Week Two: 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”

Week One: Baltimore Marathon Training

And just like that, the first week is over!

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”

2015 Baltimore Marathon Training Goals

Photo Courtesy: The Baltimore Marathon

Last October, I finished the 2014 Chicago Marathon with a time of 4:59:18. I ran the entire way through– no walking, which was a first for me. Finishing that race, a world class marathon, came with the usual feelings of having just accomplished something awesome and taken part in a superior race, but it also came with a lot of relief. I learned through a tough training season that some disruption in my “kinetic chain” in my right leg was causing a knot in my calf to form, so I had to get physical therapy at least once a week to loosen it up with dry-needling. I had to put my training on hold for a few weeks because running hurt so bad, and I questioned whether I would even be able to run the race. The mental and emotional toll was one of annoying levels. After that race, I embraced some down time with wide open arms. I had no intentions of running another marathon for at least a year. Continue reading “2015 Baltimore Marathon Training Goals”

Things I Learned While Actually Training for a Half-Marathon

Running along the frozen Potomac River on a 45-degree day, the day after a huge snow and ice storm.
Running along the frozen Potomac River on a 45-degree day, the day after a huge snow and ice storm.

As of right now, I have finished nine half-marathons and I’m about to add two more to my race resume with the United Airlines New York City Half-Marathon and the Yuengling Virginia Beach Shamrock Half-Marathon. But I’ve never actually trained for a half-marathon. I have always just run them because they somehow fit into my training schedule for marathons or because I happened to have a decent enough fitness base that I could feasibly make it work (including my first half-marathon in March 2011, which got me injured). After having officially trained to run these races, I now understand that I’ve been taking the approach to the half-marathon all wrong. I think it’s accurate to say that I have completely underestimated the half-marathon and, in doing so, have missed out on the wealth of what that short, quick little devil of a race has to offer for marathoners. Continue reading “Things I Learned While Actually Training for a Half-Marathon”

Richmond Half-Marathon Training

The subtitle for this post could easily be “Or What I’ve Been Up To Since Chicago.” Following the Chicago Marathon, I took some time off from running. Truthfully, all I wanted was a break from the sometimes unrealistic training expectations that I put on myself when I know I have a big race coming up. I’d basically spent all year in training mode– first for the June 2014 Minneapolis Marathon that I backed out of in April because of burnout and injury that was ultimately cancelled due to severe weather, and then for the October 2014 Chicago Marathon that I started training for in June. Frankly, I wanted to just live how I wanted and not let a training schedule take over my life.

Photo Courtesy: memecentral.com
Photo Courtesy: memecentral.com

None of this means that I wanted to stop running, however. Actually, for the first time in my life as a runner, I am feeling motivated and appreciative for my sport. I feel like I rose to the challenge of running the entire course at Chicago, and I was hungry for more challenges like that. But right now, I only want to rise to the challenge of becoming strong overall so I don’t get injured again. I want to push myself when it gets hard and embrace the pain that comes with getting out of your comfort zone and getting stronger. Continue reading “Richmond Half-Marathon Training”

Week Twelve: Chicago Marathon Training

Last week’s training ended on a perfect note. I ran 13 miles all the way through at race pace with no pain and, for the first time, felt like I wasn’t just talking about my goal to run my fifth marathon in Chicago. I knew that a perfect run also presented some physical as well as mental downsides. Physically, would this hip injury thing creep up on me again and how bad would it be? Mentally, can I keep a surge of relief and accomplishment from turning into pride and complacency? Week Twelve would reveal that to me. Continue reading “Week Twelve: Chicago Marathon Training”

Week Ten: Chicago Marathon Training

Last week, after having a successful week of 11.5 miles in week nine, I ran 15 miles in week ten. I didn’t meet my goal of running 20, but maybe that is okay. 11.5 to 20 miles in a week seems like a lot, and I was only trying to build my miles back up for a crash-training month in September. (I honestly have no idea what I am doing here.) Continue reading “Week Ten: Chicago Marathon Training”

Week Nine: Chicago Marathon Training

Best run in awhile. This run gave me confidence that I have what it takes to get to the finish line in Chicago.

Two weeks ago, I didn’t run at all. This last week, I ran 11.5 miles. It’s nowhere near close to the mileage I need for a decent week of marathon training, but I ran. I ran strong, I ran joyfully and with a sense of determination I hadn’t felt in a long time. It got hard at times as I felt the impact of having lost some of my physical and cardiovascular base over nearly four lost weeks of training.

I hear myself telling people that I haven’t been able to train hard this month and yet I still have high hope that I will finish the Chicago Marathon in October. The answer I get is, “Okaaaaayy.” The problem with explaining to people why you run is that they somehow think you are trying to become an elite runner. They can’t understand why you do it so much, why you push so hard. They hear that you’re injured and think that it’s time to find something else to do or that your time as a runner is over. Like they know you better than you know yourself after the hours of alone time you’ve had with yourself on the trail. I can’t understand that pessimism at all and it’s infuriating because it’s really just a nice way of saying, “I don’t think you have what it takes.” As a runner, you really have to know how to push those comments out of your head and know who you are. Continue reading “Week Nine: Chicago Marathon Training”

Chicago Marathon Training: Week….Where am I?…..

Somewhere in cyber-universe, there is a countdown clock that reads 53:20:21:01. 53 days, 20 hours, 21 minutes, and 1 second until the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I only saw that countdown timer when I logged into the Athlete Center to check into the marathon’s deferment policy. I wasn’t planning to pull the trigger on that yet, but I needed to know when the deadline was that I had to make yet another gruesome decision to DNS another marathon, and that date is September 8. Continue reading “Chicago Marathon Training: Week….Where am I?…..”

Chicago and DC…or Bust…!

Like everyone, I’ve had my share of life experiences that make me realize, among other things, that I am not invincible. I can’t fake everything all the time, I can’t always be the person I visualize in my head, I can’t deny that sometimes I would rather sleep in, shut out, and shut down than handle one more thing. After all, it’s true that ducks, looking all cool and calm, paddle like hell under the surface of the water, but when they see a predator come after them, they freak out and fly away. They put the kibosh on the whole “cool, calm, and collected” thing and go a little nuts to get out of harm’s way so they can paddle another day. That’s kind of where I’m at with moving and marathon training right now.

By now, I’ve moved about a hundred times and I’ve always noticed that there’s a weird pyramid progression that goes on with moving. Continue reading “Chicago and DC…or Bust…!”