Sunday, October 23, 2011

One week....

It's been a long 17 weeks. Full of running and training, distractions and travel. I've trained properly, I've missed days/weeks. I finally got fitted for a new pair of running shoes the right way....still figuring out if I like them or not. I've ran a half marathon and I've been downright lazy. I've eaten pizza and candy and sweets and I've had bagels and carbs and protein. Whatever I've done the past 17 weeks boils down to this: week 18. ONE week to go until I complete my first marathon. My goal? To finish. To get across that finish line no matter what, no matter how painful or how joyful I am at that moment in my life...I just want to finish. To accomplish something so significant. Something, honestly, not a lot of people can say they've done. Many of my friends get to brag about getting engaged, getting married, having babies....this is my life. I get to brag about this. I get to shout from the rooftops this accomplishment in a week.

In a week I will become part of the 1% of Americans to run...and complete...a marathon. ONE PERCENT. That's pretty awesome. It's not something easy, it's not something everyone can do. It takes literally months of dedication, training, being glued to your sneakers and Gatorade and carbs and the pavement. It's something you need to make time for, need to enjoy and need to WANT to accomplish.

I'm not sure if I'll run another marathon, I'd like to I think, the timing would have to be right and the location would have to be right. No more autumn marathons, training in the summer and throughout football season is just too hard, too hard to find the time, and too hot and humid in August. If I were training for the NYC Marathon (that'd be awesome), perhaps. Or the REAL marathon in Greece, because that is typically the second week in November.

My goal for next week is simply to finish. I am not aiming for a particular time, although under 5 hours would be very, very nice.

So...this last week of taper will show my past 17 weeks. I will get up in one week, strap on my sneakers and Garmin and race number, and run 26.2 miles to that finish line to complete the 36th Marine Corps Marathon. And I will kick its butt.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week 2...

Yesterday morning I ran my 6 mile long run for week 1. DEATH is what it felt like. I thought by running at 8:30am, I'd avoid the heat. Nope. Turns out in great New England it likes to get hot REALLY early. I was trucking along pretty good the first mile or so, I've been trying to teach myself to slow down and keep a steady pace, instead of looking down at my Garmin and realize I'm running 9:30 minute miles for my long run. I know that doesn't seem fast, but it is to someone who is still working on lowering her time to 10 minute miles and who is doing this why training to run a steady paced 26.2 miles in 17 weeks.
I've been learning this pace thing, one of my goals this training season. Cool thing about my watch is when I get home from a run it automatically transfers my data to my computer, all within 3 minutes of walking in the door. This is cool because I can see what my average pace throughout the run was, and it even has a graph so I can see my "highs and lows". It's both a good and bad thing. I like to be prepared, and I like really focusing on my training, rather than just go at it blindly.
We have 3 3 miles this week then the long is 7 during the weekend. I hope I start to get into a routine with this all, although it's hard to plan with our crazy weather. Guess the SEATTLE girl should know better than to complain about rain...

Sunday, July 3, 2011


For me it's the challenge to try to beat myself or do better than I did in the past. I try to keep in mind not what I have accomplished, but what I have to try to accomplish in the future.
-Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Granted, I've only accomplished two half marathons, so I really don't have to dwell too much on 'what I've accomplished'. Life is about moving forward. It's about the goal, the finish, what lies ahead. During a race you don't look back and dwell on the steps you've taken, you aim for the steps you're about to take and the future accomplishment (the finish).

I think the same is true for training. You can't dwell on the training you've done up to this point, only the training yet to be accomplished. Right now my stress is the 6 miles I'm suppose to run today, but my focus should be on the future miles, the miles yet to be ran. Today's run will help give me the endurance needed for those future miles.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beginning of a new season

Eighteen weeks.

Sounds like a lifetime away. Eighteen weeks from now it will be late fall, the leaves will have already gone through their season and begun to fall to the ground. A chill will be in the air. College football season will be heading into its final month of regular season, basketball will begin practice. In eighteen weeks I will end the biggest season of my life thus far. This ending will conclude with a 26.2 mile adventure, a race against time to the finish. In eighteen weeks I will officially be a MARATHONER. No more skating by with races, no more testing the water. This is it, the ultimate showdown.

I know it will be tough. There will be good days and bad days, good weeks and bad week. There will be battles between long runs or sweatpants, endurance and stamina. Countless hours will be spent pounding the pavement, just me and whatever lies ahead. I think the beginning of a new season is the most exciting; it's like the beginning of a new relationship. Everything is fresh and new, there is excitement around every corner as you discover new things and experience new feelings.

Although I've trained before, I've put time and energy, sweat and tears into new seasons this one will be different. This one will take more dedication and time, more energy, more sweat and tears and probably a little bit of blood. There will be tests and hurdles, trials and tribulations to get through. Like a new relationship, it will take time to develop into something routine and normal. I also love this part. The familiarity of routine, the comfort of it. Knowing what to expect and having a trust in it.

I know I’m ready, I feel I am. Dedication and determination are going to get me through to the finish. I want to stand there after the race, medal around my neck and bagel in hand and think about the start. The start is not mile 1 of the race. The start is eighteen weeks before……so here it is.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Race week!

And it's back! Race week has officially found its way into my life, and I'm not sure if I'm prepared enough for its arrival. 12 weeks I've trained for this half marathon. 12 weeks at the 'intermediate' level (apparently I'm graduated from novice) training. I think I'm prepared, I've done the majority of the running, minus that few weeks off because of injury. I've been running at a faster pace and actually have to slow myself down so I don't run out of energy. I have more gear, love my trusty little Garmin watch (probably rely on it WAY too much), and have learned more about hydration and gels and beans and nutrition. I think this time it's different because I have a goal. More than just a 'I want to finish the race and not keel over 20 yards away from the finish line". I want this 2:10 mark, I want to prove that I can do it, that I can run that 'fast'. Granted, it's not fast in the sense that women are finishing half marathons in just over an hour, but darn it its fast for me. My previous race time was 2:37, that's knocking a lot of time off from one race to the next.

Allison has the same goal, so it will be fun to have someone to pace with, as long as we're not a distraction to each other (it's been known to happen, we're pretty ridiculious together). Another distraction is the bands along the way, my legs like to dance when they hear fun music. Guess that's another thing to learn about and from. Whatever happens this weekend, I know I'll have put 12 weeks of training in, 12 weeks of running I wouldn't have normally done. I've been healthier, watching what I eat and exercising and been more aware of what I'm doing. That in itself is a success.

Well, race week here I come! Let the fun begin...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


This training experience has been a journey. It's been different from last year because last year was my first. Everything was new and exciting and I didn't know what to expect. Besides being mildly lazy, I ran into no real problems throughout my training and managed to finish the race in a semi-decent first time time. This year I wanted to really focus on training and have a time I'm wanting to hit for the race. I bumped my training to intermediate and turned into a 'real' athletic runner. This of course comes with some hurdles. Injuries from perhaps overtraining. I think that's what did me in with my heel, the speed and tempo training.

Maybe I'll be more ready for that type of training for my next race. For now, as I get into the last week before the race, I want to focus on finishing. Not just finishing, I still want to hit my goal time. I'd like to run it 2:10, pacing myself to 9:59/mile. My friend Allison has the same goal, so hopefully we'll keep each other on pace and finish strong!

Nashville will come with distraction, of course. How can it not with 3 women coming together in Country town USA? But I think we'll be good, keep focused and do this race.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Run through the pain?

I hit a snafoo in my training last Tuesday when I was running. I was excited to do a 4.5 mile outside and ran from the gym to my house, I like to stop on the way to get gatorade. The cadets were walking back to the barracks when I was running and I really didn't want to run 'with' them so I had my housemate drop me off near the stadium. I started running down the hill when I got a sharp shooting pain in my ankle area! I stopped to stretch it out, but I couldn't run anymore and it hurt so bad to even walk! I hobbled to my car and drove home, to be promptly handed ice and Motrin.

Come to find out I injured my Achilles tendon so have been forced to sit out of any sort of training, couldn't even wear sneakers because of the swelling! Finally Wednesday I got on the elipticall, and today I ran about a mile and a half. Can't wait to get back out there, less than a month until the race! I can't believe it's sneaking up on me so fast, but excited at the same time!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 2-4

The good news is the only thing I'm slacking on during training is updating this blog. The past three weeks have been intense, but honestly a lot of fun. Stepping up into the intermediate training bracket has worked wonders on my stamina and endurance. I’ve added sprint training and tempo training into my mix and I think it is really helping! My first race I was just focused on making it to the finish line without dying, and this year I have an actual time goal of 2:10. I know with hard work and consistency with this training I will hit that goal. I purchased a Garmin 410 watch (what am I kidding, that monster isn’t a watch) and am IN LOVE with it. It tracks my mileage, pace even my pace next to my ‘ghost runner’ and as soon as I get home it transfers to my computer when I walk in the door. It will show me the route I ran and exactly what pace I was running every second of the way. So I know when I slack off.

The big thing I’m still not really doing is strength training. I know this is vital to my success so that will be a priority in the upcoming weeks. I have my EA Active so I have no excuses not to do it!

Yesterday I went for a 7 mile run. It was POURING outside, but after 5 seconds of grumping about it I remembered I’m a Seattle girl and rain is nothing. So with that I put on my trusty hat and stepped out of my car. The run was awesome, minus almost getting attacked by squirrels near Lee gate. Those little buggers just LOVE to run right into my path and stop. Slightly comical for anyone who chooses to watch because I usually yell at them and bolt to the other side of the street. I like to time my run where I start at the gym so about halfway through I can practice a hydration station at my house. I have my mini of Gatorade and make a short pit stop before powering through the rest of my run. I like these mile build ons because in my head I tell myself, Self, you did 6 last time, it’s ONLY a mile more. After that I guilt myself a bit and finish up my race. When I got back home and transferred my info, I discovered I ran at a 10:34/mile pace! That is ROCKING in my goal setting strategy. My goal pace is 10/mile which would put me in at 2:11 for the race. I even walked a few times and it all averaged out, so I was pleasantly surprised.

This week my Tuesdays bump up to 4 miles, I have a 7x400 on Wednesday, then Sunday is an 8 mile run. We have an Army lacrosse game the same day so will have to probably get up early and run that 8, but it shouldn’t be a problem! Here we go with week 5!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week One - Starting back up

Well, it's been a while, but I'm back in action! This past week was my first week of training for the Nashville Half Marathon (Date: April 30th). The past few weeks I've been running at the gym, pre-training if you will, about 3 miles every time I go. Between all the snow days and gym closures, it's been pretty well!

I'm doing the Hal Higdon intermediate half marathon training this time around, a little bit more than what I did last year. I'm running 5 days a week, with one day of stretch and strength only and one day of total rest (Fridays!). My first strength session on Thursday was killer, we did back and shoulders and let me tell you my arms HURT by Friday night! It will be good though, with your arms moving in the same motion as your legs for the duration of the race, those are as important muscles to train.

Wednesday was my first speed training, I ran 5 x 400's on the treadmill, with a 400 jog in between each set. I was a sprinter long before I decided to run more than a lap, so fortunatly those came naturally (although I still ran them at 2 minutes, which is twice what I ran in a race!). Speed training is a vital training tool in bettering your time, so I'm all for it! My goal time is 2:10, so I have to really work hard to bring my time down and train my muscles to run at a faster pace so I know I can accomplish that time come race day.

I'm still getting a feel for the right pace for my runs, but as I get into it I think it's going to get easier!