I’m a marathoner! If you saw my Instagram post, you know that the race wasn’t as I expected and that I struggled just to finish. But finish I did and, as impossible as it sounds, it was still overall a good experience and I’m proud of myself. Check back next Sunday for the full recap!
This past week was all about staying calm and not freaking out. Here’s how the week went down.
Week at a Glance
- Training mode: Training for small, local, rails-to-trails Indiana Veteran’s Marathon near Pittsburgh on November 6 using a version of the Hanson’s Marathon Method beginner plan customized by a Hanson’s coach
- Days running: 5
- Miles this week: 38.4
- Miles this training cycle: 596.28 (The total miles in my last training stats post was from Final Surge and was wrong. I realized there was a duplicate run. This is the correct total.)
- Miles in October: 175.5
- Miles this month: 35.4
- Miles this year: 1314.72
Easy run: 3 miles
Short and easy run in cool weather on fresh legs. Felt great.
Easy run with fartleks: 4 miles
Another easy run, this with a few fartleks at marathon pace thrown in. Still feeling good. Also started carb-loading with lots of bagels and vegan cream cheese–this would be a mistake later on.
Recovery run: 3 miles
It was very warm and a little rainy, but still felt good.
I had a final chat with Coach Melissa. She gave me advice and motivation and checked that I had a plan for the day before and race morning. I took notes, and the first thing I wrote down is, “It’s going to be hard.” Melissa has made sure I know that it’s going to be hard and said that a lot of people make the mistake of thinking it’s going to be easy and aren’t prepared when it does get hard. She’s also made sure I know that I’ve had a great training cycle and I can definitely handle the challenge. She told me to think of mile 20 as the second start line. That’s when she wanted me to get into race mode and get ready to push hard, and she said that’s also when it’s going to feel really hard. Our conversation left me feeling very positive but also very determined to fight for the race I want to have. Her final advice was to not think about the race until Sunday. Ha! Easier said than done!
Rest day! And hello, nerves! My stomach was very upset all day. It hurt whenever I ate anything, so I had little appetite. I’m not sure whether it was from all the vegan cream cheese (I try not to eat a lot of fake meats and cheeses) or was a stomach bug. Either way, it left me rattled.
I’d been avoiding talking to Jamie to save all our stories for race day. But I wanted to go over some logistics so went to see her at work.
Before going to see her, I calculated what I thought were the best and worst case scenarios of how long it would take me to get to the halfway point. I wrote that on a sticky note: 2:32-2:37. And just to make sure there was no confusion, I wrote the corresponding times for her to meet me underneath: 11:32-11:37. You know, as if she can’t do basic math.
When she saw me, she said, “I figured I’d just be there at 11:30.”
“Do you not want this sticky note then?” I asked.
She looked at it and laughed. “If it will make you feel better, I’ll keep it!”
Later that night, I started freaking out a little about some type of accident happening over the weekend and Jamie not being there at the halfway point. I asked Dave if he’d bring running shoes and run the last few miles with me just in case. A cross country star, Dave ran a few times two summers ago but then not really since high school 20-something years ago. But he laughingly agreed.
That night we watched The Neighbors 2. I laughed pretty much through the whole thing, so it was great to keep my mind off the race.
Shakeout run: 2 miles
Very short, very easy run to shake out the legs before race day!
My stomach was feeling better but not great. I was scared to eat much and very cautious about what I ate.
The race-day forecast had been going up a few degrees all week, and it finally looked like it would be overcast and 48-52 during the first half and then partly sunny going up to 57 during the second half. I debated what to wear and tried on several outfits. I finally decided to wear my full-length Lulu Speed Tights because they’re tried-and-true for long distances, and I need all the pockets. I figured that even if it was sunny, the trail was 75% shady so I should be fine. (Spoiler alert–this was a huge mistake.)
So I laid out my outfit, packed my bag, and got everything ready for race day. I went to bed with my stomach in knots–is there anything quite like going to bed the night before a big race? I luckily got a good night’s sleep and woke up only an hour before my alarm.
Indiana Veteran’s Marathon: 26.4 miles
What an experience! So much went wrong, and I was far off my time goal, but I felt very proud that I finished.