In case you haven’t heard, I am an intern at Eastbay training for the Chicago Marathon in October. You can follow my Blog to find out what it’s really like to train for and run your first marathon.

What better way to start training for the Chicago Marathon than with an easy 5K race in the beginning of June. Normally I wouldn’t be too thrilled about an end time of just over 35 minutes, but in this case, I was willing to make an exception.

The race was the annual Girls on the Run 5K, which is the culmination of a 12-week program for girls in 3rd-8th grade that teaches them self-esteem and healthy living through community service and an exercise program. A girl who I babysit asked me to be her “running buddy” for the day, and she managed to run the whole race with no walk breaks!

FYI, my hair doesn’t normally look like that. Ashley made me color my hair so I would fit in with the rest of the 8 year-olds. The race obviously wasn’t a fast training run for me, but participating was totally worth it. The look on the girls’ faces as they crossed the finish line reminded me why I love to run in the first place – running makes you realize that if you set your mind to something and train hard, you can accomplish your goals.

Of course, as I reminded myself and Ashley while we were running (ok, more like a slow jog) the course, the marathon is going to be like running over seven times the length that we did on Saturday. While this comment helped us get through the 5K, it made me realize how difficult the marathon is going to be, and also how amazing I’m going to feel when I finish it.

After the 5K, my 18-week training program for the Chicago Marathon in October officially started. It was a pretty easy week, since the longest run was only 6 miles, but I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead when I get to try out Eastbay running gear. I’ll be wearing CW-X Stabilyx 3/4 Tights, CW-X Compression Socks and Zensah Leg Sleeves, which will help strengthen and preserve my muscles, especially on longer runs. I’m can’t wait to try out the adidas MiCoach as well, which will help me monitor my heart rate to maximize workout productivity. Since my friends who are running the marathon with me are training together in Chicago, I need the MiCoach to develop that extra edge.

Of course, I also have my Mizuno Wave Creation 11 running shoes, which are probably the best shoes I have ever owned. Mizuno’s Wave system provides great stability while maximizing my natural stride. If I could wear these shoes forever, I would, but I will probably need a new pair before the marathon rolls around.

*Products provided by Eastbay*