Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing a local Elite participant, Patrick Rizzo.
According to the Chicago Marathon press guide, Patrick is originally from Schaumburg, but currently lives in Boulder, CO. He was a star runner at Schaumburg High School and an NCAA All-American at North Central College in Naperville. He spent five years as a member of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project in Michigan before relocating to Boulder, CO and joining a group of athletes coached by Brad Hudson. He averages 125 miles per week in training, with a peak weekly mileage of 150 miles. That's a lot more miles than I get in during my weekly runs. (I am a such a freaking slacker!)
This is Patrick's 3.8 (including the year that he paced the female runners) time participating in the Chicago Marathon. Patrick has participated in the Chicago Marathon in 2006, 2009, and 2010 (as the pacer!). His favorite parts of the Chicago Marathon involve running through all of ethnic neighborhoods in Pilson, Little Italy, and Chinatown. He even admits that he has to be careful inhaling the awesome food smells to prevent GI cramping. He told me that the toughest area of the Chicago Marathon is the area between the United Center and Malcolm X College where there's little participants and cheering squads (Carey, can we change this please?) He finds that it is a mentally challenging area of the course because "you have so far, but still have a long way to go." Patrick's favorite pre-race fuel on the day of the marathon is waking up to a cup of coffee and bagel.
I asked him if he has any plans after the Chicago Marathon. He explained that he does not have any because he waits until after the race to make any future race decisions. He focuses on the current race and decides pending on how he performance goes. If he does very well, he will proceed with another race to keep on with the momentum. If he does not perform so well, he holds back and regroups before going onto the next race.
I asked him whether if he prefers the marathon or half-marathon. He explains that he prefers the full 26.2 miles because he's slow for an elite. He does not train for 5k or 10K and prefers the slower and longer miles of the marathon.
I asked if he get nervous during the days and weeks leading up the race. He explained tends to feel completely relaxed during the days leading to the marathon. He does not feel the excitement until the night before the race when he's pinning his bib number to his clothing. He does not get completely serious about the race until the minute that the gun goes off. At that split second, he switches his brain to being completely focused during the race. I think he has an awesome attitude during the marathon.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter at @RunPRizzo. Good luck on Sunday, Patrick!