“I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible.” John Hanc
I tend to have my most motivating thought when I feel I can’t do something.
I trained hard for the Gate River Run this year. I normally just run the race for fun but I really had some goals this year. A few weeks before the run, I started having pain in my calf/ankle. I didn’t think much of it. I iced and tried to rest between runs.. I just wanted to get through the race. I had plans to run with my friend Keri and we were determined to PR. Unfortunately, just two miles into the race I could feel the burning in my leg. By mile four, I couldn’t take it anymore. I called it quits. I’ve never quit a race before and Keri wasn’t about to let me quit this one. She forfeited her PR (we were on PR target at mile five) and did a run/walk with me for the last four miles. Needless to say, she’s a good friend. I learned after that the arch in my left foot had collapsed and I had posterior tibula tendonitis. Thankfully, all I needed was arch support in my shoes and some painful, deep tissue physical therapy massages.
I wasn’t allowed to run for a couple of weeks while everything healed. Sitting around, moping over yet another injury, I decided I wanted to run a marathon. I texted Keri, who was immediately in. What the hell were we thinking.
I hit the road once given the all clear and started with some easy four milers. Once things felt good, I sat down to make a plan. I considered having my running coach schedule my runs for me, but for some reason I really wanted to do this on my own. I took what I knew about half marathon training, read some online suggestions and consulted a friend who runs marathons and is an Ironman(woman). Thankfully, because my running coach is awesome, he occasionally chimes in regarding my schedule.
My much more experienced friends recommended the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon on November 8th. It’s apparently a big race with an excellent course. It’s also well supported by my running club, as a lot of people run the half, the full, or even just go up for course support.
So, the marathon training began. Halfway through training, a friend asked how many miles I will run in total. I realized I had no idea. I know I won’t end up running as much as experienced marathoners, but, I was curious. So, I decided to keep a running “diary” of sorts, logging my weeks. In the end, I am so incredibly amazed that I’ve made it. Two years ago I went through a major hip saga and wasn’t sure I’d ever run again, let alone run my first marathon.
Below is my weekly update, if you’re so inclined :)
14 miles for the week – 7 miles for the long run on Saturday. Track is hard and I feel slow.
15.35 miles for the week – 7 miles for the long run on Saturday
15.1 mile for the week – 8 miles for the long run on Saturday. 8 feels great!
15.62 mile for the week – 10 for the long run Saturday. 10 felt ok, but I pulled out of track early on Wednesday. Calf hurt a bit and I’m tired.
13.5 miles for the week – 7.5 miles for the long run Saturday. Sadly, I cut my long run short. I started late and had to get to swim lessons. It’s also HOT.. holy hell it’s hot.. and humid.
13.5 miles for the week – 9 miles for the long run Saturday. Long run felt so much better, but I did skip my Monday run, so I’m low on miles for the week.
20.5 miles for the week – 11 miles for the long run Thursday. Had to do my long run alone on Thursday before heading to Orlando for a conference. I’ve never run that distance by myself, so I’m pretty proud. I drove to my gym and ran loops from there so I had hydration and nutrition support. It was better to be away from home so that I wasn’t tempted to quit. Also ran an early morning 5k through Disney grounds, which was beautiful!
17.6 miles for the week – 12 miles for the long run Saturday. This is the furthest I’ve ever run for a training run. My friend Keri met me at 4:15am so that I could get the miles in before heading to swim lessons. I guess I’ve forgotten to mention throughout all this that every Saturday I teach swim lessons, 20 minutes away, from 8am-noon. This makes for a somewhat stressful run because I’m always worried about time. I always need to get back to my car, change, drive to the next county over and be in the water with a smile on my face. I usually eat a sandwich in the car and snack as much as I can between lessons.
21.1 miles for the week – 14 miles for the long run Saturday. Distance PR! We ran out at Nocatee and I needed to get an early start because of swim lessons (4am is becoming the norm). I woke up with a raging headache but was determined to get this run in. I popped two Excedrine, ate breakfast and drove out to Nocatee. I ran the first 4 miles alone, at 4am, in the dark, with my hair down because it hurt too much to put my hair up. By 5am, the official group start time, my headache was mostly gone and I could finally rock the much needed pony tail. The last two miles were rough.. but I survived.
14 actual running miles for the week – took Monday off because I just need a mental break. I failed to mention that I’m also training for a 12 mile swim throughout all this and my rest days are in the pool or in the ocean. I’m exhausted. I ran track Wednesday and hopped on a plane to Lake Tahoe Thursday for a family wedding. My plan was to run 15 miles, but between traveling, the altitude and the hills, only 10 miles happened. However, the weather was beautiful. I “made up” my miles with a 2 mile hike later that afternoon and a 5 mile hike the next day. Not an easy hike, either!
20.1 miles for the week – 10.36 miles for the long run Saturday. Oh, fail. I don’t know what happened.. but Saturday just failed. Everything hurt, I was stressed about time and we had 90% humidity by 5am.
19.75 miles for the week – 11.25 miles for the long run Saturday. Trying to stay positive. Not happy with my miles.
23 miles for the week – 15 miles for the long run Saturday. Took a break from swimming, which meant I ended up with actual rest days.. and what happened? A beautiful 15 mile run on Saturday! Started at 4am alone, as usual and got 5 miles in before people started gathering for the 5am group start. I had time to change my socks and shirt before heading out for the next 10. This was our St. Johns Town Center run, which is not my favorite, but I didn’t mind it today.
22 miles for the week – 12 miles for the long run Friday. Slight rest week to recover from last week, plan for next week and consider Saturday’s open water race. Had the Hammerhead 2.5 mile ocean swim Saturday, so I had to run alone Friday. A friend of mine was running 20 miles, yes, miles (before going to work, because she’s crazy), so I drove my car to her 10 mile turn-around point. This served as a big nutrition/hydration/wardrobe change stop for her and a good spot for me to run 3 mile loops. Maintaining nutrition and hydration has been a battle for me and running loops, simulating race water stops, has been beneficial. Nuun has been a saving grace for me.. It’s so much easier on my stomach than Gatorade, which sits heavy.
24 miles for the week – 16 miles for the long run Friday. Not only was this a distance PR but I ran it alone because Saturday I had a 6 mile swim (Up the River 2014). I felt absolutely amazing for the first 13 miles, which is really encouraging. I finally feel like training is starting to kick in and I’m a stronger than I have ever been before. At 13, I hit a little bit of a wall but realized I had only a 5k left, so I pushed through. By 14 I was really starting to feel tight and by 15 I was mentally wiped. The last mile was a run/walk and I shed a few tears of frustration. But, I reminded myself that this is an incredible achievement. I’d also like to point out that track practice has been amazing. I’m completing workouts and I’ve gotten so much faster (for summer tempts). My biggest motivation this week was a friend telling me at track that she’s noticed my improvement. Words can be so motivating :) Saturdays 6 mile swim was a breeze, so I’m looing forward to 12 miles in September.
27.7 miles for the week – 18 miles for the long run Saturday. Wow. I never imagined I would run 18 miles. The group run was huge at around 160 people. I started at 4am with 5 others, though I ran alone because they were all much faster (like 2 min/mile faster). We had an additional 60 or so show up at 5am. I decided to run a full 6 with the 5am group, so I wasn’t back in time for the 6am start. This ended up being the most amazing situation because as I turned the corner to head back to European street, 160 others came running toward me down King Street. I’ve never seen a sight like this. I’m usually running in the middle of the group.. just like in races. I’ve never been standing on the road when 160 suddenly came running toward me. This may sound strange, but it was a beautiful sight! My run went very well but I began to crash around mile 14, as expected. I pushed through and felt ok for miles 14-16. 16-17 everything started to shut down and the last mile was a run-walk… trying really hard to run more than walk. I’m ok with this. I’m not opposed to walking, especially when I’m officially past my distance PR. I was so happy to finish. So. Happy. I had breakfast at Cool Moose with friends afterward and recovered well the next day. My GI tract is unhappy, but I’ll survive. Ben and I leave Thursday for Portugal – training should be interesting. I’ve purposely scheduled a rest week, a least!
13 miles for the week – Just a recovery 3 Monday and then 10 early morning miles Thursday before heading to Europe. I should’ve gone to track Wednesday but I had so many things to take care of.
5 miles for the week – Woah. Definitely intended on running more in Portugal.. but at the same time I think I knew better. I’m not concerned with it, though. I am a wee bit disappointed in myself for not running today (Sunday), as I returned home yesterday. My only excuse for not doing my planned 8-10 today was sheer exhaustion.. aka laziness. I dealt with jet lag by sleeping most of the day.
24 miles for the week – 14 miles for the long run, which was done with a friend on Friday morning. Saturday, I drove to Charleston and did my 12 mile Swim Around Charleston. I loved and hated the swim. It was beautiful and such an incredible experience. If I ever do it again, though, I absolutely cannot marathon train at the same time. Because of running, my swimming really suffered. I survived, but it was painful.
24 miles for the week – 20 miles for the long run. Let me first say, I’m 6 miles short this week because I really needed a break Monday/Tuesday after my swim. But.. I actually LOVED my 20 mile run. I never, ever thought I would be able to say that sentence. I loved my 20 mile run. We ran through 3-4 different parts of town and watched the sun rise. There was a slight mist at times and plenty of people waiting at the end. This was a huge confidence booster!
21 miles for the week – 13.1 miles for the long run. Ran the Marine Corps Half Marathon as my long run/recovery run for the week. I felt like I could’ve PR’d but forced myself to slow down halfway to make sure I didn’t end up injured or too tired.
27 miles for the week – 20 miles for the long run. This 20 wasn’t as easy and fun as the first. I survived no problem but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I’m going to put blame on the miles accumulating on my legs. I’m supposed to be tired at this point, right? That’s why the miles drop a bit next week and then taper follows.
19 miles for the week – 14 miles for the long run. Got caught up in work this week and shorted myself on my weekday runs. Shame, shame. Felt pretty great dropping to only 14 on Saturday, though.
20 miles for the week – 12 miles for the long run plus a Tuesday run and a really awesome track workout.
8 miles for the week – Long run…? Ummm.. Had two great runs during the week and then went to Panama City for IMFL. The weather was so cold and windy and we spent so much time cheering for our friends competing that the long run just never happened. At least it was only supposed to be 8 miles. At this point, the only goal is to just keep moving.
11/8 – Race Week!
35 miles for the week – And, well, 26.2 miles for the long run!
Total Miles: 487.82
Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon – My first and definitely not my last!
I had SO much fun running this race. Don’t get me wrong.. 26.2 miles is grueling and there were parts toward the end that were physically awful, but I really had a blast. I don’t think I could’ve picked a more perfect marathon to be my first. The race is extremely well-supported and Savannah is a great city. It was also incredible having so many other PRS members out there running their first half marathons/marathons and PR’ing with some amazing times. The best part was how many PRSers were out there cheering. We had lots of people come up to Savannah to simply cheer us along. I saw them at mile six, twenty and at the finish line. THANK YOU!
I had three goals for this race: 1) finish 2) finish happily and 3) run somewhere around 5 hours. I definitely achieved 1 and 2.. not so much 3, as I ended up running 5:38. I was on target for sub 5 until mile 12. Then, I felt something funny going on with my lower back. By mile 14, my lower back was really tight and by 16 it really started to hurt. At 18 I had given up the thought of running close to 5 hours, which was fine with me because it was a pretty loose goal, anyway. I managed rather well until 20, when I need to start walking. I had stopped at every single medic tent for another application of Biofreeze but the only thing that felt better was walking. It’s a shame because mentally I was on par and physically, the rest of me was fine. I wanted to run.. but arugh.. my back. I pretty much walked straight through 22-24 until one of my teammates ran back to find me. He run- walked with me for a little bit and left me just before mile 25 when two of my other friends picked me up. They ran me into the finish. It felt so empowering crossing that finish line. Overall, I’m happy with the entire race and I know I smiled the entire way. While I don’t have an immediate plan for the next one, I know there will be more. I even know exactly what I’ll change about next time :)