Nicki Anderson: Naperville marathoners offer inspiration
By Nicki Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org September 24, 2012 5:18PM
Jay Mooney of Naperville has been running for over 25 years. Just 3 years ago, he jumped in to the world of marathons. | Submitted
Updated: October 27, 2012 6:09AM
In just a little more than a week, runners of all fitness levels will be at the starting line of the Chicago Marathon. On Oct. 7, a select few will run for first place, while others will participate merely to finish. If you are one of the select few reading this, move along, nothing for you here. However, if you’re one of the many running a marathon for the first time, or even a seasoned runner taking a personal inventory, these local runners might give you just what you need to finish Chicago strong!
Though Bobbi Diedrick had been an on and off runner, it was just 10 years ago that she started running seriously. As a busy mother of four children, Bobbi and her husband would switch off watching the kids so the other could go out for a run. Nine years ago, Bobbi ran her first marathon, and three years ago, she became a pace leader for Naperville Running Company. Last year, she qualified for the Boston Marathon.
“My plan going forward is to run for the fun of it, and to inspire others to be the best they can be while achieving goals they never dreamed possible,” she said.
Jay Mooney of Naperville has been running for more than 25 years. Just three years ago, he jumped into the world of marathons.
“This will be my third marathon,” he said. “My first Chicago Marathon was in 2008. I decided it would be a great way to celebrate my 40th birthday. Crossing that finish line was just amazing. My family was there to cheer me on and celebrate with me. It was the best present ever.”
Both Mooney and Diedrick have seen their share of mistakes made by runners and even experienced them personally.
“As pace leader for Naperville Running Company for the past three years, there are common mistakes many of us make while training,” Diedrick said. “The most common error is going out too fast early in a long training run or race.”
For Mooney, mistakes can start as early as the training phase.
“It’s so important to find a training program that suits your experience level as a runner and stick to it,” he said. “Many people get injured because they over train, basically adding too many miles in a week, well before their body is ready for it. The rule to follow is no more than 10 percent a week. Almost every runner I know has been guilty of this at least once, including yours truly.”
Another common mistake is eating or drinking something the night before the race you haven’t had before. Poor preparation for weather is another common oversight.
“If you wake up race day and it’s 80 degrees at 7 a.m., you need to accept that ‘this might not be my fastest day’ and pay very close attention to what your body is feeling during the race,” Diedrick says. “Slowing down even 15 seconds per mile could be the difference between finishing 5 minutes over your goal time safely on a hot day, or ending up in an ambulance and becoming a ‘DNF’ (did not finish). I’ve run Chicago in 90-plus, 85-plus, and 80 degrees, as well as one that started at 33 degrees, so oftentimes the perfect 50-degree day is elusive.”
Additional mistakes include: training alone versus finding a solid support group that keeps you consistent, and putting all your effort and focus just into running.
“It’s just as important to cross-train, building core strength, as well as upper-body and lower-body strength,” Diedrick says. “I’m not talking lifting a lot of heavy weights, but a runner’s form will suffer worse in the latter miles of a marathon if they are not working on a whole-body plan.
“My secret weapon for keeping the injury bug away at 43 years old has been yoga. It’s amazing for building strength and improving flexibility.”
Both of these runners encourage first-timers to savor the moment, and not to go out to win. Go out and appreciate that you’re able to participate and ultimately finish!
Besides hoping to finish his run at 3:50, Mooney is running for a special cause.
“I’m running for the American Cancer Society as a charity runner for Team DetermiNation,” he said. “My mother, Carol, is a breast cancer survivor, and my best friend Jim survived lymphoma. On top of that, this year alone we’ve lost three friends to cancer, and I’ll be running in their memory.”
Learn more about Mooney’s race at main.acsevents.org/goto/jaymooney.
Diedrick continues to run with the goal of inspiring others to realize their potential.
“What I’ve learned from running, and try to instill in my children and those in my training group, is that you can achieve anything you set your mind to,” she said. “With dedication, hard work, a positive mindset, tenacity and mental strength, you can achieve goals you never thought possible.
“Anyone who runs with me knows it’s ‘all about the power of positive thinking.’”
To learn more about the Chicago Marathon or to follow these runners, visit www.Chicagomarathon.com
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