Marathon Reflection Monday

Well, I have officially run my longest run ever!  Even though I will be saying this almost every week from now until mid-August, jumping over the half marathon distance hurdle made the whole full marathon thing seem a lot more real.

Saturday, I did a little happy dance as I hit 13.2, and I finished my 14 mile long run strong with my fastest split at the end! I was truly amazed at how fast the time went by, and how little it sucked.  Dare I say that I actually enjoyed it (helped that it was overcast and about 20 degrees cooler than last weekend).

I also ran all of my mile splits within my goal pace (I know, I know, stop with the long run pace splits already!), so I am really starting to trust the process.

I know everyone has been telling me from the beginning that things will start falling into place,  but I’m not even having to lie through my teeth this week and say that I understand, because I am actually starting to get it. 

I stumbled upon some articles about why we do long runs and what is happening in your body when you head out for longer distances.  You build new mitochondria and increase capillary density (both very good for marathon runners).  Your body is literally transforming into an endurance athlete during long runs  (Sorry, I know I’m late to the marathon research party).  I’m not running fast 5-K’s, and that is ok.  That isn’t the ultimate goal right now.  The ultimate goal is to dominate my marathon in 13 weeks, and I can suddenly feel that my body is up for the challenge.

It was a bit hard to swallow when I hit 2 miles and thought, hey only 12 more miles (12 is a lot of miles), and even harder when I realized that in a real marathon, I will be at mile 14 when I say that I only have 12 more miles (oh my goodness, that is crazy), but I was surprisingly completely ok when I hit mile 4 and said that I only had 10 more miles.  In what kind of alternate universe is my brain totally cool with “only 10 more miles?”

I DID get my first running induced blister on Saturday though.  I’m hoping this isn’t a sign of things to come.  I hate closed toed shoes, and I would be annoyed if I lost a toenail.  Is toenail loss inevitable, or is there a way to prevent this from happening?  These are the marathon questions I am most concerned about this week after learning all about mitochondria and capillaries.

{I think the little affirmation is nice and relevant, but why do they all have to have Miss Abs on them? You know she hasn’t eaten carbs in weeks and didn’t drink water for a day before the photo shoot.  It’s not like she looks like that because she did 10 burpees a day}

What Went Well:

1) Mental attitude: I’m starting to regain some of the confidence I’ve lost over the last month.  I had really starting questioning my goals and my abilities, and was starting to lose sight of a victorious finish.  This doesn’t make for a fun training process.  Having hope is an amazing feeling!

2) Cross training: I did elliptical, and made it a point to do weight lifting.  Also, doing that 30 day ab challenge (sort of…).

3) Still keeping up with all of my workouts!  Aaron got himself up to 3 miles on Sunday, so I’m hoping to have my running buddy back by Saturday’s (shorter) long run. But in the meantime, I’ve realized just how dependent I’ve been on Aaron to get me out the door and running these past 4 years.  Running by myself was kind of uncomfortable at first (Albuquerque isn’t exactly known for a low crime-rate), but turns out I can train for a marathon all by myself.  Obviously I want Aaron back in the game because I know he is disheartened, but I’m also actually pretty proud of myself for continuing to do this on my own.

4) Preventing injuries: We went to the magic Jedi chiropractor on Friday, and by realigning my hips, my leg/IT band/knee/calf felt much better.  For the first time in about a month, I can walk down stairs without feeling a little bit of tension.  I should have gone much sooner! Also, we doubled our ice pack supply, so I can now literally be icing every part of my legs post run.

What Needs Improvement:

1) Form: After analyzing some photos of me running the 5-K, I realized that I am twisting my upper body way too much (this uses up valuable energy while producing nothing in return).  I need to be more conscious of this. Doing the twist is fun, but not during a race!  Tracie wrote a fantastic post about this just days before I had to own up to my twistedness.

{Whoa, there shoulders.  Calm yourselves down!}

2) Getting back to eating better and drinking less: I took my chill pill attitude a little too seriously last week, and really just didn’t create any boundaries when it came to eating and drinking.  I should not be gaining weight when I’m running 30 miles a week, but I guess that’s what happens when you go through a 6 pack over the course of 4th of July.

3) SLEEP!!! Oh my goodness, go to bed already!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and productive week.  As much as I complained about having a day off in the middle of last week, I’m sad that it’ll be another 2 months before a mandated vacation.

27 thoughts on “Marathon Reflection Monday

  1. Congrats on your longest run to date!! That’s a big accomplishment and it sounds like you really enjoyed it. 🙂 And as far as the toenails are concerned, I gave up worrying about them a long time ago. Eight toenails is sufficient.

    Your shoulders totally look like mine! But the good news is it’s an easy fix. I learned so MUCH in that ChiRunning class this past weekend. I tried to focus on just two components of chi running yesterday – the arm swing and breathing. It made my run go by SO quickly, it was unbelievable. If you have the time and can find one, I would recommend taking a class some time throughout your running career. Or perhaps read the book by Danny Dreyer. I’m going to do a post on it but I’m not sure I can be as comprehensive as the class or book.

    I’m glad your training is going so well for you!! Keep up the hard work!!


    • I was afraid you were going to say that about the toenails! My husband has lost one on each foot too.

      I’ll have to look up that book. It looks like ChiRunning isn’t too big here yet. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. This is such an inspiring post. Way to go and keep up the awesome training!

    Also, congrats on your big win last night during #runchat! I’ll be looking forward to hearing how you like the app 🙂

    • Thanks! And I kind of feel bad about winning #runchat. I am very excited about the iFit app though! Our treadmill is equipped with it, but we’ve never gotten around to buying the app!

  3. Congrats on 14 miles. That’s awesome!! How often are you running a week? And are you doing intervals? Just curious!
    Amen to the chiropractor. What would we do without them. I just don’t like when they crack my neck.

    • Right now I’m running 6 days a week (2 recovery days, 2 speed days including intervals, a long run, and a mid-distance run). For the past few weeks I’ve been substituting a recovery day with cross training. And Friday was the first day I let the chiro work on my neck (he had to a lot of talking me past my fear!). I wasn’t happy about it, but my neck does feel much better now.

  4. Congrats on another week down! Glad your man is almost back in action, a running buddy is fantastic (coming from a guy who runs solo 90% of the time). I think I need to do a 30 day no alcohol/no cupcakes cleanse, I have been on a bad streak. A chiropractor sounds fantastic but its so hard to find one I trust with my spine. Anyway keep up the good work!

    • I’ve been going to this chiropractor for a few months (after he came with a glowing recommendation from the friend I ran the 5-K with last week, who has seen his fair share of chiropractor) and Friday was the first day I let him near my back and neck. I’m pretty protective of my mobility. It wouldn’t have happened without months of built-up trust. And yeah, I keep trying to “cleanse,” but the longest I’ve made it is 4 days.

  5. Yayy this is the part of marathon training that actually starts getting fun 🙂 Don’t be worried if you hit another little bump in the road either (I once cried for the first three miles of an 18 miler for no apparent reason).

    I didn’t lose a single toenail training so don’t worry… this isn’t inevitable! I think just keeping your toenails short and making sure your shoes fit well will be really helpful.

    Also, have you ever done an ice bath??? I became a total convert when I was training. I found it easier than lots of ice packs and I was never sore after a single long run… even the actual marathon! Just a thought 🙂

    Get better soon to Aaron too!

    • I’ve heard so many people say that they cry during long runs/marathons for no apparent reason! Fun stuff. I haven’t done an ice bath mostly because I think it sounds painful. I’ve done a plunge pool which is slightly less cold, but I know I’ll have to start.

  6. You are a rock star! Congrats! I love reading about your journey. If you learn some useful tips on not twisting and turning – please share! I’ve been working on pulling my belly button to my spine and shoulders back which helps – but I need all the help I can get!

    I’m cheering you on! Run girl run!

    • THANK YOU!!! I’ve gotten a few suggestions from other people, so I’ll look into them and let you know. I’ve noticed that sticking my stomach in and having a strong core really help with running, so working on sticking your belly button into your spine is a good idea!

  7. Congrats on the long run! The long runs should actually help your 5k ability too as you get closer and closer to your marathon fitness. That’s one of the best parts about running more miles, is you tend to get better at everything!

  8. PDR!!!! Woo-Hoo!! If you can figure out how to booze it less, let me know the trick. I think my first step is to stop by the beer for the fridge because it is just so darn appealing at the end of the day. Ugh.

  9. You’re awesome! Sounds like you had an amazing run. 🙂 I feel more inspired to train for a full every time I read your posts!

    Congratulations on winning #runchat last night! JP and I were driving home, and when I saw the tweet that you won I yelled with excitement for you–JP thought I was a total nut case.

    • Yay! Glad to help inspire! And thank you! I’m excited to see how this iFit app works. I’m glad you’re enjoying #runchat! And yeah, Aaron probably thinks I’m a nutcase for my bursts of excitement on a daily basis, so I know how that feels!

  10. Your feet will never look good. Fact of running life.

    Did I understand your post correctly that you ran 14 at your goal pace? Like, your goal marathon pace? If so, that’s an amazing run. And if not, you still hit a new distance high … that’s an amazing run, too. Keep on keepin’ on … 14’s gonna seem easy by the time race day arrives. You will get there.

    • Definitely not cool enough yet to be running at marathon goal pace. Sorry for the confusion! I ran it at my long run goal pace (first time I’ve pulled that off so far during this training cycle). And each passing week my idea of what a reasonable or easy amount of miles is gets higher and higher.

    • I’m glad it went well too. I was actually kind of nervous and dreading it before I started! And I will let you know about some tips. I’ve gotten a few suggestions from people that I’m going to try out!

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