As I sit here and type this I am anxiously waiting a call from my doctor to tell me if I have a stress fracture in my right foot and if I have to stop running. Marci and I have spent the last six weeks training for our second marathon of the year, the LA Marathon, and it has been brutal. So brutal that I may have a stress fracture in my foot. How did we get here, you may ask. Well, it takes two crazy ladies and their inability to say no to each other when it comes to running races.
Freezing temperatures, running 5 miles in a rain poncho, realizing a hot tub is not hot enough, and a panic zone pretty much sums up the 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon. Marci and I prepared for this marathon as best we could and I really believe we did the best we could, but the elements were not on our side for this race. While I was able to improve my time from last year's marathon it still was not nearly close to my goal and I had to learn that just finishing when times got tough had to be good enough for me this year.
Brrrrrrrrrrr. Hello, Winter! Most of my runs these days begin in mid 30 degree weather. A bit of a change from sweating it out during the summer months! I know the seasons are changing during marathon training when I need to completely adjust what I wear. There's nothing worse than being so cold on a run your body can barely move. It took some time to figure out what would be the best without overheating and without freezing, but I think I have my winter run wardrobe down.
Its that time again! Registration opened today to sign up for the WDW Marathon in 2017. All races are available to sign up including the Dopey Challenge (running all the races: 5k, 10k, Half, and Full Marathon - INSANE people do that), the Goofy Challenge (running the Half and Full Marathon), the Full, the Half, a 10k, and 5k. And since today is registration day I wanted to share my "wise" words of advice from sign up to actually running the marathon (because running one marathon makes me an expert - insert eye roll here). I CAN share with you what I learned and what I'll be doing the same and differently this time around.
Marathon training is hard. Crazy hard. Even though I knew what I was getting into since I had already done this last year, I didn't expect to go through this lack of motivation again. It happened last season, more so because of injuries, but I thought I'd be able to get through training easier since I knew what to expect. But its still so crazy hard. There are times when I want to end a long run early and just go home. There are times (ok, every morning) when I just want to stay in my warm and cozy bed. There are times when I want a lazy Saturday morning rather than getting up with the sun and getting out into the cold. From being sick to being injured there are many times when I just want to throw in the towel and quit, but training for a marathon is like breaking through the wall in the marathon - it seems impossible, but once we can psychologically get through it we can cross that finish line and call ourselves marathoners.
Once again I'll be running the WDW Marathon for Team Fox and raising funds for Parkinson's Research. Team Fox is an amazing foundation that has helped find many new ways to treat Parkinson's patients and give them a better quality of life. Read on for more information or click here to reach Marci and my page for fundraising. Every penny counts and its so greatly appreciated!
Last week I wrote about how I'm trying to stay injury free during my marathon training this fall. Well, a few days later I got whomped with an ear and sinus infection and the flu. (Two weeks AFTER I got a flu shot - wah, wah.) I've spent the past eight days in bed in misery just hoping the next day would be better. Thankfully, I feel like I'm finally out of the woods and on the road to recovery. I've missed a solid week of training, and most unfortunately, I feel way too wiped to head down to LA in one week to run the Los Angeles Rock n Roll Half Marathon with Marci. So now I have to find a way to get back on my feet and ramp myself back into long runs and early mornings. I have two mindsets on hand: 1) This sucks! I have to start all over! And 2) This is awesome! I get to start all over! Obviously I'm going to channel the latter state of mind, but I know "This sucks!" is going to be breathing down my neck.
When training for the WDW Marathon last fall I ramped up quickly and had three months of great running until December rolled around and my body gave out. I went from hip problems, to calf problems, to a knee problem that would only let me log about 10 miles before it started shooting in pain. Thus, my only two long runs topped out at 16 and 17 miles and made running the marathon incredibly hard. My goal this time around is to stay injury free so I can finish all of my runs and actually run the marathon properly trained. So here's how I hope to do it.
I had to change my schedule today and instead of running before work in the morning I'm having to run this week during my lunch break. Normally, that's fine. Earlier in the year I was happy to run at lunch, it gave me a break from staring at a computer all day, I got to be outside for a while, and it really gave me a boost for the rest of the day. However, this week we've had a heat surge in the San Francisco Bay area and I found myself running in 92 degree heat. And holy hell I thought I was going to die while running.
September 18th is Marci's birthday and in honor of her day I wanted to write up a post about how great it is to have a running partner. Marci and I have been running together for about five years now and even though don't live in the same city any more, we have still stuck together and are virtual partners meeting up for the occasional race and training session. Having a running partner has HUGELY helped me stay motivated to keep running. There's something about having that person show up on your doorstep at 6:30am that really gets you out of bed in the morning. I can't even begin to talk about all the runs we've been on when I'm feeling sluggish and tired and Marci's been there to cheer me on and tell me that I'm doing great. So, in celebration of Marci's birthday, here are my top 5 reasons to have a running partner! Happy Birthday, Marci!
Most, if not all, runners have an extreme hatred for the treadmill. It's boring. The pace markers can be way off. Did I mention it's boring? Going outside into fresh air, moving, and running from point A to point B and back is so much more fun and interesting than pounding mile after mile on a revolving belt. I get it. I was there. But I've found a new respect for the treadmill. It was there during some rough running months when I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere in my training and when I felt like I was getting slower, inconsistent, and fatigued. Here's how the treadmill saved me from quitting running.
The impossible is achievable if you let go of negativity and believe that you can accomplish anything. Leading up to the marathon I was very unsure that I would be able to finish it. My knee was stopping me from completing almost all of my long runs and I had begun to give up on myself, but even as I did a part of me still believed I could do it. I had trained properly up until the last month, I kept going out for all of my training runs even when I had to end them early, and I wouldn't give up on myself. Well, guess what - I DID IT!
12 days to the marathon. I remember when it was 12 weeks to the marathon! These past four months have been a rollercoaster, life has presented ups and downs after ups and downs, and it has drastically changed since September. I'm not sure if I would have gotten through all of it without the constant training schedule that was successful up until a month ago. The early mornings, the early nights, and the miles of running in between have had me run further than I ever have before, but I still feel that I've come up short in preparing for this long run ahead.
Heartache comes in many forms. Nine months ago Amy and I signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon and we had no idea what would be in store for us. While the year started off great, it slowly began to crumble, and we've been facing heartache after heartache during our entire training. But its been the running that has kept us together.
I've now entered uncharted territory in the marathon training plan. I've never run more than 13.1 miles. This weekend was our 14 mile run, and I had been anxious of it all week long. I felt bored with running, bored with my playlists, bored with my routes, and just sick of running. But I knew I had to get over this hurdle to keep going. And as much as I wanted to clear this hurdle, I didn't.
Success! We did it! Marci and I finished our fourth half marathon together this past weekend. We both felt completely different about running this half than any of our other half marathons. We weren't nervous, we didn't feel that it was going to be a huge feat (it was), and we didn't obsess about the run the day before. Maybe its because we're in the thick of marathon training, but this run felt much more like a training day than an actual timed event. That being said, it kicked our butts in the best possible way, and was an awesome race!
Marci and I are officially eight weeks out from running the WDW Marathon. This coming weekend we're running a half marathon in Malibu as part of our training plan. This is usually the point in training when I know I'm almost done - I know I just need to taper through this week, relax, and get ready for my one long run on Sunday. And then be done! Be done with the 5:30am wake up calls, be done with the long Saturday runs, be done with being super careful about what I eat, and time to just relax and give myself a break. However, training for the WDW Marathon means this is only the halfway point.
I've had a lot of bad runs. A lot. There were the physical problems: side stitches, shin splints, painful blisters, hip pain; and then the mental problems: feeling exhausted mentally, thinking I couldn't finishing, feeling my legs get heavier and heavier when I think about how much further I have to go, thinking about work stresses and life stresses. I know that when I have mental pains I have a much harder time running than when I have physical pains. But I've learned to cope with both the physical and mental problems, not perfectly, but enough that I can get through these bad runs and come out with something positive afterward, even if it takes a few days of retrospective thinking to appreciate what I just went through.
Its funny how I still have a hard time calling myself a runner. I've been running for the past four years and nine months now, but I still have a very difficult time adding myself to the list of long time runners, eight minute milers, and multi-marathon finishers. However, in the past four plus years I've run a lot and as I start to ramp up the marathon training my experience has taught me to stay calm and relaxed in moments when I'm sure I would freak out in the past.