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The Chicago Chronicles: Run the Mile You’re In

Fall marathon season is upon us! Join FLPT patient Erica Silbiger for the next few months as she logs “The Chicago Chronicles” about her training for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 12. Erica is the Assistant Director of Admissions for the Columbia School of Social Work, and part of her job involves traveling around the country speaking to prospective applicants in the fall. You can imagine how that makes marathon training more complicated! “I try to run in every place that I visit as I believe that it is the best way to see and experience a new city.” She also blogs at Eat, Sleep, Travel, Run, Repeat.

I’ve always been an instant gratification kind of person. You know the cliche, “Patience is a virtue?” It annoys the crap out of me. However, when you’re in an 18-week training program to run a 26.2-mile race, there is a level of patience that is required.

There are a lot of cliches out there for patience, but there’s one I heard recently that really stuck with me that’s become my mantra: “Run the mile you’re in”. It makes perfect sense and has actually made me think about more ways to adjust and find a balance.

About two weeks ago I decided to try a new pair of running shoes. I will leave this brand nameless, but let’s just say I read a lot of great things about it. It sounded too good to be true. And unfortunately it was. After just a few runs, my plantar fasciitis came back with a raging vengeance. My hip started to ache again, my ankles were sore and even now my Achilles still hasn’t recovered.

The silver lining is that it’s still pretty early in the training schedule, and I have enough time to recover, fix up the aches and pains then get back to it. It’s better to fix it now instead of ignore it and “push through” — only to make it worse. Some days you do push through, but this was not one of those days. Interestingly enough these new fancy shoes that I bought were $115. Meanwhile the ones I ran in previously and am running in now are $50. It’s not always about what’s new and trendy, it’s about what works.

Regardless of what may or may not be a minor setback, I am already seeing major improvements, and it’s very exciting. I feel stronger when I’m strength training, and my easy runs are finally starting to feel “easy.”

Two weeks ago I ran a race that is very special to me: the FRNY Pride Run. This is one of my favorite NYRR races, and I’m so proud to run it with my teammates every year. This year our team won first place for having the highest participation (over 100 North Brooklyn Runners!). In this race, I would SO much rather win first place in spirit and participation than for speed. That camaraderie speaks for itself.

The reason why I bring up that race is because of my performance that day. It was incredibly hot, not a cloud in the sky and very little shade on the course. However I hit my splits almost perfectly and got a 2-minute PR. One of my biggest problems is going out too fast and letting my adrenaline get the best of me. Usually my first mile is the fastest. For this race, the plan was to do my first mile the slowest, go hard for the middle miles and then crush the last mile and make it my fastest mile of the race.

Not only was my last mile of the race my fastest, it was only 20 seconds slower than my mile PR. To be that close to running my overall best mile ever at the END of a race? That’s saying something.

Of course this is attributed to my work with Finish Line but I also wanted to give some credit to my friend that ran with me. I told him my goal, and he made sure I stuck with it. There were times I started to hold back but then he would give me that, “What do you think you’re doing?” look, and I picked it right back up. He didn’t have to run it with me — and I know he could have finished that race much faster without me dragging along — but he was determined to help me reach my goal. I can go on and on about the support I receive from Finish Line, my family, friends, coworkers and teammates, but little anecdotes like these speak for themselves.

I’m looking forward to my progress after taking this week as a recovery. Only three more weeks until the NYRR Team Championships!

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