By Ross Forman
I am now officially On The Road To Florence, having completed the first run – a 3-mile at-your-own-pace trip heading south along the lakefront here in Chicago – as part of the National AIDS Marathon Training Program (NAMTP).
There were about 120 of us, ready to embark on the experience of a lifetime – training for a 26.2-mile marathon on Nov. 25 in Italy or Dec. 2 in Las Vegas, or a Half Marathon in Vegas. There were young and old, black and white, Asians, Hispanics and others.
Regardless of athletic background, all had the same goal: start and finish a marathon (or half marathon) in six months.
I’ve been pretty dedicated in my training over the past few weeks: running regularly (running three consecutive days, then skipping a day) and eating a lot more healthy than I prefer. Skipping on the fried foods and ice cream sundaes is no fun in my book. Oh well.
I started the 3-mile run with Group 4 after predicting I’d finish at about a 12-minute-per-mile pace. Why 12? I’m not really sure. That’s just where I thought. Others figured to run 8-minute miles over the 3-mile course, while some were at 18-minutes. The great thing about the NAMTP is that it’s for everyone, not just the true runner.
I got to the half-way point, where NAMTP’s Frank stood on the side of the course in his bright yellow shirt to tell us runners to turn around and head back the same 1.5-miles we just ran, and actually was shocked to see Frank. I thought I had just run one-mile at that point, not 1.5. I was feeling great, truly shocked that I had gone 1.5 miles so quickly. I wasn’t tired or huffing-and-puffing at all.
I’m looking forward to the July 7 and July 14 runs, when, one of those days, I will be re-timed on the 3-mile course. I think then I’ll end up in the 10- or 11-minute-per-mile pace-group.
The NAMTP raises money for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago to fund direct medical care, food, housing, and other vital AIDS services — to help keep people with HIV/AIDS alive until there’s a cure. I hope you will sponsor me on this journey, if you haven’t already.
Ross Forman can be reached at: Rossco814@aol.com