Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Big Day

Marathon runners often race in solitude.

But at Sunday’s 8 a.m. LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, Communication senior Julie Lohela will cross the finish line with her mother and older brother by her side.

Lohela is one of a handful of Northwestern students training for the 26.2-mile race. She plans to complete her first marathon with her 25-year-old brother, Eric, who is coming from Santa Barbara, Calif., to run the course with her. The two will run the last three miles with their mother, Ruth Lohela, of Holland, Mich. The group’s matching gear might stand out among the thousands of participants.

“My mom is making T-shirts for my brother, my dad, herself and me that say, ‘Team Lohela,'” she said.

Weinberg sophomore Mike Phipps’ mother, father and 12-year-old sister are coming from Indianapolis to watch the race. A group of friends will accompany Phipps on the early morning El ride to the race’s Grant Park starting line and cheer him on during the marathon.

Phipps, who has completed two half-marathons but will run his first full marathon Sunday, said he appreciates the support of friends and family. The challenge of racing against other athletes motivates him, he added.

“The reason I run is for the competition because even in training runs, I’m competing against myself,” Phipps said. “It’s satisfying to finish a race and know you’ve given everything you have. It’s magnified when you’re in a race because you’re competing with all the people in front of you, too.”

Training for the race is gratifying, Phipps said, but it requires sacrifices such as skipping late nights of partying to rest for his 8 a.m. runs.

“There are people going out and having a good time, and it’s tough sometimes to stay in,” Phipps said. “I have to wake up early to run, so I can’t always do what I want to do.”

But missing a night of fun with his buddies is worth it in the end, he said.

“I always feel so much better after I get back from a run,” Phipps said. “You feel so healthy and like you actually accomplished something. I could spend a night drinking, but then you just wake up hung over, whereas if you’re training, you wake up early and get something tangible accomplished.”

Training for a marathon is a physical feat requiring extensive planning and training. Proper nutrition is crucial for sufficient energy during long-distance races.

Young runners often make the mistake of ignoring their body’s hydration and nutritional needs during the race, said Darla Vollrath, chief clinical dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“Before a marathon, hopefully you’ve already practiced using carbohydrate supplements during the race, whether that’s licorice or PowerGels or pretzels,” Vollrath said. “It’s common to see younger runners skip the water tables because they’re so concerned with staying in the race and aren’t paying attention to their body’s needs.”

Student runners know nutrition is extremely important to ensure a strong race-day performance.

Getting adequate nourishment will be crucial as race-day approaches, said Drew Austin, a Weinberg senior and former DAILY staffer.

“I’ll try to get off of caffeine,” he said. “Obviously, you don’t want to drink any alcohol too close to the race, and you need to eat a lot of carbs.”

Austin emphasized the importance of consuming carbohydrates a few hours before the race and said he planned on eating a bagel, a PowerBar and a banana Sunday morning.

To maintain energy throughout the race, runners – including NU students – will gulp water, Gatorade and PowerGels at rest stations during the race.

McCormick sophomore Steve Hall, who will run his first marathon Sunday, said he plans to have the ubiquitous pre-race spaghetti dinner Friday night to glean the most energy for Sunday’s race.

“The glucose you get (from carb-loading) takes about 24 hours to be completely digested, so you don’t have (the energy) available until Sunday night if you eat it Saturday night,” Hall said. He hopes to finish the race in 3.5 hours.

Lohela said she is excited for her first marathon and hopes the experience will be a rewarding one.

“Maybe there will be a great picture of (Team Lohela) crossing the finish line together,” she said.

Reach Allison Bond at [email protected].

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Big Day