The 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is in the books.  Expressions of joy, exhilaration, relief and satisfaction filled the entire City of Chicago, the entire weekend.

Congratulations, Marathoners!

The weather conditions were a bit challenging with the rain and windy conditions – but your preparation and dedication to training over the last 19-plus weeks carried the day.

This week brings time to reflect on the journey, and allow the body to recover from the marathon.

In the words of Emil Zatopek (1952 Olympic Gold Medal winner at the 5K, 10K and Marathon distances):  “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”

We have experienced transformation in ourselves over the last 19 weeks, throughout the training process.  And like our training regimen, in life we need to balance times of increased stress and cutbacks for recovery.

The next few weeks are a time for recovery.  Be kind to your body and your spirit this week.  For quicker recovery – continue to exercise, but gentle exercise this week.  Walking is a great way for tired muscles to repair themselves.  In a few days, consider a (gentle) massage to smooth the recovery.  (A ‘deep’ massage, within 48-72 hours following the race can delay recovery.)

Increase nutrition and hydration, especially today through Wednesday.  Following the race, our bodies need to replenish lost nutrients.  While it is not necessary to consume high amounts of calories (as we did before the marathon), it is important to restore glycogen (‘synthesized’ carbohydrates) to our muscles and protein to repair our muscles and provide energy.  Increase fluid intake as well.  We need to restore fluids and electrolytes depleted on race day and the two to three days after the race are the perfect time to do so.  Our bodies will absorb electrolytes, carbohydrates and protein much more efficiently in these early days.

I saw many of you with white residue on your face and body after the race.  This evidences loss of sodium, an important electrolyte which needs to be replenished over the first few days after the race.  Be sure to add sports drinks to your diet this week to replenish.

I have been asked by many when is it safe, or recommended, to return to running.  The urge to run again soon (or the dread of running too soon) needs to be balanced with the need for recovery.  Inactivity will prolong muscle soreness and repair.  Walking is a great alternative Monday and Tuesday.  A walk of 30 – 60 minutes will help relieve muscle soreness.  Follow a ‘reverse taper’ as to running.  Look back over your training schedule for the last two weeks leading up to the marathon.  Reverse the days and mileage of your training program to ease back into running.  Run at a very slow, easy pace until you ‘feel your legs’ again.  This may take several days or a few weeks.

You may also experience soreness walking down stairs.  If this happens to you, turn around and walk down the stairs backwards.  Your quads and hamstrings will say “thank you”.

Be cognizant of a condition called “DOMS”, which is an acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, a condition whereby deep muscle and tissue damage (like marathoners experience on race day) exhibit themselves in more pronounced soreness 24 – 48 hours after exercise.  Your muscles may feel more fatigued Tuesday than they felt Sunday or Monday.  This is common for athletes, especially for marathoners.

Sitting in a tub of cool water (not necessarily ice water) will help relieve muscle inflammation and dissipate soreness.

This week is a great opportunity to reflect on your accomplishment of completing the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and recognizing the person you have become over the last 19 weeks of training.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey.

Coach Brendan

““Good form will carry you through”®


October 8, 2018

“… and those last 6.2 miles, you run those with your heart.”

CONGRATULATIONS Team RMHC runners on completing the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon(!) on a rather cool and cloudy day with periods of steady rain, all of which somehow seemed not to matter so much as “first timers” and many Team RMHC and marathon veterans all managed to set new PR’s! (Woo-hoo!!!)

For those of you for whom this was your ‘first ever’ marathon, your training and participation yesterday have earned you the right to be called an ‘endurance athlete.’

For the rest of your life, you are a “marathoner”… and that will forever be a part of how you (and others) identify and define what you are capable of achieving.

If you’re a marathon ‘veteran,’ but this was the first time you’ve “run Chicago”—I hope you enjoyed the way the city presented itself, and the way you were supported by the (well over) 1 million spectators who were shouting their encouragement to you on the course.

And for those of you who have run the Chicago Marathon before, but not with us—I hope that being a part of Team RMHC helped make this your ‘best ever’ Chicago Marathon experience.

If you have friends who are encouraged to run the Chicago Marathon because of what you’ve shared with them about your training and Marathon Weekend experience, we hope you will encourage them to run with Team RMHC next year. (Thank you!)

My only “advice” at this point is to not stop running.

Okay. You can stop for a couple of days…

… but what I mean is that after all the training you’ve done for the past 5 months, there’s a good chance you’re in the best shape you’ve been in for ‘quite some time.’

Why stop now?

There are 5K, 8K, 10K or half marathon events EVERYWHERE(!) that can help you maintain the “fitness” lifestyle you have committed to while training for this year’s Chicago Marathon. (And until you begin training with us again next year… hint.)

Stay out there!

Over the next several months in particular there are ‘Trick or Treat/Pumpkins in the Park’ fun runs; Hot Chocolate events; Turkey Trots; and Rudolph Rambles. And to begin 2019, you can sign-up for a New Year’s Day run… most of which (mercifully) start at around 11:00 AM.

(Okay. Lecture over.)


As much as this E-mail is about congratulating you, it is (even more) about THANKING you… for the effort you’ve made to raise more than $1,300,000 (SO FAR—still more to come!) to support Ronald McDonald House Charities.

On behalf of the volunteers, staff and Trustees of Ronald McDonald House Charities please accept our most sincere gratitude for the important difference your running will help make possible in the lives of the children and families we serve.

And now, if you will permit me… a little “business” (this is after all a HUGE and important fundraising event for us).

Please know that a good portion of our total fundraising takes place in the next 7-10 days.

As you return home (or return to work) and share your marathon experience with friends, family and colleagues… what ALWAYS happens is there will be people who slap their forehead and say, “Oh, shoot! I was going to support you!”

Well, good news. THERE’S STILL TIME!

The Team RMHC fundraising site (and your individual fundraising page) will remain open until the end of October!

Please (please), today or early this week (if you have not already done so)… write everyone who you originally E-mailed asking for support (and/or post on social media) and tell them about your marathon experience—and include a photo of you with your medal. (I know you’ve taken at least one such picture!)

THANK those who did support you; and REMIND those who haven’t that their support is STILL important to the children and families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities, and that there is still time to support you and to support RMHC.

(Even if you’ve already met your goal, please continue your fundraising efforts by E-mailing everyone on your list—it’s OKAY to be an “over achiever.” What the heck—we’re marathoners… that’s what we do!)

Thank you, Team RMHC… for, for, for everything!

You’re THE BEST!



Hospitality Menu

2018 Marathon Outdoor Breakfast & Bar B Que Menu of the Day

Breakfast Selections……

Freshly Brewed Regular and Decaf Coffee’s

Herbal Teas

Juices to include Orange and Apple Juice


-New York Style Bagels and Cream Cheeses, Butter, and Jellies-

-Peanut Butter Display with Baguette’s and Breads-

-A Selection of Healthy Bars, Cliff Bars, and Power Bars-

-Whole Fresh Seasonal Fruits to include Apples, Pears, and Banana’s-

(Lots of Banana’s)


-Prepared Oatmeal n’ Topping Bar!!-


BBQ Luncheon Selections…….

-Pomegranate Harvest Salad-

Local Greens, Fresh Pomegranates, Honey Crisp Apples, Toasted Coconut, Heirloom Tomatoes, Glazed Almonds, Scallions, Cranberry Vinaigrette

-Tuscan Antipasti Salad-

Local Heirloom Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Greek Olives, Grilled Artichokes, Roasted Bell Peppers, Fresh Basil, Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Tossed in Our White Balsamic Vinaigrette

-Fresh Seasonal Chopped Fruits and Berries Salad-

-Tri Color Tortellini Pasta Salad-

Fresh Cheese Filled Tri Color Tortellini Pasta, Local Vegetables, Peppercorn Lemon Ranch Vinaigrette

-Chargrilled Black Angus Burger-

Fresh USDA Black Angus Beef Grilled on site Fresh for Every Guest

-Five Bean Veggie Burger-

Fresh Five Bean Vegetarian Burger Grilled on Site Fresh for Every Guests

-Cran-Apple Bourbon Glazed Chicken-

Airline Breast of Chicken, Grapeseed Oil, Local Herbs, Pan Seared, Topped with Our Fresh Cranberry N’ Apple Bourbon Glaze, Grilled Fall Peppers N’ Onions

 -Maxwell Street Grilled Bratwurst-

Beer Marinated Ultra Lean Fresh Bratwurst, Chargrilled Topped With Grilled Onions, Caraway Seeded Sauerkraut

-Homemade Ranch N’ Parmesan Chips-

Fresh Russet Potatoes, Sliced thin & Fried, Tossed in Our Ranch & Parmesan Cheese Blend

  -Traditional Burger Topping Bar-

-Local Lettuce, Plum Tomatoes, Sweet Onion & Pickles. An Array of Fresh Sliced Cheeses & Freshly Baked Pan Buns

Baskets of Homemade Potato Chips—Baskets of Both Plain and Parmesan Ranch Chips

-Chicago Style Pizza-

Freshly Prepared Chicago Style Pizza, Served with Shakers of Fresh Cracked Red Pepper Flakes, Grated Parmesan Cheese, Local Herb Topping & Sea Salt & Pepper

-Classic Chicago Cheese-

Loaded with Fresh Wisconsin Cheese, Ripe Roma Tomato Sauce

-“The Lou” Vegetation-

Baby Spinach, Mushrooms, Roma Tomatoes

-Malnati’s Chicago Classic-

Lean Sausage, Fresh Wisconsin Cheese, Ripe Roma Tomato Sauce


Sweets n’ Things…..

-A collection of Fresh Baked Mini Cookies and Brownies-


Afternoon Snack Celebration…..

-A Variety of Snacks—Prepackaged Pretzels, Chips, Sweet and Salty Items

-Iced Chocolate Milk-

-Champagne Toast with Toasting Glasses

-Iced Beer to include Bud Lite, Ultra, and Miller Lite

-Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Wines

-Bottled Water

– Coca Cola Products


Marathon Training Tip #19: “THE HAY IS IN THE BARN!”


Marathon Week is finally here!  Upon reflection, it’s hard to believe that the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is less than one week away.  19 weeks ago we embarked on a journey which culminates this Sunday morning in Grant Park.

Through your dedication, perseverance and effort, that goal which seemed Impossible on Memorial Day morphed into the Improbable by Labor Day and now, reaching the goal is Inevitable!

Less than 1% of the general population has completed a marathon.  Be proud of your accomplishments.  This week show your Marathon PRIDE:

P  lan  –  have  a plan for the race, and be sure to follow it.

R  est  –  get plenty of rest every night this week.

I            – I  know my running type–generally runners fall into three types (even split runners, negative split runners, or positive split runners) — know the type you are and plan your race strategy accordingly.

D  rink   –   stay hydrated throughout the week, do not overdrink on Friday and Saturday. Your urine should be the color of pale lemonade.

E  at  –    eat the right amount of protein and carbohydrates.

Nutrition breakdown:

60 – 65% (up to 70% towards the end of this week) Carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, pasta and cereals);

10 – 15% protein (lean red meats, poultry and legumes);

25 – 30% fats (staying away from trans fatty oils and fried foods).

Structure your time at the Expo – allowing enough time to tour, but not too much time on your feet.

Friday or Saturday – set out all the clothes you will wear on race day.  Start with the clothes you will wear in the race.  These should be clothes you have already worn on a long run.  Go through a checklist.  Start at the bottom and move up:  shoes, socks, shorts, shirt, running bra (women); band-aids; Body Glide; sunscreen; sunglasses and headwear (hat or visor).  Dress as if the temperature will be 15 – 20 degrees warmer than the air temperature.  While you may be cold in the starting corral, you will warm up quickly in the first mile or two.  If the weather is predicted to be chilly, consider long pants or long sleeve shirt, gloves and a headband.  Bring a large empty garbage bag to wear over your torso while in the starting corral, or throwaway clothes (don’t expect to see them again) to wear until the race starts.  Pin your bib number to the front of your shirt.

On Marathon Day – allow extra time to arrive at the starting area.  It is better to be early than to panic over being late.  Line up in the appropriate corral, based on where you have been assigned with your bib number.

Nothing New On Race Day!

If you are running with a pace group, know the pacer’s philosophy on pace and fluid stops.  If the pacer’s way of running does not suit your plan or style, consider how to adjust so you meet the pace group after mile 20.

Don’t panic if you are off pace at the first few mile markers.  The most common mistake many marathoners make is running too fast in the early miles.  It is better to be in control and a little behind pace during the first 5 miles than to run too fast.  Even if you are 2 minutes slower than your pace at mile 1, you have 25 MILES to make up 120 seconds (about 5 seconds per mile).  Remember the race is timed by a chip, meaning your race time starts when YOU cross the starting line.  And the six-and-a-half-hour time limit for the Marathon begins when the last person crosses the starting line.

Know when you will consume water, Gatorade and nutrition.  If consuming gel packs or food, consume with water (not a sports drink) at planned intervals according to how you trained.  Recommended consumption is 4 – 6 ounces of fluid every 15 – 20 minutes of the race, more if the weather is hot and humid or if you are a heavy ‘sweater’.

If running with a group or with a few friends, discuss where you will take fluids and where you will regroup after fluid stations.  (There are multiple tables at each fluid station.  Each fluid station is set up the same way with Gatorade at the first tables and water at the back tables.  Don’t stop at the first table (for either Gatorade or water).  It is less crowded towards the back of the tables.  Regroup about 100 yards after the last table at a fluid station – and know whether you will regroup on the right side or the left side of the road.)

Run tangents ‘on the corners’ whenever possible.  Remember your high school geometry – the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Run the race backwards.  Think of how you want to finish the race – a big smile on your face as you crest “Mt. Roosevelt” and turn onto Columbus with the finish line in sight!  Now plan the race backwards from the time you cross the finish line to the time you read this tip.  Prepare for certain landmarks on the course, visualize how you will feel at mile 25, mile 20, mile 15, mile 10, mile 5 and at the start of the race.

Build a positive bubble around yourself.

Repeat to yourself – “I am prepared!  I will have a great experience!  Good form will carry me through!”  Let the words and the thoughts sink in, listen to the words, believe the words, feel the words.

Success is when opportunity meets preparation.  The preparation has been building over the last 19 weeks—“the hay is in the barn!”; the opportunity is Sunday morning – success is the outcome!

Run (or Run-Walk) well.

And if all else fails, repeat:  “Good form will carry me through”.

Coach Brendan

“Good form will carry you through”®


‘Top 10’ Final Thoughts For Marathon Week

Oh. My. Gosh.

It’s Marathon Week!

In just 6 days, you’ll be standing at the ‘START’ of the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

And just hours later, you’ll be crossing the ‘FINISH’—with arms raised, and the biggest EVER smile on your face.

And in your heart.

At this point, the marathon is inside of you–or as Coach Brendan likes to say, “The hay is in the barn!”

Your training is complete… and your job this week is simply to focus on the absolute thrill of running in front of 1,700,000 cheering spectators, and having an amazing personal and Team RMHC experience on Marathon Day.

To that end, I’ve been blessed to have finished seven marathons and if you’ve got the patience, I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve learned—lessons that I’ve found helpful, and that will help you have a more successful run on Marathon Day.

I’ll call this my ‘Top 10’ Final Thoughts for Marathon Week 2018

  1. NERVOUS IS NORMAL. Feeling nervous and ‘anxious’ is totally to be expected. It means you’re respecting the challenge ahead. As you should. 26.2 miles is a serious distance, and running a marathon is a “big deal” event. But PLEASE know (as I’m certain you do), that the commitment and effort you’ve made to get yourself to the ‘START’ will get you to the ‘FINISH.’ (You KNOW that.)


  1. RUN YOUR OWN RACE. If you’re standing at the ‘START’ on Marathon Day with a friend or ‘running buddy’—you can agree “upfront” that you’ll TRY to stay together… but it’s likely that (at some point) one of you may be trying too hard to ‘keep up’ with the other; or one of you may become frustrated that you have to slow down to keep your friend company. If you truly (truly) agree to stay together for the entire 26.2 miles, then ‘okay’—that’s the deal… but if you’re there to run the best you can, then agree at the ‘START’ that it’s okay for one of you to run ahead or run behind. This is YOUR marathon. Your friend (whether running ahead of you or behind you) will NOT be by themselves–there are 45,000 other runners (including mare than 900 Team RMHC runners!) and 1,700,000 spectators to keep them from feeling alone.


  1. RUN THE TANGENTS. There’s lots of ninety-degree turns on the course… this is one place where it is entirely permitted (and totally encouraged) to “cut corners.” Running each corner on a straight line (tangent to that corner) is how the course is laid out and measured. Running “in the middle of the pack” or on the ‘outside’ of the corners only adds mileage to the marathon distance–and who wants to run 26.4 miles?


  1. RUN THE CROWNS. On all the ‘straightaway’ segments of the course, stay in the very center of the road as much as possible. Streets ‘peak’ (crown) at their center, and taper to each curb for water run-off. Running on the ‘tapered’ part of the street causes your foot and ankle to run on an angle, and your ‘core’ to become (slightly) less centered—which is not much of a problem if you’re running 3 or 4 miles… but over the course of 26.2 mile, it DOES make a difference.


  1. SLEEP. Get as much rest and sleep as you can on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. It never fails–on Saturday night I am ALWAYS staring at the alarm clock at midnight, 1:00 AM and 2:30 AM… asking myself, “How am I ever going to run 26.2 miles in just 5 hours from now?” (And yet you will run 26.2 miles… but sure helps to ‘bank’ a few hours of extra sleep during the week).


  1. FOOD AND WATER. As much as you hear that it’s important to have a good ‘carbo load’ the night before the marathon–it’s even better to have a ‘carbo build‘ over the several days leading up to the marathon… on Thursday, Friday and Saturday—giving your body time to process and absorb those carbs, and turn them into glycogen ‘stores.’ Also throughout the week, keep hydrated—drinking plenty of water every day.


  1. COME TO MARATHON DAY WITH A ‘PLAN B. “You just can’t control what you can’t control.” That may include the weather, which may not be ‘perfect’ for running; a muscle soreness that was SUPPOSED to go away by now; or a “funny tummy” marathon morning. But none of these need spoil your experience on October 7. Anticipate that any of these MAY occur, and have a ‘PLAN B’ for your race. Too many people train for 20 weeks and come to the marathon DETERMINED to run “the plan they planned”… and often hurt themselves trying, or find that they’ve run out of “everything” by mile 18 or 20. DEFINITELY come to the Marathon with a race plan; but also come with a ‘PLAN B.’


  1. “DON’T TAKE THE MEDAL!” Every runner is handed a ‘finisher’s medal’ when they cross the finish line. DON’T TAKE IT! Instead, bend at the waist and have the volunteer place it around your neck. For ‘first-time’ marathoners, this will be one of those “moments” you will remember for the rest of your life. (FYI—the volunteers are there to hand-out the medals as quickly as possible, but when you don’t take it and they see you bend from the waist, they “get it.”)


  1. PACE YOURSELF. Probably the single biggest mistake marathon runners make is starting out too quickly. Veteran runners. “First-timers.” It doesn’t matter… the tendency is to run too fast, too soon. I always use the marker at ‘Mile 3’ as a benchmark… if my plan is to run the marathon at an 11:00 pace, then I should be at ‘Mile 3’ in 33 minutes—and I always add 90 seconds, because the first mile or two is crazy-crowded… so I should be at ‘Mile 3’ as my watch reaches 34:30. If I get there in 32 or 33 minutes (or anything less than 34:30), I’m running w-a-y too fast and need to SLOW DOWN. Now!


  1. AND MY #1 “FINAL THOUGHT” (and something that has become my personal ‘marathon race plan’): “Run the first 10 miles with your head (that is—run smart; run your race, at your pace); run the next 10 miles with your legs (these are the ‘tough 10’ miles that you need to put your whole body into running); and those last 6.2 miles… you run those with your heart.”

Those last 6.2 miles ARE the marathon–the miles you trained 5 MONTHS to run.

Team RMHC runners, THANK YOU for all that you’ve done to train and run and fundraise to support Ronald McDonald House Charities.

If you’re from out-of-town, ‘safe travels’ to Chicago.

I look forward to seeing each of you Marathon Weekend.

Run Strong. Finish proud.