Thoughts of Marathon Training

Last night I experienced the  moment where everything in the past 8 weeks finally clicked. I’m currently one mile away from matching my second highest month of mileage in the past year, and only five miles from matching my highest month of mileage quite possibly ever. I took a moment to take it all in, and rightfully so, the song “Home” came on my iPod.

My first marathon didn’t follow the best training plan. I made it half way through and I was injured, forcing me to take time off. I had 6 weeks to start from scratch and attempt to run 26.2 miles. I really struggled in Columbus, I didn’t know if I would finish, and I hit the wall awfully bad for quite a few miles. But nothing could take away the joy of crossing that line after those long and challenging 26.2 miles.

Looking back at the first 8 weeks, I’m so surprised at what I’ve done. I’ll be running my first of three 20 milers this weekend, last year I never made it past 16. I’m putting in the miles and doing the hard workouts. I’m pushing my limits and giving it everything I’ve got on the track. Truth be told, I didn’t know I had it in me. I was doing 20 miles a month in the beginning of the year, I had no idea how I’d ever get to 20+ miles a week. I even thought that I was a one and done marathon runner. But so much has changed.

The more I ran, the better I got, and the more miles I could handle without breaking down. I thought back many times to this quote from Born to Run, “Ask nothing from your running, in other words, and you’ll get more than you ever imagined.” I put in the miles this time around, and I wouldn’t stop until I had hit my goals. I felt healthy and happy and finally for once I was uninjured. I felt the weight of what is expected in marathon training, but I also felt the joy of telling people that I was training for my second marathon.

So what do these next 8 weeks have in store for me? I will continue to hit my splits, and trek the hills. I will wake up before the sun rises to enjoy every step of those long runs. I’m putting everything I have into this training and loving every bit of it. This marathon means almost more to me than the first one. I won’t give up until I cross that finish line in Akron, I can guarantee you that.  Running is my home, and it never felt so good to be here.

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Flying Pig Half Training: Week Eight & Nine

Last week it didn’t feel right to post my training, so I’ve combined weeks eight and nine into one post. Week eight was a bit of a jumble. I was rushing around to get things done before we left on vacation. We flew to Colorado on Friday and once we got there we made sure to stay active the entire weekend. We walked, hiked and ran in high altitudes. Coming from Ohio, all of these were a challenge at times, but it was good for the body and soul. I was still tight from Yoga though, this week’s class was about 95% Pilates with a focus on legs and about 5% yoga. The best part of training this week was running with Courtney! We got a 5 mile run in around Washington Park, making sure to catch up on running, racing, and life.

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Surprisingly I enjoy running at altitude. It can be hard, but I feel that a few miles up there can really help clean up training. Best part is that it actually seems easier.

Week Eight

Monday: 3 Miles

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Off

Thursday:  1.5 Mile Run, Yoga-lates

Friday: Off

Saturday: Hiked 1-2 Miles

Sunday: 5 Miles (in 5,280 altitude)

Total Miles: 9.5 Miles

Week nine started with Boston. I was in between plane changes and found out the news through Twitter. It was and still is heartbreaking, but it shows just how strong the running community is. I hadn’t planned on running that night, but it was the first thing I did once I got home. I ran those two miles in silence, thinking of everything that had happened that day. The rest of the week was pretty low key, still playing catch up at work and home from vacation. I had thought of running a half marathon over the weekend, as part of a birthday race. I was up in the air about which race, but finally decided the day of. My legs weren’t tight and I was finally able to get a long run in. More on the race later this week.

Week Nine

Monday: 2 Miles

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: 1.5 Miles

Thursday:  Yoga-lates

Friday: Off

Saturday: Tree Trotter Half Marathon, 13.1 Miles

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 16.5 Miles

I noticed that I’m really struggling with going from indoor running to outdoor running. I know it’s been windy, which hasn’t helped, but my pace seems to be so much slower than I thought it would be. I’m hoping in these next few weeks I can pick it up and get used to running outdoors again. I’m also hoping that we’re over winter, waking up to snow on Saturday wasn’t cool.

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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?

3M Half Training: Week 5

This week was a big fat zero. It’s not my fault really, it’s my body and what the doctors told me to do. And what I’ll continue to do until at least Wednesday.

It started last Saturday, as I was driving home from the Tour de Ashland Half. I was overly tired and I started having a burning feeling in my chest. My guess was that I at my bagel too quickly, and it was probably heart burn. It was a 40 minute drive home and the longer I was in the car, the worse the I felt. I figured once I got home and showered I would feel better. Was I ever wrong. By the time I got home, I was having chest pains, my heart rate was faster than normal and I felt it was working harder than usual. I was starting to panic, thinking something worse was happening to my heart.

In 2003, I was diagnosed with Arrhythmia, which means I have irregular heart beats and sometimes my heart skips a beat. I was also told that I have a small hole in my aortic valve, but neither were life threatening and they wouldn’t prevent me from running. I went on throughout high school and college and never had any problems. I would feel my heart skip a beat once in a while, and that was all that ever really happened.

Last summer I had some intense pain in my chest over so I went back to the cardiologist to have things checked out. After more tests and a 48 hour heart monitor I was cleared, my heart could still handle the long distances I was putting it through. Up until last week, I hadn’t had any problems. So of course with chest pains the first thing I could think of was that my heart wasn’t happy with the mileage I was putting myself through.

After a few long days of being pushed around to three separate hospitals, I was finally able to get a doctor to look at my heart. It was during this time, when I was hooked up to a heart monitor for over an hour, that I realized just how scary things could have been. Luckily my heart was healthy. Somehow during the race I had hurt my rib cage and now it was inflamed. It made sense why I had the chest pain, and why I didn’t notice anything until I was able to warm myself up post race.

So here I am, off all exercise for over a week, until I’ve been cleared by a doctor and I’m slightly ok with it. I took this as my body telling me it’s had enough for this year, that I need to take time off. I’ve been training since last December and never gave myself more than a week off in between training cycles. After January’s race things will change. I’ll give myself time off, and I plan on changing a few things around for 2013.

What does this mean for January’s race? I’m still going regardless. If I can’t run, then I can’t run, but I will still enjoy a weekend with some awesome runners. And sub 2:00? If it doesn’t happen, that’s fine. There will be other races. I’ve never let any of these issues interfere with my running, and I won’t let them start now. But, I’d rather run with a healthy heart, than a broken one.

3M Half Training Plan

I haven’t released my 2013 race calendar yet, but I’m starting my next training cycle for the first race of 2013. In January I’ll be running the 3M Half Marathon in Austin, Texas! It will be my second out of state half and hopefully a lot warmer than January in Ohio. I honestly hadn’t heard about this race until recently when Courtney and Melissa promised me this would be an easy, down hill course where I could not only PR, but possibly break 2:00. And if that wasn’t appealing enough, they would also be running the race as well. Let’s see…flat, downhill course? Possibly PR/Sub 2? 60 degree weather in January? Awesome Twitter/runner friends also running? How could I say no to this? After a few weeks of going back and forth, I finally decided that if I were to ever run a half in Texas, this would be it.

I’m 10 weeks out from race day, not my normal 16 week cycle of training. I’m not too concerned on the short time frame though. I two weeks post marathon, so I may have lot a little endurance and speed, but I needed time off to recover. However, I think I’ve still got it in me that I can get some pretty quick long runs in before race day.

I’ve given a lot of thought to how I’d like my future training cycles to go. I’m hoping for more cross training, lifting, and healthier eating habits. I also know that if I want to have a fast half, I need to incorporate more speed workouts into my training. Once again I’ll be using Runner’s World Smart Coach as my training base to get me where I need to be in just 10 short weeks.

This first week will be difficult, as it seems I always start a training cycle on a week I’m traveling. I’ll be in Colorado for half of this week and some of next week. Since we know how things started my last trip to Colorado, I’m going to be paying more attention to hydration than my running. Plus after two weeks off I know I’ll need to ease into running again. I’m looking forward to logging some long runs and even running some of those major hills. Time to dust off those racing shoes….

Interested in learning more about the 3M Half? Thinking of running it? Check out the race page here. As an added bonus, flights from Akron-Canton Airport to Austin are the cheapest they’ve been in months.

 

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 14

It’s officially taper time! This also means that there are only two weeks until the marathon, two weeks! I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by. Just over a year ago, I made the decision that I would take the next step and run a marathon, and to think that it’s almost here is still unbelievable. I wish I could say that my hardest runs are past me, and that I’ve done everything I could have to make sure that the marathon is a success. But I can’t.

It’s no secret that my training has been challenging, and not up to standards. I’ve gone through pain, and recovery, and pain again. I lost a complete month of training, something I know will show up on race day around mile 20 when I have feelings of doubt. But my main focus in these next two weeks is to keep my pain to a minimum. After last weekend’s long, hilly run, my body has felt a little beat up.  I felt it this week on both my shorter and longer run as well.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 7 Miles

Total Miles: 10 Miles

For the next two weeks, I’m going to listen to my body and ignore my training schedule. I still want to get three runs in a week, but I’ll keep them short, easy and most likely on a treadmill. As much as I’d prefer to be outside, my daylight after work is limited. I also think it’s best for me to be on the flat surface of the treadmill, and if any pain happens, I can easily stop.

Other things I need to do in the next two weeks? I still need to figure out what to wear for race day. The weather has thrown me for a loop with the freezing temperatures, but it looks like it should warm up. Luckily I’m great at over packing, so I should have plenty of options. But most important, I need to figure out which colors to wear. I also need to update my playlist on my iPod. Over the past few weeks I’ve found some great songs, and some not so great songs. I need to shape it up so I’m not playing with music, but focusing on my running come race day.

What do you do during taper? Any suggestions?

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.

MDI Week Two

Last week was almost an embarrassment to my training schedule. I originally had high hopes of packing in the miles, but in the back of my mind, I knew traveling would dominate and put a back seat to my running. Lucky me got to visit the home of the Cheeseheads, three days in Wisconsin, and just an hour outside of Green Bay. Tuesday through Thursday I spent sun up to sun down in meetings. I traveled between Milwaukee to Oshkosh and back down to Milwaukee again. I spent a lot of time learning from the president of the company and hearing what our customers thought of our products. It was an insightful week, but lacked running. Being on my feet or in the car the entire time, wore me down, and I was left with no motivation or time to run.

I was fairly disappointed with the amount of running I didn’t do. However, I was able to score some Packers gear during a five hour wait for our delayed flight. (Thanks United for a horrible experience!)

Decisions, Decisions

 

So this week I plan to get things back on track. Race schedule shows the Park 2 Park Half Marathon this Sunday. I have yet to make a decision on this race, but it’s coming close to crunch time if I want to run or not. I’ll have to see how this week goes and if I’m able to get in some long runs, I’ll take a shot at another 13.1.

 

Has travel ever changed your training schedule? How do you balance traveling and running?