It all comes down to this…

It’s here. It is finally marathon weekend!! And the marathon is in two days. TWO DAYS!! After 110 days and almost exactly 16 weeks of training, the moment of truth is here. First of all, I apologize (not really) for all of the marathon talk. It is honestly all I have on my mind. I know it’s been coming up and I knew my days were numbered on when I would get to stand on that line, but it didn’t hit me hard until last night. There may have been a few extra tears in dinner, and they weren’t from cutting an onion. It’s crazy to think that I’m running the “ultimate” event, at least that’s how I see it. What is more unbelievable is that last May I ran my first half marathon. In the past 17 months I’ve run 8 half marathons and will now get to reach the next level.

I’ve set out some goals. Nothing too crazy, but something to think about when I reach a low point or two during the race.

  • Finish in 4:30. This may be a lofty goal, but it’s a best case scenario for sure. This puts me at a 10:15ish pace, a 2:15 half. A majority of my miles in my long runs have been sub 10, so I f eel like this is a possibility. But there is no guarantee on race day and I know I have to keep my pace slow.
  • Finish in 4:45. This is the finish time for my corral. I think this is a safe goal, it gives me extra time and I’d have a pace of 11:00. I never ran this pace during training, but I have a feeling that I may dip down to it in my final miles.
  • Finish. In all honesty, I just want to finish. I want to cross that line and become a marathoner. This is one of the most important days of my life, crossing that line is all I can think about. It means more than anything to me.

Now you know my goals, but what if you want to see how I’m doing during the race instead of waiting for my race recap? No worries, I’ve got you covered.

  • I’ve linked up my Twitter account to check in on my splits throughout the race with Real-Time Race Tracking.
  • You can also go online and sign up for tracking as well, I’m bib number 3978
  • I’ve linked my Facebook account to give real time tracking
  • Darren may also be tweeting live (he did a good job in Colorado)
  • You can also come to Columbus and be one of the awesome fans. I’ll be wearing something from the assortment below….

So many options

Goals. Check. Tracking. Check. Thank you’s….

I wish I could take each and every person out to dinner to thank them for all they’ve done, instead I’ll let you know on here. Plus I can save money for the expo. Seriously, I wouldn’t have been able to come this far with out the support, encouragement, hope and love from everyone. Friends, family, blog readers, twitter followers, you guys are all amazing. All the comments, well wishes, advice, I’ve taken it all to heart and will think about each and every one of you on Sunday. I can’t wait to come back next week and share the experience with you, the ups and downs, the tears and smiles. Every single moment. So thank you.

It’s time, time to leave it all on the streets of Columbus and give this marathon everything I’ve got.


Columbus Marathon Training Review

This is it, the final week of marathon training! My heart beats a million times a minute just thinking about it. It has all come down to these last days, and I hope to savor every moment. You only get one first marathon experience. This past week of training was almost nothing. I got bit by the sick bug for most of the week, and had a hard time shaking it. I finally got over it by the weekend, until it showed up again Sunday morning, right before my run. Lucky for me, my whole body was against me because I also woke up during the night with a cramp in my calf. Needless to say, this week was a bust for mileage. Taper fail? Possibly, but the miles I got in were fantastic. I had two strong runs and I felt better than I had for a long time.

Monday: Sick Day

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: 1.5 Miles

Thursday: 2.5 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: Sick Day/Calf Cramp

Total Miles: 4 Miles

So now I’m left with one final week of runs before the big day. I had my ups and downs throughout training, but this coming Sunday it will be all worth it. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and how much I accomplished. Even though I had knee issues, I didn’t let it get in the way of my goal. I’ll admit, I thought about backing out after I lost the second month of training. And preparing for a marathon in 8 weeks wasn’t really ideal. But things happen and you over come them. Not every race or training cycle is going to be perfect. It’s the little things that go wrong that will make you a stronger runner.

My thoughts exactly

I certainly had runs that I absolutely hated, and others that I didn’t want to end. I started my training on familiar, flat routes along the lake and ended my training along hilly, unfamiliar territory. These were the runs that made me question why was out there, but these were also the runs that made me confident I made the right decision in running a marathon. Even though I never hit that 20 mile training run, I’m confident that I’ll be able to do it in just 6 days.

What I’ve learned:

  • Training for a marathon is possible. I couldn’t imagine running further than 13.1 miles when I started. To know that I’ve done it, and done it more than once makes me think that any length of run is possible. Little by little distance running isn’t so far.
  • I love long runs. I’ve always loved long distance running, but I truly enjoyed my weekends runs more than my weekday ones. There was just something there that made me excited to go out and run a half marathon plus every weekend.
  • Hills aren’t that bad. I was pretty nervous and upset when I did my first couple of runs after moving. I couldn’t find a single stretch of flat land. I’m still not brave enough to tackle the big ones out in the country, but I’d like to think that the small and medium ones aren’t bad.
  • I’m a cold weather runner. The weather was miserable this summer. I’m pretty sure I’ve never sweated that much in my life. To say I was excited for the 50 degree weather was an understatement. But what I’m actually excited for is snow. It’d be interesting training for a marathon during winter…
  • I am a runner through and through. This week, this moment is what I’ve spent the last four months, if not longer, preparing for. I’ve brought my running full circle from the 400m in track back in middle school to now with 26.2 miles. I’ve put in the hard work, I had disappointments and moments of pure joy.  Running the training runs alone, I learned so much about myself, it’s hard to put into words. I know I’ll learn so much more on Sunday.

Columbus Marathon Training: Week 11

This was such an exciting week of training. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but it has been the best week of training yet. I was really looking forward to doing my weekend run, so I tried to keep the week short. I would be running my longest distance yet, and completely hoping I’d be able to make it. I was also finally getting back into a regular schedule without traveling or having busy weeknights. This has been a bonus to keep my stress level down and my energy up. My weekday runs were relatively easy and short, nothing too difficult. I noticed my pace is getting quicker and I’m able to handle the hills down here finally.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 4 Miles

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 3 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 16 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

Total Miles: 22 Miles

Saturday was unbelievable. I let myself sleep in until 7, tried a new pre long run breakfast and was out the door before 8. I mapped out a route before I left and kept track of the streets I’d need to turn on with little mini post its. I wanted to use this run as a way to see Medina, this way I could find some could places to run, and have my own tour of this new place I call home. I started out pretty well and was actually going quicker than I anticipated. Around mile 4-5 I started on an incline, but thanks to my hill training I have on every single run, it wasn’t that bad. The run was going by pretty quickly and by mile 10 I was feeling really good. My goal was to do 14-16, so I figured I could handle 6 more miles. I was still a few miles out but as I got closer to home I started to feel myself wear down. I had cramps from dehydration and my knee was a bit achy. Mile 12-13 were rough. My pace was slowing down a lot at this point. Strangley, my time at 13.1 was 2:08 just like last weekend’s half. I made it home and chugged a glass a water, something I figured I’d regret once I got back out on the pavement. Miraculously, mile 15-16 felt great. It felt like I had only done a few miles and my body wanted more. I kept it at 16 to play it safe, I didn’t want to try for 18 and end up hurting myself or regretting it when I couldn’t move the next day. I finished up with a nice ice bath and a trip to my new local Second Sole. I was so glad that I pushed myself to finish 16, I certainly feel that I can truly run the marathon in just over a month. What could have been better than my longest run yet? Waking up Sunday with absolutely no pain at all. No knee pain, no hamstring pain, not even a feeling that I had run at all the day before.

Next week will be challenging. A busier schedule and an all day party over the weekend will make it hard to get some miles in, and to stay hydrated for the long run. This time I’ll be hoping for 16-18.

What I learned this week:

  • Stay hydrated at all times. I need to drink more water before and during my long runs. I didn’t want to get the “sloshy in my belly” feeling by drinking a lot of water, but I was able to go through my handheld. I’ll need to make sure that I fill it up at least once during my long runs to avoid getting the dehydration cramps.
  • Ice baths are amazing. We used to do these in college after almost every run. I love/hate them with a passion, but they are so good for you. I would still be sore if it wasn’t for the ice bath on Saturday.

Columbus Marathon Training: Week 10

Going in I knew this week would be crazy, but also very important. If I didn’t get a long run in, I knew I wouldn’t be ready for Columbus. Starting off with the long weekend, I took Monday as a day to catch up on sleep, unpack and survive allergies. I followed up the weekend with a work trip to Mississauga, a city outside of Toronto. I wasn’t able to check out the city like before, but I did take advantage of some fantastic food. Seriously, I’ve never had a bad meal in the Toronto area.

My feet and legs took a small beating after standing for two days and riding in the car for 6 straight hours both ways. However, I was able to get a short run in while I was there and another after I got back. I wanted to be careful during the week, because I had a weekend filled of racing that I wanted to be ready for.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 3 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday:  3 Miles (Run for the Record 5k)

Sunday: 14 Miles (River Run Half Marathon)

Total Miles: 22 Miles

Saturday was my easy race day, I paced my sister in her first 5k. I found the race months ago, and decided it should be a pretty flat course. The weather was ideal as it stopped raining about 5 minutes before the start. It was a good event and I’m proud of Claire for finishing her first 5k. She’ll have her recap posted here later this week.

Sunday was my second race of the weekend. I needed the miles, so I figured the best way to get them done was to sign up for a half. I even added an extra mile once I got back home. I’ll have that recap later this week as well.

Overall, I had a pretty good week. My weekday runs need to be a little bit longer, but so do my weekend runs. I feel much more confident about Columbus training now, knowing I can still get the long miles in even though I had to take some time off. And an added bonus to this week, I became a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I’m excited to continue to grow myself as a runner and learn more from this group!

Columbus Marathon Training: Week 8 and 9

The last few weeks have been a fresh start. I’m halfway through training, and well, it’s not going exactly like I had hoped. I’m taking the challenge to see if I can train for a marathon in 8 weeks. Two months. I think I can handle it, I’m sure I can get back up to some pretty high mileage, but I have no idea if I’ll be able to break 20 miles before the big day. There’s no time to stress or worry about it now, I just need to take each day as its own. So how am I tackling this shortened training schedule?
New legs-I’m finally running pain free and more than a few times. My legs feel rested, and hopefully the pain is gone for good, or at least for the next couple of months. Being refreshed I think I’ll be ready to take on some heavy mileage, and quick too.

New location-I said my goodbyes to the West side and will now experience farm land, hills and no sidewalks. Now that I’m south (way south) of Cleveland, I won’t have flat land, runner friendly routes or the lake. But I’m taking this as an adventure. It will be good to not run the same place every day, and I’ll be getting in some good hills, something I haven’t done in a long time.

Week 8

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 3 Miles

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 2 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

Total Miles: 5 Miles

Week 9

Monday: 4 Miles

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 3.6 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 8 Miles

Total Miles: 16 Miles

I’m not going to give up. I paid to run a marathon, and I’m going to try. It won’t be my best effort, but I could probably do worse as well. The hardest part is that I feel I cheated myself. I let my injury go for so long that it ruined one of the biggest races of 2012. I took too much time to fix the problem, that I lost my endurance and my speed. I know that I still have some time to catch up, but I can probably run better. I’ve learned from the past that not following training like you should can hurt you, and it has.

But after being in Columbus this past weekend, how could I not want to give it all I have. I’m ready to try as hard as I can, just so I can get a chance to run through The Shoe….

The Shoe

How do I make myself feel better about my attempt to short train a marathon? Find another one, find a marathon that I can truly dedicate 16 weeks to. Mentally and physically prepare for and be ready to take the bull by the horns. So I’m taking suggestions on 2013 marathons. Spring, fall, large small. Might as well open up the floor to all races. I refuse to let myself have another disappointing training schedule. Next year will be bigger and better.

Columbus Marathon Training: Week 4

This week was supposed to be about the base miles. With no long run for two weeks, I wanted to get in some decent runs, maybe even some speed work. This plan was tossed out on the first day. Monday I was still pretty sore from Sunday’s long run, wasn’t too out of the ordinary, as I’ve been running my long runs Saturday and taking the next day to recover. Tuesday I hoped to get a decent 5-6 mile run in after work. My body had a different idea, I started getting a migraine around 11:30, and knew my day would be down hill from there.

This was my body’s way of telling me that I need a few days off. I went from running 24 miles total in June, to averaging 24 miles each week. This was bound to happen eventually. So I tried to rest. And then I woke up early on Wednesday and went for a short jog before work. I loved it. I was in a little pain, and a little tired, but it felt good to be pounding the pavement before I had the stress of the day on my shoulders. This certainly isn’t something I’ll do everyday, because I was exhausted by 11:00 am, but I think it was a nice change to my normal runs. And I didn’t feel guilty for eating a 12oz steak that night.

I finally caved in and decided to call the doctor about my knee. After searching online and checking all of the symptoms, I think my medial meniscus is the issue. No bruising, no swelling, just pain when I move my knee certain ways. I’ve been putting this off for months, mostly because I didn’t want to hear the words “You’re done running” but I’ve come to the point, where I have to go now, or I’m sure I’ll screw up my knee bad enough I won’t be able to run in October.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: Migraine

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 2.5 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

Total Miles: 5.5 Miles

So needless to say, this week was more of a bust than anything. I know I needed the rest, but I felt bad that I wasn’t following my training. I was able to tape my knee before the weekend, and it seemed to help with some of the pain. But the pain is still there and it actually hurts worse not running than when I was running more miles. I’m just hoping this isn’t going to put a huge block in my training.
What I learned this week:

  • Your body will let you know when it needs a break. Even if you think you feel great, you may need a few days to let yourself recover. Don’t be stubborn, it can make things worse in the end.
  • Morning runs aren’t that bad during the week. You just need to give yourself enough time to get up and get the miles in before your regular morning schedule.

Columbus Marathon Training: Week 3

This week was interesting for training. I had to switch a few days around to make room for plans after work and for the weekend. This threw me off for the week and made it easier to push my runs around. Note to self, stick to the regular training schedule from now on, you don’t want the habit of pushing off runs. I had my best run Wednesday when I ran an old loop from high school. I ran the first half mile with my sister who is training for her first 5k in September. From then on my pace got quicker and quicker. I always feel great running this route, I’ve done it so many times I know what pace I should be at and how far I’ve run at any moment. My pace even got down to 8:34, first time since the heat!

Unfortunately, the good feelings didn’t last long. I woke up Thursday with both my knees hurting. I hoped they would be gone by mid afternoon so I could do a longer run that night. Nope, no such thing, so I took Thursday as a preventative injury day. I changed a few things around and decided to let my knees rest a few days and wait to hit up more miles in the weekend.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 4 Miles

Wednesday: 3.5 Miles

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 14 Miles

Total Miles: 21.5 Miles

Sunday would be a big day, my longest run yet was scheduled, and how the way the week went, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it. Just as I’ve done before, I would let the day decide my run, focusing on one mile at a time. The temperature was in my favor, unfortunately the humidity was not.

At least it’s not 90 degrees

Luckily the weather wasn’t hotter or else it would have been miserable. I started with my regular shorter loop and felt pretty good. I stopped at home for a short bathroom break and was ready to take on the remaining 10 miles. Somehow in the time I was inside, the sun came out in full force and so did traffic. Unfortunately half of my run didn’t have sidewalks, so I was battling for some space on the roads, which wasn’t welcomed by many drivers. However, the views were worth seeing. I love running in Wooster so I can enjoy the silence and take in pure country.

Morning views

One thing I always forget are the hills. They aren’t all bad, sometime they’re rolling and sometimes they’re steep, but it’s a big difference compared to running up north. I did pretty well with them until mile 12 when I hit the last big hill. It certainly wasn’t fun, and I felt the effects of it all day long. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good for most of the run. I think my body is finally adjusting to running further and adding more miles. I did start to struggle at the end, but I think part of it was from the warm water I was carrying around and the amount of work I had to do with the hills.

What did I learn this week?

  • Hills are tough, but they can benefit me in the long run. The more I challenge myself on them, the easier they will become.
  • Proper recovery is key. I think by adjusting my schedule a bit to give myself an extra rest day, I prepared my body for the long run. Two weeks until my next long run, I should be able to come back ready to take it on!

Columbus Marathon Training: Week 1

It’s begun. 16 weeks until I attempt 26. 2 miles. I have no idea what to expect in these next few months. Looking into my training plan and seeing 20 miles on the calendar is already making me doubt everything, so I’ve decided what’s best for me is to take it one day at a time. If I focus on one day and put in all I’ve got, I hope to have successful training. My goal is to stick as close as I can to what I’ve got on the calendar. I’m using Runner’s World Smart Coach again, mostly because I think it’s the best training schedule for me.

As I try not to stress, I’m aware that sometimes my week won’t allow for what’s on the schedule. This would include the week I’m in New Orleans, Toronto and when I move. As long as I know ahead of time that these challenges come up, I can work around them and get as much in as time allows. I won’t stress too much if I miss a workout or two here, I’ll just have to work extra hard on the days surrounding these trips.

With the first week complete, I think I did a pretty good job of getting things back on track. And I got some new socks for motivation on my long runs!

Bright orange marathon socks & Point 6 socks!

Monday: 6 Miles

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Bay Days 5 Miler

Thursday: 2 Miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 10 Miles

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 23

My long run was my biggest challenge of the week. I hadn’t run that far since May and I struggled running 2 miles in the heat on Thursday. I set out around 7am and told myself to do at least 8. It wasn’t too hot yet, but I knew it’d be getting warm quick. I felt ok, a little tight, but kept my pace slow so I could ease into the  miles. There were a ton of runners and cyclists out, so this kept my motivation going. I headed straight for the lake hoping it’d be cooler and there would be a bit of a breeze. Luckily there was plenty of shade and some sprinklers along the way. I felt pretty good, ate some Sport Beans and made sure to keep hydrated. I may have even taken a slight detour…

Beautiful Lake Erie

I got home right around 8 miles, and by this point it was getting real hot, so I took my last two to the treadmill. I’m glad I pushed myself to get every mile in.

What I learned this week:

  • It’s not the pace that matters, it’s the miles. Summer training is completely different than winter training. As long as I put in the time and dedication, I’ll be ready.
  • Stay hydrated. It’s hot and I’m a sweaty runner. Drinking lots of water will help me feel better and stay healthy. If I’m dehydrated, my runs will suffer.