the Chicago Marathon in October. Follow my progress to find out what it is really like to train for your first marathon.

I just got back from a 17-mile run along Lake Shore Drive, and I feel great! My training program called for a 16-mile run last Saturday, which I missed due to packing for my move back to Chicago. This weekend is supposed to be a 12-mile run, and the weekend after an 18-mile run is scheduled. Yesterday, I talked to my friend Ashley, who is running the marathon with me, and we compared training schedules. She is following the Hal Higdon Novice Training Plan that I am on, but we’ve both tweaked the program a bit due to our busy schedules. She has a conflict on the weekend when the 20-mile run is scheduled, so she’s decided to push up her schedule a bit. I want to do the same thing, because I think it would be a good idea to get in two over-20-mile runs before the marathon. Ashley plans on running 18 miles this Sunday, and with the 17 miler that I just finished, we should be ready to run together the weekend after.

It was much easier to run the longer distance on the Lake Shore path than it has been at home all summer. In northern Wisconsin, I always ran alone in the middle of nowhere, so there wasn’t much to keep me occupied besides trees and the occasional squirrel. On the Lake Shore path, there are tons of runners, walkers and bikers out and about, which makes the workout much more entertaining. Today I got to do a lot of people watching, which kept me occupied the whole time. There were a lot of recreational runners, but some of them were really fast and seemed like serious athletes. I’m sure a lot of them are training for the Chicago Marathon as well. I tried to pay attention to the shoes that all the runners were wearing; I saw a lot of ASICS, quite a few Nike Free shoes, and several pairs of Brooks and Mizuno shoes. Interestingly, all of the people who I saw wearing Mizuno’s were women, which could be because Mizuno uses gender-specific technology when making their shoes.

As far as my gear, I used my CW-X ¾ Stabilyx Tights, my old pair of Mizuno Wave Creation 11 running shoes, my Fuel Belt,and GU Energy Gel and FRS Energy Drink to keep up my energy. This was my last long run in my old pair of Wave Creation 11 shoes, since I need to start heavily breaking in my new pair, and I can tell my old pair is losing a lot of cushioning. They have been great shoes! The FRS Energy Drink worked well to keep me hydrated, and the GU Energy Gel helped me stay energized throughout the run. In addition to the FRS Energy Drink, which I put in the bottles of my Fuel Belt, I stopped at water fountains along the Lake Shore path so that I stayed hydrated with water as well. The water fountains along the Lake Shore path are my second-favorite part of running in Chicago.

For me, the best part of running along Lake Shore Drive is the incredible view of the lake and the skyline. It’s good to be back in Chicago.

Credit: Google Images