2023 Running Goals

Like most people, I spent the last few weeks of 2022 reflecting on the past year and gearing up the year to come. As I always do, I wrote down some of the goals I had for myself in the following areas- financial, career, relationships, personal, physical, home life, and ‘extras.’ I like to have my goals written down, somewhere that I can review them frequently (once a week). While I was going through this exercise, I really thought about what I wanted out of my running this year. While I enjoyed training for two marathons and running a total of 14 races in 2022, I knew I wanted to approach 2023 differently. I love to run, and I want to continue to love it and not feel a pressure to run to train for a race year-round. I also reflected on all the things that went really well, as well as the areas that I needed to improve in.

Final race of 2022- Turkey Trot

First, let’s take this long-term. One day I would really like to run an ultra-marathon. An ultra-marathon, for anyone that doesn’t know, is anything longer than the traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Ultra marathons can be 50ks (~31 miles); 50 miles; 100k (~61 miles); 100 miles. This is something on my personal bucket list- not something I’m looking to accomplish in 2023. Another longer-term goal is to BQ (Boston qualify). In the running world, getting a BQ time is the thing every runner wants. Some runners accomplish it when they run their first marathon, others it takes years to qualify. Each age bracket (ex. 35-39) has a different qualifying time and it increases by five minutes . For a 36 year old female, the qualifying time is 3:35:00. That means that I need to take 33 minutes off my time. I will get more specific about when I’d like to accomplish that goal after my next marathon (Chicago 2023) but for now, it’s just on the list.

As far as my 2023 goals, I wanted to commit to running two marathons in 2023 but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to take a break from that type of training. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that my big spring race that I would train for would be a half marathon in May (Long Island Half) and my big fall race would be the Chicago Marathon in October. As always, I plan to run a bunch of 5ks and other races in between, but definitely not 14.

In the beginning of 2022, I was running 2-3 times per week. Let me repeat that: I was training for a marathon on 2-3 days per week! I wasn’t sure that could even be done, but I didn’t have much of a choice. I didn’t have a treadmill at the time and I have young children that I can’t leave at home during a run. As I got closer to the first marathon, I added a 4th day to my running, but when I looked back at all the running I did leading up to Marathon #1, I averaged 3 days per week. I was also strength training during that cycle which I think helped significantly. Fast forward to the end of May 2022, and I moved and now had access to a treadmill. I started running 5-6 days per week and increased my mileage quite a bit. I stopped strength training because my knee was bothering me and my set-up wasn’t conducive to those workouts. So I ran more, strength trained less, and ended up running Marathon #2 five minutes faster (which was good) but feeling 10x worse during the race (not so good). Looking back on this I think I made a handful of mistakes throughout that training cycle: 1) I increased my mileage too much, too fast (10% of weekly mileage per week is the recommended and I was probably doing 20-25% more; 2) I stopped strength training; 3) I didn’t use gels or fuel properly before, during and after my runs, and 4) I was running each effort too fast.

I accomplished a lot of great things during both of my marathon training cycles but in order to take things to the next level, I decided to start working with an endurance coach. We’ve been working together for the past two months and I’ve been following her lead as far as what my training should look like during this “off season” or base-building phase. So far this has been a great learning experience for me. I know I’ve mentioned 80/20 running in the past– running 80% of your runs at easy pace, or no more than 75% of your max heart rate) but I wasn’t really following that during my last training cycle. I was probably doing more like 50/50. Working with my coach has forced me to get closer to 80/20 for sure. In addition, each Wednesday, I have a track workout on my schedule. This looks different each week and focuses on faster paces and reminds me of when I used to run track in high school so I simultaneously love it and hate it at the same time.

I’m also taking two full rest days every week. I would love to run every single day, but I know my body needs rest. I also know that as I continue to get stronger, adding a sixth day is possible, but not necessary for my goals. I’m also trying to recover in other ways– by laying on the couch on Saturday afternoons if that’s what my body needs or sleeping a little later on my rest days. I made a big mistake after my second marathon by not letting myself sleep in. That led to a month long cold that I couldn’t shake. I truly believe that if I had taken the week after that marathon to sleep until 6:30 rather than wake up at 4:30 or 5:00, it would’ve made a huge difference leading into the last couple months of the year. Instead, I was tired and burnt out for at least 4-5 weeks.

Next week, I begin a 15-week training cycle for the Long Island Half Marathon which takes place on May 7th. I enjoy this course a lot and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do. The training for this race is going to look different than the training for a marathon- instead of my goal pace being 8:50-9:00 (marathon) it’s going to be around 8:05-8:15. That may not seem like a huge difference but it’ll definitely be a challenge for me.

I’ll be back in a few weeks to share how things are going so far. Until then, ✌🏻and 🏃🏽‍♀️

Marathon #2 Recap and Facing Failure

It’s been about 10 days since I ran my second marathon. I have mixed feelings on the entire experience. After a week and a half of reflecting, I’ve made peace with the results. When I set out for this training cycle, my goal was to run the marathon in 3:59:59. I failed to reach that goal. And while I know my body can (and will) run under 4 hours, I just didn’t have it in me that day. I’d love to give you a great excuse– I only got two hours of sleep, or it was oppressively humid, or I forgot my sneakers- but none of that was the case. In addition, I failed to accomplish my second goal of running the full 26.2 miles without stopping to walk. Ooof! So far, not great! But here’s the good- I ran a marathon! And I PR’d by 5 minutes! And I walked less than the first time around!

I was trying to smile for the camera.

Here’s a little race breakdown:

  • Miles 1-2: Started out feeling OK, but around 1.5 miles in I knew it was going to be a tough race, and I remember thinking I wasn’t going to reach my goal. My hydration backpack with all my chews felt extremely heavy and my mindset wasn’t great.
  • Mile 3-8: Felt OK, but my glutes and back were starting to get tight.
  • Mile 9-12: I wanted to quit. My legs were tired, my glutes and back felt so uncomfortable and I even said to Nick, “I want to quit.” To which he responded, “no, you don’t” and then we kept running in silence because he was right.
  • Mile 12-20: Dread. My music wasn’t hitting right and it was a dreary day, a boring course, and Nick and I separated around mile 16.
  • Mile 20-26.2: By mile 20 it became obvious that unless I picked up the pace and kept running for the rest of the race, I wasn’t going to hit my goal. I told myself, I just need to do better than I did last time. I walked a little bit, then started running again. I felt awful and I almost started crying at multiple points.
  • Finish Line: My legs felt like jelly. I felt this race was a lot more challenging for me both mentally and physically than my first marathon.

I learned a lot during this training cycle and during the race. First, not all 26.2 miles are created equal. This course was pretty flat and so was the first one I ran in May; however, this one was boring and there wasn’t a lot of spectators because we were running along a parkway. I do better when there’s more to look at. Another big takeaway: running with a hydration backpack is not for me. I’ll do it during training runs but I need to find an alternative for race day. I know there’s water on the courses but I prefer to have something on me so I don’t have to slow down. Plus, it’s easier to drink from a straw or water bottle than it is through a cup when you’re running. I just end up getting it all over myself. Also, I want to get away from using the blok chews as my fuel source. My plan going into the race was to eat a package at miles 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25. I got through mile 15 and then I couldn’t bring myself to eat again. I think that worked to my detriment but I felt full and didn’t want to chew. I want to find a gel because there’s no chewing involved and they’re lighter to carry. Lastly, I need to work on my core strength. During this cycle, I didn’t make it a point to keep a consistent strength training routine, including core work. I think this hurt me, as well, so I want to make sure that I keep that consistent during the next cycle.

Before I wrap this up with what’s next for my running, I want to address the fact that I think it’s important to own our failures. I know that me setting a goal for myself to run a marathon in under 4 hours is something I put on myself and it doesn’t matter to the rest of the world. But I think it’s important to set goals for yourself. It’s a healthy part of being human to try to improve at things and be a little better, smarter, or in this case, faster than I was yesterday. However, sometimes when you set goals, you fail to achieve them. And that’s OK. To me, failing is a sign that I tried to do something that was difficult. It wasn’t something that I knew I could easily do. That wouldn’t be a goal, that would just be any regular day. I’m really proud of myself for committing to run another marathon, completing the marathon and doing it 5 minutes faster than I ran my first one. The goal of running it in under 4 hours without stopping isn’t going anywhere and the good news is that I’m on no timeline to get it done. (But you can rest assured, I WILL get it done).

Next up? I plan to run the Long Island Marathon again in May 2023. They haven’t announced the date but I think it’s going to be the first Sunday in May. I also put my name into the lottery for the 2023 Chicago Marathon which is in October of next year. I am hoping that both Nick and I get into the race and we can run it together. Lastly, I am working with a running coach beginning next week. I’m excited to work with someone that can hold me accountable to running certain paces and challenge me to do track workouts– something I’ve done maybe a handful of time since running track in high school. I’m excited for this new chapter in my running career and will be sure to share updates along the way.

Until next time, ✌🏻🏃🏽‍♀️❤️

Marathon #2 is less than a week away…

On Sunday, October 23rd I’ll be running my second marathon. I’m excited, but also super duper nervous. I guess that’s pretty normal considering I’ve spent the better part of of 17 weeks planning and training for one day.

When I ran my first marathon in May my main goal was to finish the race. I remember thinking at mile 20 that I knew I could finish– I knew I had another 10k in me. Icing on the cake was that I ran in it 4 hours 13 minutes. I went into this training cycle with a different game plan. Now know I can finish a marathon. And I know that I can run it in 4 hours and 13 minutes but this time I’m looking to run it under 4 hours. Having a goal in your head is a lot less scary than announcing it for everyone to hear. And I’ve been saying it since I started this training cycle. I want to run this race in 3:59:59 or UNDER.

Getting all my race gear ready.
Favorite sports bra ☑️ Favorite leggings ☑️ Energy chews ☑️ hydration pack ☑️

My hope for this training cycle was to increase the amount of days I ran from 3ish to a solid 5, which I did. I also wanted to gauge my recovery from long runs and I have to say that I think that improved significantly from marathon training cycle #1 to #2. Last time around 18 miles would’ve put me out for the entire day, now I just need an hour or two to recover (shower, eat, lay down) and then I’m good as new. I also ran slower this time around. Some of that was intentional.. some of it was not. Because I was running more days and more miles there were times I felt tired and running 9:30 min/miles felt tough. Other days it felt easy. I also ran with my hydration backpack any time I ran 8 miles or more. I did this to practice running with it because I intend on running with it at during the actual marathon. It’s more comfortable than holding chews and my phone in my pockets.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get in as many long runs as I would’ve liked. My training plan called for two 20-mile runs but I was only able to squeeze in one. I also didn’t do as much strength training as I did during my previous training cycle. It wasn’t a perfect training cycle by any means.

With all that being said, I’m feeling pretty good about the progress I made from earlier this year:

  • I increased from 3 to 5 days of running;
  • I increased my totally weekly mileage;
  • I felt my recovery time go down;
  • I started running with a Garmin watch;
  • I got more comfortable running with my hydration pack;
  • I dove deep into running podcasts and following social media accounts of people that motivate me;
  • I’ve made some headway with my body image and relationship with food (more on that in another post);

While there’s still a lot that I want to tweak in my next training cycle, I’d say that I accomplished a lot in the last 17 weeks. And now it’s time to focus on RACE DAY!

So from now until the Sunday I plan to: eat strictly gluten free (because I have celiac’s, not because it’s the cool thing to do); drink Gatorade and carb load Thursday-Saturday, but not to the point of feeling full/bloated; make sure I have ripe bananas; visualize myself at the start line, at mile 5, and 15 and 20 and 25 and crossing the finish line at 3:59:59 (or under). And most importantly, trust my training.

Until next time…

Marathon Training Update

Ten weeks of training down, seven to go until marathon number two!

Let me start by sharing some of the challenges I’ve been facing with this training cycle:

  1. The heat and humidity: I prefer the spring/summer over winter any day of the week; however, running in the heat and humidity is not ideal. My Garmin watch tracks my heart rate zones- zone 1 basically being a walk at the park (literally) and zone 5 being high intensity. I’ve noticed that my outdoor runs get me into zone 4 a lot. My indoor runs, with sometimes faster pacing are actually in zone 3. Even though I do most of my runs early (like 6 AM early), it’s still warm enough and humid enough to affect the runs.
  2. The chafing: Things might be going over the TMI line here, but something tells me you’re going to keep reading. I am a sweater– I sweat. A lot. More than the average female in general, but especially when I work out. I know, I know, I’m painting a very beautiful picture of myself right now, but it’s the truth so deal with it. And with lots of heat and humidity, comes a lot of sweating and ultimately a lot of chafing. You know “thigh gap”? Yeah, I’m not familiar with her either, therefore I chafe and because I’m me, not just in the typical places- like my whole body. There’s been runs that when I’m finished, I am in more pain from the chafing than I am from the miles on my legs. And yes, I’ve learned to lather my entire body with vaseline before I go running, but once in a while I forget, and it stings and hurts really bad.
  3. It’s summer! And that means more events, more long weekends away, more stuff that requires me to rearrange my running schedule. When I trained for the marathon in January, February, March and April, I had almost nothing going on during those months, so weekends were pretty open to getting my runs in. This time around… not so much. I spent 4 days in NJ/upstate NY in August, and I have a bachelorette party on the weekend where I’m supposed to do one of the two 20-mile runs on my schedule. My kids are starting all their fall activities this week and some of those things fall on Saturday mornings. The Type A in me is freaking out because I can’t do the training plan exactly as it is laid out, but I’ll make it work one way or another.

As for things that are working quite well this time:

  1. My confidence in growing! Instead of getting a little anxious and nervous the night before my long run, I’m actually kind of excited. Every time I clock a long run (which I define as anything over 15 miles), I feel like a badass. I don’t dread it as much, my body recovers a lot quicker, and I feel pretty amazing overall.
  2. Running 5 days/week > 3-4 days/week. The ability to run 5 days/week has been game changing for me, as well. It allows me to get my mileage up without having to do 2 excruciatingly long runs over the weekend. I can spread out the mileage and not kill my legs. Plus, I’m able to build up my total mileage over time. I just came off the largest mileage week of the program- 44 miles, but I am going to up that mileage the next time around. My goal is to get to 40-60 miles/week comfortably the next time I train for a marathon.
  3. My gear game is on point. Thanks to Nick, I have all the gear I need and it’s all working really well- he got me a new backpack that not only holds water, but has tons of pockets which are great for the rest of my stuff- Blok Chews, phone, keys, GoGuarded handheld with pepper spray, etc. Plus, my RoadID bracelet. Basically, I look like a professional out there. (And don’t mess with me, because you will get sprayed in the face).
  4. I’m learning everything I can. I’m absorbing everything I can about running, training for marathons, types of training plans, etc. I’ve become a student of the sport. Anything I can read, listen to, or accounts I can follow, I’m in. I’m learning about running seasons, taking time off to recover, how to introduce speed training into my plan. You name it, I’m here for it. And spoiler alert: my training won’t stop at marathons… I see an ultramarathon in my future.

Welp, that’s all I’ve got today. I’ll probably do another check in as I begin my tapering in the beginning of October. That part of training is always tough. There’s a part of me that wants to keep up with the long runs because I’m afriad I’ll lose it as quickly as I’ve gained it, but I also know that my body needs to rest and save up for race day.

Until next time…

What I’m Listening To (Podcast Edition)

When I’m not doing the ol’ mom thing, or working, or cleaning up the house, or doing laundry or running, you can find me trying to learn and grow and become a better version of myself than I was yesterday. I do a lot of reading and listening to podcasts. I found that utilizing my treadmill running time as my podcast listening time works well.

So today I wanted to share what I’m listening to lately. This list is always changing but these 3 podcasts are the ones that I’ve been drawn to the last few months.

  1. The Meaningful Mess Podcast – This podcast is hosted by Katie Rollins. Katie has been in the mindset coaching space, as well as network marketing, for many years. But before you roll your eyes, please know this: she does not at all mention her network marketing business on her podcast episodes. Her podcast is meant to inspire people to let go of their self-limiting beliefs and go after what they want so they can live their best life. She gives you tactical advice on how to go from where you are today to where you want to be. She’s thoughtful, she’s funny, and she’s real. Her episodes are anywhere from 10-40 minutes and she puts out new content each week. I’ve been drawn to Katie over the years for many reasons– she makes me laugh and she embraces what she calls her “messiness.” As someone that struggles with perfectionism, I aspire to be someone that is perfectly OK with all the messiness that is life. Also, check out her IG account because she makes me laugh – @katierollins.insta
  2. The Rachel Hollis Podcast– This podcast has been around for years. I only started listening to it the last couple- sometimes her content is very interesting and relevant to me, other times it’s not. Like a lot of things, I’ll go through phases of listening to every episode and then not listening for months. One of the things I like about podcasts are that they are typically very timely. Reading a book is great, but the research and thoughts and ideas of the author may be vastly different a year and a half later. With podcasts, you get to see their growth and ideologies change in real time. Rachel is a great example of someone that has actively discussed how she’s changed from 10 years ago, to 5 to 2 or last month. I am drawn to her for many reasons-she’s a mom; she’s a single mom; she’s a working mom; she has a rock solid morning routine; and she’s always learning and growing. She has great guests on her shows– a lot of times it’s an author that recently came out with a new book- usually about personal growth, business or health. I end up buying a lot of the books she recommends.
  3. The Marathon Running Podcast– You knew I wasn’t going to get through a list of podcasts without mentioning that I listen to one about running, right? A few months ago I was searching “running” in my Spotify. This was one of the first podcasts that came up. It’s hosted by Letty and Ryan. Letty is the main host and she does most of the interview with their guests. The first episode I listened to was “Marathon Training Plans and Which One is Best for You.” This was very timely because I had just started my training cycle for my second marathon and was using one of the training plans they were discussing (Hal Higdon). Over the last couple of months I’ve been tuning into their episodes if I’m interested in the topic. I don’t listen to every single one but I use it when I need some indirect coaching in an area of running.

Some other podcasts I dabble in are Food Psych Podcast (Christy Harrison), Marathon Training Academy (Angie & Trevor), Impact Theory (Tom Bilyeu), Kwik Brain (Jim Kwik).

There are podcasts out there for everyone. I highly recommend utilizing time like treadmill running, long commutes, or a walk around the neighborhood as time to dive into a topic you’re interested in through a podcast. Also, please feel to share your favorites as I’m always looking to add more to my rotation.


2nd Marathon Training Cycle…

Michael Murphy Half Marathon Around the Lake (June 25, 2022 Ronkonkoma, NY).
The longest run I did since the marathon on
May 1st.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for my second marathon. Nick and I will be running the Suffolk County Marathon on Sunday, October 23rd. I’m excited and nervous but not as much as the first time. Today I start week 7 of my seventeen week training cycle. This time around I’m following a plan by Hal Higdon. Hal has a number of different plans and I decided to go with the Intermediate 1 plan. I don’t consider myself a novice runner, although I may be considered novice as far as marathon training goes. But after looking at the training plan, I thought I could do the Intermediate 1 plan no problem.

Started at Week 2 and switched weeks 6 and 7 (more on that in another post)

I learned a lot during my first training cycle so I’m doing some things different this time around:

1. As mentioned above, I’m following a plan from a marathon runner, trainer, and writer. While what I did the first time was good enough to give me a 4:13:16 finish, I wanted to follow a tried and true plan to see how different it would be.

2. I will be running 5 days a week rather than 3-4 days. Now that I have access to a treadmill in my home, I can get more running in during the week.

3. I bought a second pair of sneakers- one that I’ll use for my indoor training on the treadmill and one that I’ll use for my outdoor training. That way, I don’t kill one pair of sneakers and fear they won’t hold up until the big day.

4. I’m trying for 80/20. My goal for this race is 3:59:59, which is 9:09 mile pace. That’s 31 seconds faster than my first marathon. To do that I’m attempting to run 80% of my runs at 30-90 seconds SLOWER than my marathon pace and only one run at race pace. This is a challenge for me. I like to do interval runs and sometimes it’s difficult to run slow. Trust me on that because I’m definitely struggling with this method. My body naturally falls into a 8:45-9 min pace when I run outside. Lately, because of the heat and humidity I’ve been going slower but it’s been harder than it usually feels.

5. I bought a Garmin watch! I hadn’t planned to switch from my Apple Watch to Garmin, but my Apple Watch broke a couple of days into June. I did some research, asked other runners for their opinions and it became super clear- get a Garmin! So I did. And I haven’t looked back. I love how the Garmin shows you 5 different heart rate zones. My goal is to stay in zones 2 and 3 for most of my runs. Zone 4 is for outdoor, long runs and of course, intervals. Zone 5 is where I hang during shorter races. I don’t watch my heart rate while I’m running but it’s good data to look at after the run is over.

A few other differences- I won’t be documenting every week of my training. More than likely I’ll be sharing every few weeks. I’m also trying some new things as far as my nutrition is concerned and will share more of that as I dig further into it.

Things I’m doing the same as last cycle- Using cliffs block chews as my energy of choice during long runs. I’m also running in my favorite brand of running sneakers- ASICS. And lastly, most of my long runs I’ll have my PIC by my side, which always makes the long runs slightly less excruciating.

Lastly, this blog will go back to a little bit of everything since running and training, while a big part of my life, is not the only thing I’m passionate about. Stay tuned for more of the good stuff including what I’m listening to, what I’m reading, what I’m doing this summer and more.

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment # 14

My very first marathon is in the books! It took me a whole week to get on here and share this because life has gotten a little hectic. Unfortunately, all the craziness has kinda sorta put a damper on this big achievement but I owe it to myself, and the handful of you that are invested in my journey, to share how it all went down.

Before pic.

The day started a little before 5 am. Nick and I woke up and quickly got ourselves ready and out the door by 5:25. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to get a decent parking spot, go to the bathroom and find our way to the starting line.

We got there with enough time to hop on line for the bathrooms. Ahhh, the joy of the pre-run nervous shits. I think this is a thing. At least it is for me. Lol. Meanwhile, Nick had to take off his compression leggings and turn them right side in. We were off to a good start. 🤪

After we were all situated we made our way to the start line. I had to say goodbye to my sweatshirt at this time because there was no way I was going to run with it on. (RIP Island Vibes camo sweatshirt). At 7:30 on the dot, we were off!

At the start line

We planned to run together for as long as we could. We started off a little faster than our usual pace- just under 9 minute mile pace and continued to run between 8:50-9:15 min miles for the first 16 miles. Miles 17 and 18, we started to slow down. And we were separated between miles 19-20.

At mile 20, I had the thought “I can do this. I’m going to do this.” I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. But I knew I could push out another 6.2 miles. Between miles 20-24 I walked and ran on and off. I tried to run for 2 minutes, walk for 1. I was in pain but nothing specific, it was more just being tired and thirsty AF. The water and Gatorade at the water stops was not cutting it. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a bottle of water.

At 24.2 miles I started to jog and said to myself I can push through and finish this race running the rest of the way. And I did! I finished the race in 4:13:16. It was a 9:40/ mile pace and it was incredible to not only crush my goal of finishing the race but also the goal of finishing in under 4:30:00 AND under 10/mile pace. At the risk of sounding like a weenie, I freaking crushed it!!!

After pic

Running a marathon isn’t easy. It took a whole lot of dedication- there was a lot of time and energy put into planning my training. I learned a lot about myself and about what works for me and what doesn’t. I was extremely fortunate to have such an amazing support system to help make this happen. And I can’t wait to do it again in the future.

Until then, 🏃🏽‍♀️💨✌🏻

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #13

Marathon Day is 18 days away! Coursing through my body is a mixture of excited and nervous energy anytime I think about it.

Last Friday, Nick and I were talking about our plan for our long run on Saturday. I wanted to get a 21 mile run in. I was feeling nervous about it and asked him if he was nervous too and he said no. I was shocked that he didn’t feel nervous– maybe because he’s already run a marathon so 21 miles didn’t seem too bad. Every Friday is a little torturous for me because I know my long run is coming up. I’m always anxious about attempting to do something I’ve never done before. I think that’s pretty common to feel that way. But I try to focus on the feeling of accomplishment rather than the voice in my head that says you can’t run 21 miles. And then once it’s done, I feel so damn good about myself. And the next time I set out to run 21 miles it’s waaaaay less daunting because I know I’ve done it already!

Anyway, last week I rounded out the week with 40 miles which is the most miles I’ve ever run in a week! Wednesday- 7.2; Friday- 4.6; Saturday- 21 and Sunday- 7.2. I felt good on most of the runs; however, the 21 miler was rough. Every part of my body was hurting that day for some reason. I’m not sure if it’s just all the miles I’m putting in, the water backpack which adds weight and pressure to my back, or if my running sneakers are on their last legs. It was a mind over matter run. I wanted to run 21 miles and there was no way I wasn’t going to do it. Our mile splits were pretty good. And by pretty good, I mean we were consistently running 9:10-9:30 for most of the miles. And at mile 17, we busted out a mile in 8:38 (probably because we were on a track). We finished in 3 hours and 17 minutes. And you know what that means? That means that if I run exactly the same way on race day I’ll have 73 minutes to run the last 5.2 miles… which would be about 14 min/miles. Basically, what I’m saying is that I think I’ll be able to reach my goal of completing the marathon in 4 hours and 30 minutes!

21 mile run with splits

This week I’m starting to taper my miles off a bit. I plan to run about 32 miles this week with my long run being 15 miles. I need to let my body rest and recover with lots of foam rolling and stretching.

Until next week… 🏃🏽‍♀️💨 ✌🏻

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #12

The whole year of 2022 has been the busiest I’ve been in my entire life– between my kids, work, personal goals, and all the many things out of my control, I feel like I’m drowning at times. And as much as I’m enjoying training for a marathon, I’m looking forward to the race being over because it’ll be one thing knocked off my priority list for now. I didn’t post an update after Week 12, so today’s post will cover Week 12 and Week 13 runs. Here’s what’s been happening in my running world…

Week 12 was great! I clocked the most miles I’ve ever run in a week- 37.9 with four runs and I felt really good. My runs looked liked this the week of March 21st:

Wednesday– 8.2 miles; Friday– 4 miles; Saturday– 19.2 miles and Sunday– 6.5 miles = 37.9 miles

Extremely proud of this weekend of training- 3 hours of running on Saturday, followed by 1 hour of running on Sunday. Never imagined I’d be doing that… but I did.

Week 13 was good, as well. However, I decided, after a 137.7 miles in March, to back off the total amount of miles for the week of March 28th, which looked like this:

Wednesday– 8.4 miles; Friday– 4.1 miles; Saturday 13.1 miles and Sunday– 7.1 miles = 32.7 miles

I’m using my non-running days to do a lot of stretching and foam rolling. All together, it’s about 90 minutes for the week. And that doesn’t include my stretching before/after my runs. I think taking the time to really focus on releasing my tight muscles is making a difference so I’m sticking with it. I’m also getting in some ab work and glute activation work if I’m up for it. I would like to get back into more traditional strength training but I am hesitant with my shoulder still not being right. I’m going to reevaluate everything after the marathon and see where I’m at.

The next few weeks are a crucial part of my training. I have 4 more Saturdays until race day. My plan for long runs looks like this:

April 9th- 21 miles; April 16th- 15 miles; April 23rd- 10 miles; April 30th- 2 miles (easy jog the day before the race)

The rest of my runs will likely be the same length that they are now- give or take a mile or so. I’ve been doing two runs a week outside and two runs inside on the treadmill. As it gets nicer, I’ll do all my Sunday runs outside unless it’s raining. I enjoy the treadmill runs for the opportunity to push my speed a bit but it gets a bit boring after 60 minutes.

That’s all I have for this week’s installment. Nothing too exciting going on. Stay tuned for next week’s update!

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment # 12

Eleven weeks down, six more to go! It’s so hard to believe that the marathon is less than six weeks away. It’ll be game day before I know it!

This past week was my best training week yet. I focused on stretching, foam rolling and ab work on my non-running days- Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were my run days. I think that worked well for me, although I do miss working with weights. Maybe I’ll add it back in at some point, but for right now I want to stay consistent with this routine so I can see how my body responds to it.

Wednesday’s run was a 7.1 mile run on the treadmill. I enjoyed this run and worked through some bursts of speed. I use the word speed loosely, because it’s really just faster than my expected marathon pace. Friday was a short 3.6 mile run. I did this run at the park around the corner and did some hill repeats at the end.

Saturday, though, was the best run of the week. I had a goal of 16 miles. Up until Saturday my longest run was 15.2 miles and I wanted to get past the 16-mile threshold. I was excited because Nick said he’d run it with me. My alarm went off at 5:45 AM and I’m pretty sure Nick cursed under his breath for making him get up so early, but we both got ourselves up and ready to run. We set out at 6:35 AM and we ran, and talked, and talked, and ran. I was overdressed for the occasion- it was 50 degrees and I was wearing a tank top, a long sleeved shirt and my light vest. I used the water backpack and we started out super slow. I was a bit uncomfortable with the backpack and my lower back was bothering me but having Nick with me kept my mind off of the discomfort most of the time. At the start of mile nine we ended up at my old high school track. When we got there I took of backpack and instantly felt lighter and less warm. It was a marvelous feeling. We ran two miles at the track before Nick grabbed the backpack and we headed back. As we got to mile 15 I looked at him and said, “I feel like we need to do 17.” And we did it! Together. (-:

One of the things I love most about running is that it’s something I can do alone. But there’s some comfort in knowing that there’s someone out there as crazy as I am that will get up at 5:45 AM on a Saturday morning to run for 2 hours and 39 minutes with me. Nick and I have a lot of common interests, but being able to run together has been super special. We’ve created such a special connection through running. We push each other, support each other, and believe in each other… and we understand all the aches, pains and chafing that comes with being a runner. As we were running he said to me, “you should be so proud of yourself. You have a full-time job, you’re a single mom, you can come up with every excuse not to do this, but you make time for it.” It was super sweet. ❤

Just over here showing off my headband. 💁🏻‍♀️

I followed up my personal record breaking 17-mile run with an 8.1 mile run on Sunday. I figured I’d round out the weekend with 25 miles so I could say I ran 35+ miles for the week. It was a nice morning for a run and my legs were feeling good so I went for it. I’m still amazed at how much our bodies are capable of doing. I’ve heard it so many times but I don’t know if I ever believed it until I started running these super long distances- our minds give up way before our bodies do. Meaning, our minds tell us we can’t do something and then we stop. We have to be mentally strong enough to fight our mind and say “you’re wrong, I can do this.” It’s not always easy but with every additional mile I run, I feel that voice getting weaker and weaker.

This week it’s the same as last- stretching, foam rolling and ab work on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Runs will take place on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday will be a 19 mile attempt. Wish us luck! See you next week! ✌🏻