I had this set to publish last Monday but for some reason it was saved as a draft instead and I never noticed. So this update is coming super late! I’ll be writing and publishing week 16 tomorrow!
Well, this training cycle has been full of its ups and downs, that’s for sure. Just when I start feeling on top, after two great long runs of 17 and 20 miles, something happens and I’m back on the bottom. I recently heard a saying that runners should, “fear the training, not the race,” and I’m finding that to be more and more true as the weeks go by.
It all started with an announcement on Wednesday that the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon that I had planned to do was postponed due to the government shutdown. The first 8 miles of the race are through a National Park which are currently closed, so they had to postpone the race to November 10th (the same day as the OBX Marathon). You could either run on November 10th or defer to next year. I was super disappointed because I missed the other half I was going to do, since it was too much to do on the day of Kevin’s birthday party. I was hoping to use this race as a test of my current fitness level so I could push myself and see what I could possible expect in terms of time goals for my full. When I found out I started scrambling to find another half, but nothing fit well into my schedule with only 5 weeks left to my marathon. Any of the races I found also would require travel and more money to register (no refunds for the Wilson Bridge Half), which is not ideal for us right now. So I decided I wouldn’t get to run a half this training cycle, and instead I would do my own 13.1 mile ‘race’ on Sunday. You can see from the screenshot below how that went. Read on to find out more…
Monday: Rest. After my 20 miler the day before this was MUCH needed. I did a lot of stretching and foam rolling.
Tuesday: 4 miles in 38:29 (9:38 pace). This was my 27th birthday! There is no better way to start a new year of life than with a run! I try to run every year on my birthday, except last year when I was only about 2 1/2 weeks post partum so I couldn’t. I did 4 easy miles this morning, reflecting on the last year of my life which was amazing, and thinking of all the exciting things to come. I felt thankful that running has been a constant comfort for me throughout these years. That night we went out to dinner with some friends and family at our favorite local Mexican restaurant.
Wednesday: Rest. This was supposed to be a tempo run, but I ate way too much Mexican the night before and had a bad stomachache. I decided to switch my run with Thursday’s rest day instead.
Thursday: 6 miles in 49:49 (8:18 pace). I really surprised myself with this workout! On the plan was a warm up, 2 x 2 tempo miles with .25 mile recovery in between, then a cool down. I decided to aim for miles between 8:00 and 8:15 because that’s my goal half marathon pace. I felt great and actually exceeded all of my goals. My splits were 8:13, 7:48, 7:40, 7:28. It felt amazing to hit those paces, especially because I have felt like I am running very slow for me lately. The only negative was that my knee started to hurt toward the end of the workout, maybe from the stress of running hard.
Friday: 4 miles in 39:22 (9:15 pace). On the plan today was just an easy 3-4 miles since I was supposed to be tapering for my half on Sunday. Since I decided to ‘race’ anyway this weekend I stuck with that plan. I did an easy 4 miles, but had a little knee pain towards the end as well as some stomach issues. I blame the cookie cake I had that was leftover from my birthday. I need to get my nutrition in check- this has been happening too often lately! Afterwards I went to the chiropractor before school and he adjusted my knee again. I was hopeful that it would help like it did the last time.
Sunday: 6 miles in 53:28 (8:54 pace). I should have known when I woke up with a sore throat and congestion filled head that this would be tough. Since the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon was canceled, I planned to run 13.1 anyway and push myself as hard as I could. Even though I didn’t feel my best I was still optimistic and felt good mentally. Then I got started and everything fell apart. It was warm and humid (in October?), my stomach started cramping, I couldn’t breathe or hear out of my ears due to congestion, and the cherry on top: my knee was hurting. Again. 😦 I did 6 miles and called it a day, because I thought it was silly to push myself when I felt terrible. I was super disappointed after the last two weeks of long runs (17 and 20 miles) were so successful. But I guess that’s part of the roller coaster of running and training. I really need to figure out what’s going on with my knee. I discovered that it felt better if I stopped and stretched it after every 3/4 to 1 mile, so I may have to do that on race day if it doesn’t improve.
Week 15 Total:
- Run: 20 miles
- X-Train & Strength Training: a LOT of stretching and foam rolling every single day.
I felt pretty defeated after Sunday’s run. Here’s a peak into my thoughts the rest of the day: All I’m doing is making excuses- I woke up sick, my stomach was cramping, it’s too warm, my knee hurts, etc. When did I become so weak? Do I even have the ability to run this marathon? I know I made a lot of mistakes this training cycle… maybe I should have stuck to a 16 week plan rather than a 20, maybe I didn’t focus enough on sleep and nutrition, I should have been more careful and not fallen and hurt my knee (again), I should have actually strength trained like I said I was going to. Maybe it’s the weight I’ve gained since cutting back on breastfeeding. It’s like I’m there mentally but physically my body is not able to keep up. Why? It’s not overtraining- I have run less mileage this training cycle than most of my others. I don’t have the same body as I did before pregnancy. But it’s been over a year, I should have been able to make my comeback by now. Maybe I should be done with marathons.
I realized that I was doing so much negative talk to myself that I neglected to see the positive points of the journey I’ve been on. Yes, I have a different body now due to an amazing MIRACLE baby boy that I love so much. It’s not that my new body is worse, it’s just different. I am not training with the same body that I ran 7 marathons with before. I need to learn how to work WITH my new body and train with it.
At this point in my training with less than 5 weeks to go I just need to focus on the positive. I have had a lot of successful long runs, which to me are the most important (two 16 milers, one 17 miler, and one 20 miler- all awesome). Rather than constantly worry about things like my knee and my goal time, it’s time to focus on the things I CAN control. I can control my nutrition, sleep, stretching, icing, and foam rolling. I can control the choices I make with my running between now and the race, running smart and listening to my body rather than arbitrary numbers on my training plan. I can control my attitude, which I think is one of the most important. I have officially decided to throw any of my time goals out the window and focus on finishing my first marathon after baby, and enjoying myself in the Outer Banks. Kevin reminded me to think about my long-term running goals: being a runner for life, loving to run, and doing a marathon in all 50 states. Every training cycle is not going to be perfect. There will always be more races. I need to take some of the pressure off. I will finish the race, whether it takes me 4 hours or 5 hours or more. And I will be proud. These are my goals for week 16 and beyond.
Thought for the week… couldn’t be more fitting right now. It is so true about the roller coaster that is marathon training.
- Week 1
- Week 2
- Week 3
- Week 4
- Week 5
- Week 6
- Week 7
- Week 8
- Week 9
- Week 10
- Weeks 11 & 12
- Week 13
- Week 14