2013 Race Calendar

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to reveal the new race calendar! As I mentioned in my year review, last year was the year of races. But towards the end of the year, I was  burnt out. Not a total surprise after non stop training for 12 months and the addition of the holidays and busy schedules. This year I want to make sure I enjoy every run. I want to fall in love with running more than I ever have.

I’ve taken a step back and added mostly 5k’s to the schedule this year. They’re short, fun, and if I feel the need to run more that day I can always add on extra miles. I also have a handful of half marathons I’m interested in, including two out of state races. The only thing missing? A marathon. I’m taking this year off from the marathon, at least for now. But 2014 I will definitely try my hand at it.

Here’s my tentative 2013 schedule…

 

January 13, 2013 – 3M Half Marathon

February 10, 2013 – Frosty 5k

March 2013 – 4 for Friends 4 Mile Run

March 23, 2013 – Sole to Soul 5k

April 6, 2013 – Miles for Madison 5k

April 2013 – Buzzard 3 Mile Run

April 20, 2013 – Run to the Beach Half Marathon

May 3, 2013 – Run4Fun 5k

May 5, 2013 – Flying Pig Half Marathon

May 11, 2013 – Lightning Bug Run 5k

May 18, 2013 – Wadsworth Bookin’ 5k

June 16, 2013 – Canton Half Marathon

July 4, 2013 – Twin Sizzler 5k

July 20, 2013 – Lodi Corn Fest 5k

July 21, 2013 – Double Trouble 10k

August 2013 – Ledges to Lake Adventure Race

August 17, 2013 – Wooster Heart & Sole Half Marathon

September 7, 2013 – Tunnel to Towers 5k

October 20, 2013 – Detroit Free Press Half Marathon

October 26, 2013 – Montville PPA 5k

October 27, 2013 – Buckeye Half Marathon

November 2013 – Devil Dash 5k

What races are you looking forward to in 2013? Are we running any of the same races?

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Why 26.2?

Why run 26.2 miles? I used to ask myself this question. Throughout high school and college, I always thought that someday, somehow I’d run a marathon. It was on my bucket list I guess you could say. But it was a phrase that I loosely threw around. I had these hopes while I was running 6 days a week and racing almost every weekend. After college I took some time away from running. Not much, but I wasn’t running as many miles or as often as I had in the past. Then last year I made the decision I would run a half marathon, and I did it in the beautiful city of Cleveland. It was awful weather, but it was an amazing experience, almost too good to be true. After crossing the line, I immediately knew I wanted to run more half marathons. At that time I had no desire to run a full marathon, I had no interest in running any further than 13.1 miles…ever.

Over the summer I ran and trained for three other half marathons, along with a relay team for Akron Marathon. One of the Muskie alums Molly, a marathon expert, suggested that I think about it, maybe one day I’ll have a change of heart. Kimi, who at the time was training for her first marathon told me I should definitely do it, and like her, Columbus would be a great first marathon course. Throughout the relay I gave it a lot of thought, together as a team we completed 26.2 miles, was there a possibility I could do it on my own? While waiting near the finish for Molly to dominate her leg of the relay I found myself touched by every single runner that came past us. In my heart, I knew that I would run a marathon, that I would get my own chance to run past mile marker 26.

Talk about a “milestone”

About a month later I had reassurance that I wanted to lace up and try 26.2 miles when I watched the finish of the Columbus Marathon. If you are ever on the fence about running a marathon (or any race) watch the finish. I’m pretty sure I kept tearing up every couple of minutes. It was such a wonderful experience to watch, and had me counting down the days until I could register to run my own. Even better was watching Kimi finish, knowing she had put so much time and effort into her training, I knew I wanted to do the same.

Running 26.2 miles is going to be an experience, a year after making the decision, it’s finally my time. Why run 26.2 miles? This is why….

  1. Running comes full circle. I have been running for over half of my life time. It’s what I do, it’s who I am, it’s the one thing that has never let me down. I started with the 400m in middle school and continued my way into longer distances until now I’m on the doorstep of reaching 26.2. My running has changed over the past couple of years. I’ve finally come to the realization that I will most likely never run a 22:xx 5k again. And that’s ok. I want to focus on distance, I want to enjoy the hours spent running for myself, not for a time.
  2. Running the Shoe. One of the highlights for the marathon this year was being able to run through the Shoe. I may not be the biggest Buckeye fan out there, but I’m completely excited about this opportunity. I’ve only been to the stadium three times, but I have a feeling this will be my favorite and most memorable time there.
  3. Redemption. I have a bone to pick with Columbus. Last year’s half marathon wasn’t my best effort, I mentally gave up within the first mile. I was burnt out, I was injured (imagine that) and I was ready for the racing season to end. This year I want to show Columbus that I can handle it, and that I’m going to give this race all I’ve got.
  4. Running with Alumni. It makes me so excited that I don’t have to run the marathon alone, well kind of. I’ll be doing all 26.2 miles by myself, but I’m glad to know that cross country friends from high school and college will be going through the same race as me, experiencing everything just as I am, as we all run our first marathon. I may be running alone, but it’s good to know that I have some teammates out there on the course.
  5. Running 26.2. 5k, 10k, Half. I think it’s the perfect time to step up my game and challenge myself on a longer race. Who knows, it could be my new favorite race distance….

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.

Planning Ahead

It’s hard to believe that the last few months of 2012 are approaching, this year has gone by so quick! It also means it’s getting closer to the time to pick races for 2013! How exciting 🙂 I certainly have a few that I’m determined to do, but I also have some blank spots that need to be filled. I’m no where near having a finalized list of races. I’m still in the browsing stage, seeing what will be available.  Here’s a list of things I’m looking for in 2013 races….

  • Local 5k’s…Living in a new area, I’m hoping I can find some races close to home (15 minutes or less drive time). I find that running is always a great way to explore a new area.
  • Mid-distance races….2013 will be all about breaking 2:00 in the half. If I want to do this, I’ll need to work on my speed in longer distances. I want to find some 10k-10 milers that I can work hard at.
  • Half marathons….What better way to break 2:00 than practice 13.1 miles over and over and over. It’s no secret that the half is my favorite race, I’d love to find more to dive into.
  • The 25 Challenge….This past year didn’t go as planned for travel races, but in 2013 I want to be able to knock some off the list. I’ve already got one planned with a great group of girls!
  • Marathon…..I want to give training another shot, I feel like I owe it to myself. I may learn I love the distance, or absolutely hate it. But there’s only one way to find out.
  • Favorites….I want to make sure I take advantage of running some of my favorite races. I always feel I have a better experience with these.
  • Top Picks…I’m hoping to throw in some races that are top picks by the community. Whether it’s Cleveland or Ohio in general, I want to make sure I’m at the starting line.
  • Challenges….I’m always checking for flat “easy” races. In 2013 I want to try to break that habit, maybe find a race with a hill or two (can’t get too carried away)

So here’s where I need some additional  help….

What races do you suggest I put on the drawing board for 2013?

What races are you scoping for next year?

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 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.

Marathon Promises

Today is day one. The first of many in what is now becoming my next adventure, training for the Columbus Marathon. I’m still very unsure about the idea of running 26.2 miles, but I’m also excited to see just how far I can push myself and become an even better runner. To start myself on the right foot, I’ve made some promises.

  • Don’t over do it. This will be hard, but I’ll have to ease myself into the first couple of weeks. I can’t just jump into double digit runs before getting some good base miles in. I also don’t want to push myself too far where I’m in constant pain for miles. I’ll need to find a balance.
  • Cross train. I love my bike and I’ve neglected it some, so I need to spend some quality time with it. The only thing holding me back, is the fear of traffic. I’ll just have to ride smart and find the best routes for me.
  • Pay attention to pain. I’ve had knee pain since March, and have yet to see a doctor. Maybe that’s because it goes away, or maybe because I’m afraid to hear the words, “Stop running.” Either way, I need to pay attention to pain and aide it right away.
  • Build some muscle. Remember way back in the winter when I was lifting a small amount. I want to pick that back up. I want to tone my entire body, not just my legs. If my body is stronger, those miles may seem a little easier.
  • Eat healthier. I’m guilty when it comes to eating a poor diet. I’d live off pasta if I could. I’ve made small attempts at eating better, but I fall back into what’s quick and easy. This time I really want to stay on a good path. Goodbye ice cream and snacks.
  • Have fun. Honestly, this is most important. I’m only going to run one marathon, so I might as well enjoy it. It’s going to be an experience, and I may get frustrated, upset, emotional, etc… But the feeling after crossing that finish line in October will be like no other. So I’m going to have fun.

And it begins. 111 days until Columbus Marathon….

The Other Half

A few weeks from starting the second half of 2012, and I can’t believe how quickly everything has gone by. I still remember getting into my cold gear and heading out the door for long Sunday runs in the snow cold weather. I would give just about anything to have that weather back right about now. But half the fun of summer is adjusting to the heat and figuring out what to do in the second half of the year. And while I’ve been adjusting to the heat these past few weeks, I’ve also been enjoying my summer. I nixed a race due to my legs not feeling 100% and just slacked a bit on some sort of training plan I had for myself. It’s ok though, I decided I should enjoy these last two weeks of no real plan before the mother of all training schedule arrives.

I’ll even admit that maybe I even got a little burnt out, but who doesn’t. Sometimes you need to just step back, relax and get ready for what comes next. I’d love to put 100% into every race I do this fall, but I probably won’t be able to. I  have two races that will be the most important things this fall, MDI and Columbus. Of course the marathon is my main goal, but I don’t want to put all hope into one race and not enjoy some local runs. Here’s my tentative schedule for the next six months. Some are still in question, and I may add a few, but at least I have some idea of how to measure the second half of the year.

June 30, 2012 – Run for Help 5k?

July 4, 2012 – Bay Days 5M

July 14, 2012 – Winking Lizard A Shot in the Dark

August 11, 2012 – NR Lion’s Club 10k

September 8, 2012 – Run for the Record 5k

September 9, 2012 – River Run Half Marathon?

September 15, 2012 – Mount Desert Island Half Marathon

September 23, 2012 – Race with Grace 5k

October 21, 2012 – Columbus Marathon

November 4, 2012 – Inland Trail Half Marathon?

November 22, 2012 – Mesa Turkey Trot 10k

My biggest challenge is creating my marathon training. I’ve played around with Runner’s World’s Smart Coach to come up with a few plans, and I’ll probably end up combing a few, and changing a few. I have no idea what I’m doing, all I know is that those long runs count.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway, it ends Sunday!

What’s your second half of the year look like? Any suggestions on marathon training?

MDI Week One

In just 16 weeks I’ll be up in Maine, enjoying the coast, checking out lighthouses, eating lots of seafood and running my second out of state half marathon. I’m so excited for this race, not only because it’s in Maine, but because it goes through Acadia National Park, right where my favorite lighthouse is. This is seriously a dream race, so I had to get it done in the first year of the 25 challenge. The Mount Desert Island YMCA Half Marathon has been a race I’ve had my eye on for the past year. It’s limited to 400 people, park limit, and has been closed out for months. Unfortunately MDI training will be overshadowed by marathon training after the first month, so this is my time to really put in the miles and get ready for what fall brings.

After taking a week off post Cleveland, I was certainly ready to get back into my shoes. Mentally and physically I feel better, I’m ready for my next training cycle. I had plans to rack up the miles this week, but I had to scale it back a bit. I’m still a bit nervous my knee will start to ache if I run too much too quickly. Luckily, I was able to break in my Asics 1140. The first couple days I tried them after Colorado I had major shin pains. This time around, the pain only lasted a few feet, sounds like a solid start to me!

 

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: 6 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 3 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

So what do I expect for the month of June? I’m hoping to get a lot of miles in, ramp up my training and prepare myself for those long runs that are right around the corner. I don’t have as many races on the schedule, but I’m hoping the half later on this month will be my best one yet.

This week I’ll be in Wisconsin for work, so getting miles in may be a bit tricky. I already have a packed schedule, and will be on the move constantly. Here’s to a new training cycle and some marathon prep!