Last week was exhausting, in a good way. I feel like I am getting in touch with my inner athlete. I go stand-up paddle-boarding at least twice a week now, and the results are already starting to show. My stomach is a little tighter and flatter and my running feels stronger because my core is stronger. And I feel gladness coming back to my life, slowly but surely, with every time I go out on the water. Life has felt bleak over the past couple of years, but the stagnancy is clearing away, all because I had the courage to do something new and evolve through trying new experiences. It passes the time anyway.
I’m also scared and excited that I have two marathons to run within 8 days in 9 and 10 weeks. I can’t believe I signed up for that. I may have to let go of my dream of a 4:00 marathon with Baltimore so I can survive the Marine Corps Marathon, but you know what? I’m letting go of the clock. I’m running two marathons within 8 days of each other. I’m raising money for an organization that is the definition of humility and strength and doing my part to give back. While I still have goals for each race, I’m also trying to put things into a bigger picture and realize that my running is about more than what the clock says. I’m coming back to who I am, and it feels really great.
Looking ahead to this week, I know I will breach 30 miles just fine. I’m looking forward to running my first race since June– the Potomac River Runners Leesburg 20K. The break from racing has been great. Last spring was boom boom boom with races once or twice a month. I may have gotten a little burned out with all the races I was running. I’ve just enjoyed running my own training schedule and routine for now, incorporating cross-training, and putting the focus on one major event (now two) instead of a big event every other weekend. I’m really only running this race because it is the halfway point in marathon-training: the half-marathon time test. Even though 20K is short of 13.1 miles by 0.68 miles, it’s still enough to gauge where where I will be on race day. Even if I don’t end up running my goal pace in Baltimore or at Marine Corps, it’ll be nice to know if I have been on track. Continue reading “Week Nine/Eight: Baltimore and Marine Corps Marathon Training”
Last week, I decided to take the plunge and register to run the 40th annual Marine Corps Marathon. I’m running as a member of Team TAPS to raise funds to provide grief counseling resources to the families of our nation’s fallen heroes. I’m so honored that my training will mean something of this magnitude, but I need your help.
Who I am Running For
I live really close to Arlington Cemetery and the Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. When you’ve lived in Washington, DC for 6 full years, it’s easy to get desensitized to the grandeur of the memorials and monuments here, but I really haven’t. Somehow, I always keep in mind that those monuments were built and those memorials constructed for the sole purpose of honoring those whose sacrifices have made our country great.
By now, I realized that I was getting annoyed with myself. It seemed that I was missing too many weekly mileage goals. I missed some for a good reason, like last week’s open-and-shut injury cases, but others I missed because I was just having a bad day or I didn’t plan well enough. This week, I knew I really had no choice: it would be 30 miles a week from here on out. No excuses. Continue reading “Week Eight/Seven: Baltimore/Marine Corps Marathon Training”
Officially, the Baltimore Marathon is in less than 3 months. Said to non-runner ears, that’s plenty of time. Said to runner ears, who speak in weeks, 11 weeks will earn you a polite eyes-to-ceiling tight-lipped grin and a cautiously optimistic nod accompanied by an, “Ehh, you have time,” which translates to, “Better get your sh*t together.” For the next 11 weeks, including Week Seven, I cannot dip lower than 30 miles a week. That has to be my goal. I can do it, too. I’ve trained for marathons before and I walk a minimum of 4 miles a day commuting, walking the dog, and generally just getting around. I’ve basically run between 10 and 20 miles every week since January. The fact that I haven’t breached 30 miles a week as I am marathon-training just makes me wonder if I am wasting my time.Continue reading “Week Seven: Baltimore Marathon Training”
After the fallout in Week Five, I was out for a redemption week. Week Six means that, come this Saturday, the Baltimore Marathon is in 12 weeks. I have 3 months left to train for my 4:00 marathon, and I can’t do that if I am barely meeting 20 miles per week. Usually, the common training wisdom is that, if you miss a few days and you mess up your schedule, if it’s a missed 2-3 days, pick up where you left off and continue on with an easy-paced run to get back into the groove. You’re “allowed” to miss a long run once or twice and, while it’s definitely the most important run, if you miss it, move on.
But I couldn’t “just” move on because I am also using this training to train for possibly the Marine Corps Marathon, possibly the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon, and then the Dopey Challenge. I have three months to train for Baltimore then Marine Corps, another month to train for Rehoboth, and then a month later, I’ll be running 48.6 miles. That just feels like so much racing for barely having breached 20 miles per week in the first five weeks. I needed to be in the 30’s somewhere by now, and I’m not. Continue reading “Week Six: Baltimore Marathon Training”
As I started this week, all I could be grateful for was that the disaster of Week Four was behind me and I could get back into some semblance of normalcy. I’m all moved into the one place I am paying rent to, there are no more boxes cluttering up my 471 square feet of space in this world, and I have a predictable schedule again. For the foreseeable future, nothing is in my way. Which might be like saying “perfect game” in baseball. But at least the move is behind me. But it turned out to be one of those weeks in which I would stand astonished and say, “What the heck was THAT!?!”Continue reading “Week Five: Baltimore Marathon Training”
After two and a half weeks of successful marathon training, in week four, I’ve come to what I hope is my only bump in the road. For weeks, I’d been anticipating a move to a new apartment just 10 minutes away from where I currently live in Arlington. I’ve moved during marathon training before– I moved from Lincoln, Nebraska to Arlington, Virginia during marathon training at about this same time last year. To me, as far as marathon training, this move from Crystal City to Rosslyn would be a piece of cake in comparison. I was wrong, and the impact colored my week. Continue reading “Week Four: Baltimore Marathon Training”
Heading into Week Three, I realized the honeymoon phase of marathon training was quickly ending. I’d experienced lagging motivation last week to and the quick realization that I needed to be doing more strength and core work. My TFL on both sides and my hips were sore from a heavy weekend of running. I wasn’t alarmed by this, but it was a reminder that injury will plague me if I don’t do better on my core work.
I am also in the process of moving to a new apartment and I’m experiencing some associated nerves about the new change. I’m really excited to move into my new home and relieved that I will have a better commute to and from work, but moving into a new place brings more baggage with it than you realize. I love change; I thrive on the possibility that comes with change. But it also reminds me that my life is uncertain, too, and I’m not where I thought I would be not that long ago. Maybe that’s why I run and train so much: right now, training is the only thing in my life that I can count on. Well, marathon training and God, but I always consider him to be a given. If I am training for something, I am the only person in charge of the outcome and even that has some element of chance. Moving nerves and uncertainty are nothing I can’t get past, but it does expend some emotional energy when right now, I need all the energy I can get. Continue reading “Week Three: Baltimore Marathon Training”
After a successful first week, the second week included a ramp up in mileage as well as the introduction of a strength and core program to help me manage the leg pain from the knot in my calf. Last week was like the first week back at school: a quick review of the fundamentals, bright and shiny goals, some room to get used to a new schedule. This week wouldn’t be too different, but it required a little more effort and dedication. The weather is expected to stay pretty hot and particularly on the days when I can’t opt for an easy or recovery pace. That means I will need to wake up early once or twice. But, just as I do when I’m running a long or hard race, I have to focus on one mile at a time. I’m not looking at the end of the week and getting nervous that I have to run 20 miles, wake up early, and do a new challenging workout. I’m focusing on one day at a time. The end goal will always take care of itself if you do the work leading up to it. Continue reading “Week Two: Baltimore Marathon Training”
It’s almost surreal to be back in marathon training mode, even though it seems like I’m always training for something. Like I outlined in my post about my goals for the next 18 weeks, what I want most is to do this one the right way. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wiping the slate clean and starting fresh. It’s the first day of school, but my clothes are still wrinkled and I’m pretty tired, too. The difference is that, at the end of this adventure, I’ll hopefully be a stronger runner with a new PR and a new medal on my wall. And I’ll have had a great experience, too. It’s time to own who I am. Continue reading “Week One: Baltimore Marathon Training”