Marathon Reflection Monday: Halfway Point

I am officially at the halfway point of my marathon training! This is probably one of the few cases where “it’s all downhill from here” just does not even apply.

This has been such a crazy and unexpected couple of months.  There has been far more frustration and all over the place emotion (I’m happy! I’m sad! I hate running! I love running! I’m hungry!) than I anticipated, but I’ve also gone way out of my comfort zone and done things like run 17 miles that I definitely didn’t think I’d ever do even 10 months ago.  And I’ve become a faster runner regardless.

Luckily we’re on a happy Amy week right now, so no complaining! Yay!

This past weekend, our plan called for a half marathon race.  Incidentally, there happened to be a half marathon organized in Albuquerque, but we decided to save our money and run our own.

We chose a hard course near our house that includes a 400 foot elevation gain over a mile and a half…but we went around 3 times, so I had to run up that hill three times.  No matter what, I can’t get myself up that hill with any type of speed, so I knew there was no way I would be able to achieve a half marathon paced run.  I focused on getting up that hill as fast as I could (ranging from 8:50 for the first time around to about 9:30 for the last) and running everything else at an 8 minute mile pace or under.

I finished 13.1 in 1:52:47, at about an 8:36 average pace.  Not too shabby, even though I would have liked to go a bit faster.  I was also pretty dehydrated.  We chose this course so we could do a bottle drop.  We had a few little water bottles placed along the way that we could grab during our 3 times around this loop.  But, somebody stole one of my water bottles.  What is wrong with people?  I just hope that person was about ready to pass out and really needed it.  Or choked on it enough to remind them that stealing isn’t cool!

Next week we have 19 miles. And then we’re almost at our max mileage! Crazy to think that my first 20 miler is in two weeks.

Since I am at the half way point, I’ve been looking back at all my workouts over the last couple of months.  From my first long run (7.5 miles at a 10:15 pace) to my 17 miler at a 9:35 pace.  I have gotten faster and stronger.  Even this past 13.1 was way faster than my long runs pre RnR Arizona, so I’d like to think that if I ran a real half with real competition and sans the 400 foot elevation gain X3, I’d have a fantastic half PR!

See, I told you I was in a good mood!

So, this will be a comprehensive reflection of the last two months.

What’s Going Well:

1. Sticking to the plan: Even though Aaron has been on reduced mileage for over a month, I’ve been sticking to it and running solo.  While I’d obviously rather run with him, I’m proud for doing a lot of this on my own.

2. Getting over the pace obsession: It hasn’t been easy.  I try not to let my long run paces get me down, but I am slowly understanding that my long run paces aren’t too indicative of my marathon pace come race day.

3. Picking myself up when I want to quit: Last week was a rough week.  I questioned my sanity, and at one point during a workout I wanted to give up altogether.  Then I realized that I’m not a quitter, and the only person making myself miserable was me.  After a quick attitude adjustment (and a good long run), I am completely rededicated to making this BQ happen!  And it’s not like anyone forced me to do this.

4. Injury Prevention: I’ve managed to keep little annoyances (knee pain, IT band pain, and heel pain) from becoming big problems.  I hope we can keep it this way!

What Needs Work:

1. Eating well and drinking less: I can clean up my diet for two months.  I thought I’d start from the beginning, but I really like food and beer (and margaritas and wine), and giving that all  up was not as easy as I hoped.  But I’m ready to give this healthy lifestyle thing a go.  Starting tomorrow.  JUST KIDDING!

2. Getting the Emotions Under Control: Training for a marathon is hard.  Duh.  That doesn’t mean I can get sad after every bad workout.  Because then I eat badly and write long blog posts about how much I hate running.  No fun for anyone!

3. Rededication to the Goal: I was very public about my goal because I hoped it would push me harder.  I think I’ve lost a little bit of that focus thanks to frustration and also the ease of letting myself off too easy.  I’ve got two months to whip myself into shape.  I can do it!

I bet the people who came in last for the Olympic track and running events wish they had tried a little harder. I know even Pre wished he had pushed a little harder in Munich! I don’t want to finish my marathon wishing I had tried harder.  And there is no time like right now to start.

Have a fantastic week!

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26 thoughts on “Marathon Reflection Monday: Halfway Point

    • Thanks! I’m really trying to not take myself too seriously!

      And yeah, really the only people that would have even seen them would have been other runner/walker types. I just kept trying to remember all the people I passed to think about who it might have been!

    • I know! We made sure to get sealed bottles so we would know if someone tampered with them, but we figured they were hidden away enough to where they wouldn’t be seen much less stolen. I guess we just have to do a better hiding job? Albuquerque is really just that type of a city though, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised!

  1. awesome job on the marathon training! Can’t believe someone stole your bottle of water though…haha that’s just ridiculous!

    • Thank you! I know the next two months are going to be pretty painful with all of these 20 milers, but in two months I’ll get to rest a bit!

  2. I can’t believe that someone stole one of your water bottles!! I’m always afraid that’s going to happen to me, too. But then I think that I’d never steal anyone’s water bottles because 1) stealing is wrong. and 2) I have an irrational fear that the water would be drugged or something!

    Anyways, you’re doing such an amazing job with your training! It’s so much fun to keep up with where you are!

  3. You’re doing so great! So proud of you. 🙂 Sorry to hear about your water bottle. There must be some parched people down there! Have you tried running with a Camebak? I use one for all my long runs (and even in the Boston Marathon). Might even keep you cool if you fill it with ice before you head out. 🙂 Keep up the awesome work, Amy…you’re almost there!

  4. Ha, I would’ve stole your water bottle too if I was running in the desert and it was in plain site! Kidding…obviously. I did a water drop the last two weeks and I hid them well because I know the homeless people will jack them since I run in a halfway urban area. This week I put one on top of an 8 foot wall because I knew no one would look up and the other I wrapped in a plastic bag by a rock because I knew people would think it was trash and not touch it. Maybe do that, add like a banana peel and some papers or something, and maybe put yellow Gatorade in one so it really looks sketchy.

    • It wasn’t in plain sight! It was a good 30 feet off the course. Someone would have to go looking for them to find them. I wouldn’t have thought to go through all that trouble, but I bet someone would think twice before stealing a bottle near some yellow colored water. Good tip! I’ll keep it in mind!

      • We do have coyotes that live along that course which are kind of like dingos? They’re both dogish. We did leave them up higher off the ground, so if we did have armadillos they wouldn’t be the most likely suspect. It was taken within about 23 minutes after placing them, so in all likelihood, someone saw us putting them there. We’ll just have to be more creative next time.

  5. So true that it’s not “downhill from here.” But you sound like you’re doing SO well! You’re almost to 20, which is amazing. Did you ever think you could run that far?!
    Giving up the food and drinks is hard for me, too!!

    • No, even a couple of months ago when I KNEW I’d be running 20 miles, I don’t think I really internalized it. The crazy thing is, it hasn’t been so bad. Like, when I was running 17 miles, I hated it, but a week later, it seems like it wasn’t the worst thing ever. I’m hoping 19 and 20 work the same way!

  6. i like the idea of yellow gatorade. I see water or gatorade bottles all the time. I’ve never thought about taking one. But then again, I don’t run 17 miles, just a partly 4 or 5.

    • I will ignore the fact that you are reading my blog on vacation, and thank you for not being a bottle stealer! And my guess is most people going around the Academy aren’t doing much more than 3.5 miles anyway unless they are us or the Japanese National Team.

  7. You’re doing awesome! And that’s great that you’re training for a BQ, I can imagine why you’d be pace obsessed, but I’m happy for you that you found a way out of that thinking. Keep it up with your body maintenance and listening to/healing any aches. And I know that the clean diet is hard especially when you’re logging all those miles, but it will be worth it come race day! THEN, you can eat up! 🙂

  8. Sounds like training is going really well! Congratulations!! I’ve always thought, in many many ways, that distance running is harder mentally than physically. That’s why I never totally give up wine or beer – sometimes, the night after a long run, a glass just sounds too perfect 🙂

    • I agree! My body is definitely getting beat up, but my ups and downs mentally are wreaking havoc! And yeah, nothing sounds better than a cold beer after finishing a hot run! Thanks for stopping by!

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