Marathon Questions + Answers

I’m returning to this little space on the internet after weeks of neglect. And while even after all this time, this blog is a familiar space to me – I realize it may not be to the friends and family checking in for the first time on my marathon training. Let me cover the basics…

When did you start running? Almost exactly 2 years ago! I didn’t run my first 5K until I was 23. It was a Turkey Trot race, and I wanted to hurl after I crossed the finish line. I ran my first half marathon just under a year later and my second half six months later. Aside from a mile here or there at the gym in college, or a few attempts outdoors, I rarely ran. I always liked the idea of running, but in reality, I thought the actual act was sort of horrible.

Why did you start running?! I was living in Washington, D.C., and I think I was inspired by the dozens of runners I saw on a daily basis and the number of scenic running trails near my apartment. I decided to register for a 5-miler in the summer of 2014; I bought a pair of running shoes and found a training plan on the internet. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand the risk of “too much, too soon,” and my legs didn’t handle the stress incurred from the jump of zero runs a week to three well… don’t let anyone tell you that running a mile is nothing! I woke up with a bad case of shin splints a few weeks into training and wasn’t able to finish the race. Stubbornly, I buckled down and delved right in to what I called “learning to run.”

Why Ice Packs + Races? Ooooh in the beginning I wanted nothing more than to race! Before I had even run 2 or 3 miles consecutively, I was dreaming of half and fulls. I also spent a lot of time in the start with ice packs on my poor, inflamed shins. (Pro tip though, Dixie Cup ice massage is the way. to. go.)

Where have you been?! Since the last time I wrote, things have changed quite a bit! In this most recent chapter of “We plan, God laughs,” I was offered a job back in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio. My fiance and I wrung our hands and paced up and down our beloved D.C. neighborhood and after weeks of decision-making, we decided to make the plunge! The job was too good to pass up, the unexpected opportunity to be near our families too exciting, and here we are…I started work in May, and we’re happy. Big city living will call our names again soon, but it’s nice to have taken a leap and seen where we landed.

What are you training for now? The big ‘ol 26.2 mile race. I’ll be running for Every Mother Counts – in one of my favorite cities in the world- at the TCS NYC Marathon. It makes me all tingly just thinking about it. I’ll finish my longest training run days before Alex and my wedding, I’ll taper for three weeks during and after our honeymoon, and race one beautiful fall day in November. It’s going to be a big year!

You’re fundraising? Yes! I learned about Every Mother Counts through Oiselle, where I’m a Volée member in an incredible team of women runners. I’m passionate about global health and running and knew that this is something I wanted to support. I e-mailed EMC months ago asking how to join their team and the rest is history. I’m honored to support them. You can learn more about that here.

How’s the training been going? If I had ever written a NYC Half race re-cap, I might have shared how angry my left knee became during the last third of the race. I attribute it to the rolling hills in Central Park, and quite possibly the aching cold, or just a nagging problem with muscle imbalances that I can’t shake. No matter the reason (or how much I loved that race), I returned home with an irritated ITB and an achy knee. I rested, signed up for physical therapy, was assured this was nothing a little strength training couldn’t fix and kept on. I still do my PT exercises every day (6/7 days a week is a win for me) and still very conscious that I need to train smartly. I continue to walk/run my mileage, and it’s been working for me. I’d like to continue to shorten the time spent walking, and increase the time spent running, but that’s just me. I’d like to cross that finish line strong and healthy, and if walking helps me do that – I’m very, very game. (Aspiring runners out there…walking is a-ok!!!).

What training plan are you following? I trained for my first and second half marathon using Hal Higdon’s training plans, and I have loved it. I’ll recommend his novice plan to an any beginning runner, but I wasn’t in love with the marathon plan. I enjoyed the obvious increase from 3 to 4 days of running a week that marathon training required, but the T/W/TH back-to-back runs were causing a little havoc in my schedule and motivation. I felt like a survived a feat by the time Friday rolled around. I turned to another novice plan written by Team EMC’s coach with a T/TH/S/S run schedule, and I’m liking it so much better. I do my cross training (anything non-running) on Wednesday and it breaks up the week. I’m still getting used to having to run on Saturday and Sunday, but Saturday is a nice 3-miler every single week. It’s manageable.

How has marathon training differed from half marathon training? Oh, they don’t kid about the time hog marathon training is, but I feel so accomplished at the end of a week. Amid a move, a new job, and wedding planning, it’s also been the only reason I drag myself out of bed and go exercise. I do well with a goal. And I’ve only cried from the stress of it once. Yet.

Anyway, those are the basics. I’m going to return to sharing my weekly training every week, as well as a little more here and there, but I’m going to roll down the pressure to write on a strict schedule like I did in the past. This is supposed to be fun! Until then…

Friday Five: Five Best Race Signs

I’m linking-up with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DCCynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run again today! This week’s theme is Five Best Race Signs.

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I was excited when I read this week’s Friday Five theme because I love race signs – making them, giggling at the silly ones, and spotting them during my first half. What’s not to love about things that cheer people on?!

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NYC Marathon 2014: “Pain is temporary. Posting on Instagram is forever.”
  1. I saw, “Pain is temporary. Posting on Instagram is forever.” on social media before I went to cheer my best friend Emily at the 2014 NYC Marathon. It hit the perfect level of silliness I wanted.
  2. Run faster! We have brunch reservations. I spotted this one at the Navy Air Force Half Marathon, and it was perfect in a city that loves brunch as much as DC does. I also had my own brunch reservations to get to that day 😉
  3. Remember: you paid to do this! For the moments that really hurt, or are particularly hard, you can laugh, shake your head, and remember you wanted to do this so much you paid money to be there!
  4. Run like someone just called you a jogger. Not everyone feels that jogger is a bad word, but I’m not a fan, and that would make me run!

    enhanced-buzz-20090-1383588359-37 via Buzzfeed
  5. And when in doubt, a “You run better than the government,” sign will always get a laugh in DC.

Want to read some more? Here are a few signs from NYC Marathon 2013 and Boston Marathon 2014.

What’s the best race sign you’ve ever seen or made?