2021 – 2nd Quarter Fitness Summary

It’s July and my first marathon in May already seems like so long ago.  The break from training throughout most of June was a welcome reprieve.  That’s not to say I completely slacked from working out, just that my focus transitioned from heavy weekly mileage to easier short runs and more strength training.  Jason decided at the end of May that we should get an indoor bike to use for cross training and when the weather is too extreme to run outside.  I’ll make a separate post about that soon, but suffice to say it’s been a whole different ballgame for me.

April was a running dominant month.  Between getting in four runs a week and coaching track, my strength workouts fell by the wayside.  I did try to keep up with my yoga/mobility work though and some glute exercises to keep my hamstrings from having issues.  I only took 5 days completely off from working out.  I ran 17 days for a total of 144.65 miles; I’m certain that has to be the most miles I’ve ever ran in one month! 

In May the tapering for the marathon began.  I focused on a lot of stretching and foam rolling.  The York Marathon went very well.  The day after when doing a yoga workout I noticed some instability in my ankle and decided to switch to biking for a bit for recovery.  I ran once more that month, and later self diagnosed peroneal tendonitis which led me to finish out the month biking.  I took off 9 days from workouts in May.  I ran 10 days totaling 71.2 miles.

I was able to start easing back into running in June by building mileage slowly and not pushing my foot/ankle harder than it was ready to be pushed.  My workouts became more varied with a mix of running, cycling and strength training.  I only took off 4 days from working out, 2 of which were spent in Jim Thorpe where I still did a lot of walking.  I ran 10 days for a total of 47.15 miles.

Jason and I have a road trip vacation coming up soon.  We’re not sure if we’ll run or workout that week, but I plan to start building some more mileage when we return.  We’re not signed up for any races yet, but plan to do the Sasquatch Trail 10k in September and the End of the Road half marathon again in October.  I’m also considering the White Rose 5 Miler in September.  For now I’m just enjoying the variety of my workouts and building some total body strength again.

 

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Jim Thorpe Trip

Jason and I have become fans of finding cute small towns to explore.  To date we’ve checked out Lititz (several times), Berlin and Kennett Square.  Upon reading and hearing recommendations for Jim Thorpe we decided to book an apartment via Airbnb for a mini trip.

After working out and showering Sunday morning we set out on the two hour drive eastward to the town situation at the southern end of the Pocono Mountains.  I didn’t realize our route would take us by Cabelas, a large store focused on hunting/fishing/outdoor activities, and having never been, we decided to stop.  I had heard of all the animal displays within the store, and it certainly had plenty.  I enjoyed the aquarium area and the large faux mountain with deer and mountain goats.  The “big game” display turned me off though as I find trophy hunting to be an unnecessarily macho activity aimed at bragging rights vs hunting for the actual purpose of obtaining food.  While I wouldn’t have driven that far to only check out the store, I was glad to have finally visited.

I had texted our host, Jeff, when we left Cabelas and was pleasantly surprised to find that the apartment would be ready upon our arrival, sooner than the 3pm check in time.  We met the other host, Chad, as we were getting parked and he was very friendly and eager to have us visiting.  After settling our stuff into our 2nd floor apartment we set out to explore the town.

Jim Thorpe is often called “Little Switzerland” and though I’ve never been to compare, I can see the similarities with the architecture of the buildings and being built against the mountains.  Looking up there was green everywhere and despite only being 2 hours from home it felt like we were much farther away.  Its location along the Lehigh River and access to the D&L trail were part of its appeal to us.

We checked out a few shops including an art gallery (very nice and unique work but out of our price range) before enjoying a late lunch at the Stone Row Pub & Eatery.  Its entrance/waiting area were quite narrow, and we waited at least 15 minutes for a table due to the restaurant still following Covid recommendations to space tables.  The food was worth the wait as we tried millet burgers for the first time, sandwiched between two pieces of homemade focaccia bread.  Jason had cole slaw with his while I enjoyed potato salad.

Courthouse

Courthouse

We checked out a few more shops including a Christmas themed one.  At the bottom of the town we reached the train station, a popular activity for scenic rides or bikers looking to be dropped off farther up the trail and bike back.  We walked down to the river then walked a portion of the trail.  We would’ve liked to have walked farther, but the heat and humidity were making us uncomfortable so we turned back. 

Lehigh River

Climbing back up the hill we stopped to browse an artist’s display of photographs.  Our living room feature wall had remained bared since my mom painted it in 2019 because we couldn’t find any art that fitted what we wanted.  We ended up finding three different night themed photos that we loved and bought at very reasonable prices.  The plan is to frame them and hang them on it.

After a good night of sleep in the comfortable king sized bed Jason and I had some oatmeal and took showers before setting out to explore more of the town.  Another lure of Jim Thorpe was the Harry Potter themed Muggles Mug cafe.  We took in the ambiance while we waited for our drinks (Butterbeer iced latte for me and chai tea latte for him) and spinach and feta quiche to be ready.  The outside seating enabled us to enjoy our treat while taking in the sights of the town waking up. 

We did some more shopping then climbed a steep street to reach the Switchback Trail.  We walked the shorter portion that ran along the outskirts of the town.  While walking a road back down into town we found a nice park and indulged our inner children by swinging for a bit. 

Packer Mansion

Packer Mansion

After walking back to the apartment and relaxing a little we headed across the street to tour the Old Jail Museum.  The tour began with a short film detailing history of the Irish potato famine and the migration of immigrants to the area only to find a life poverty and discrimination working as coal miners.  The tour then proceeded to various sections of the jail including the dungeon, a very creepy area to imagine yourself in if you were in solitary confinement.  It was a short tour but an informative one especially for anyone who likes history.

Old Jail Museum

Location where 4 Molly Maguires were hung

We had another late lunch this time driving to neighboring Lehighton to eat at the Bonnie & Clyde Pub and Grill.  When we lived in Jermyn (small town outside of Scranton) we frequented a similarly named establishment and wanted to compare the two.  While the ambiance was similar as was the potency of the drinks, the food was more unique.  Kangroo loin was a special, but Jason preferred a salmon entree while I devoured a pasta one.

After returning to the apartment we decided to go walk the Switchback Trail in the other direction.  It was quiet and the plants and trees were more dense making it incredibly private.  Unfortunately the bugs became too much of a nuisance so after half mile or so we turned around and walked back to the train station.  We went to the opposite end to walk out on the bridge over the river and take in the views.  The sky darkened in some spots and we dashed back to take cover until the 5 minute rainstorm passed.  Knowing there was a chance for stronger storms we decided to wrap up our exploring. 

Lehigh River2

We were settled in and watching some TV when the storms rolled in.  It was fun to watch until the power went out.  Fearful that it could take a long time to restore and sleeping on a hot/humid night would be difficult without air conditioning, we decided to pack up and head home rather than waiting to drive back in the morning.  Our hosts were slightly disappointed but understood and encouraged us to return.  Ironically the power was restored as we were pulling out, but since we were already packed we decided to continue the drive home.

Our trip was short but fun and restorative.  After looking up different events in Jim Thorpe we decided to book another trip for December to enjoy their Christmas and Krampus festivals.  We’ll be staying in the same building, but chose a different apartment this time – one that features a 2 person whirlpool!  I’m looking forward to seeing the town decked out for the holidays and another chance for a mini getaway.

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Non-Running Randomness

After blogging for weeks with marathon training updates I feel it’s time to change it up a bit with some non-running randomness from my life!  Ok so discussing the track season involves running but it’s not my running so it doesn’t count.

-My nephew, Weston, turned 1.5 on May 7th and I’m seriously loving how fun he is at this age.  I’ve never been a fan of newborns (they’re so much work and so boring) and am much preferring this stage of his life.  He’s not talking, but still has plenty of opinions including which songs he likes on the Happy Kids app and which he doesn’t!  I had wanted to get him hooked on “Baby Shark” in hopes of driving my sister and brother in law crazy, but unfortunately Weston isn’t a fan.  He does like Blues Clues though which I’ve always enjoyed.

-After a lost season due to Covid it was great to get in a full track season this year despite the mask wearing, some athletes having to quarantine, a few catching the virus, etc.  My boys’ 4x400m relay team earned a medal at the county meet and qualified for the District 3 championships.  Our team also had a runner win the 100m and 200m in the District 3 championships and then take the gold in the 200m at the PIAA state championship meet.  Our team was smaller than usual this year, but we were mighty!

-I was invited to graduation by some of my track seniors; something I found incredibly touching.  It seemed only fitting that the “Covid generation” would begin entering the stadium only to be down poured on a few minutes later.  Fortunately it was a hot, humid day and the rain was over in less than 10 minutes and the ceremony progressed without any further issues.

-Jason and I experienced the most “normal feeling” weekend recently when we went to a late lunch and a movie.  While we had gotten take out from Mexitaly over the past year, it felt so much better being able to sit at their bar and relax over drinks and food without fear.  We weren’t even able to recall the last movie we had seen in theater, but we enjoyed the chance to kick back (literally, the theater has reclining seats) and watch Jason Statham on the big screen.

-My parents, Jason and I explored a spot close to home that none of us had ever checked out, Kitchen Kettle Village.  We ate breakfast at a diner then headed to the village located in Intercourse (which required passing through Bird in Hand but not Blue Ball… yes, these are all names of towns in Lancaster County).  We bought some praline butter and marinades as well as a bird house for in front of our house.  We also enjoyed some (slightly expensive but worth it) local homemade ice cream.  Later that day Jason and I met dad out along route 30 to watch the street rods that were in town for the weekend.  This is a York County tradition and anyone not from the area was likely befuddled seeing people in lawn chairs lining a stretch of the highway all afternoon/weekend.

-I recently finished the book “The Poisonwood Bible“.  A house at the other end of town has a little free library in their front yard and I picked it out.  There are some books in life that make you just sit back and go “Wow” and help you realize how little you know about history and even life in general.  This was one of them.  As a kid historical fiction was my favorite genre, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read anything in that category.  I’m really glad I stumbled upon this book, and it’s encouraged me to dive back into historical fiction and expand my horizons to include those focused on African history.

-I am really looking forward to summer vacations.  We have a mini trip planned to explore Jim Thorpe, our first really long (ie over 4 hours) road trip to Vermont and New Hampshire and our annual beach trip.  We just sent off our applications to renew our passports so that we can plan even more fun for the next year… maybe a west coast cruise or a trip to Portugal?!?

Do you feel like your life is returning to “normal”?  Do you read historical fiction books?

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Post Marathon Thoughts/First Post Marathon Run

I ran my first marathon, the York Marathon, on Sun. May 17th and it went really well.  I didn’t walk any of it and I was under my 4:30 goal.  The weather was nearly as perfect as one could hope for with a spring marathon.  My fear of being bored due to the flat out and back course was alleviated by having Todd run roughly 14 miles with me and dad running the final 2.  It was a very solid first marathon, and I can’t say I have any complaints/regrets.  Here is a rundown of thoughts post marathon.

Wow that’s cool he announced my full name and where I’m from!

I did it!

(Upon seeing Jason and telling him good job) He looks really beat.

Man I want to sit, but I can’t.

They’re out of chocolate milk?  Stupid half marathoners must’ve taken them all; I can’t help I’m slow.

I’m not hungry but I should force a banana.

(Jason mentions going over to lean against a stone wall) That looks really far away.  (We hobble over there anyway)

Omg my calves are in agony.

Like seriously why are they hurting THIS bad when I’m done running? (Per dad the lactic acid buildup)

Ok I have to sit.  (Sits but keeps legs straight out)

That feels better.  (Sitting and dad helping to rub my and Jason’s calves out).

I’ll never say never just not anytime soon.  (Thought to Jason saying I’m never doing this again I’m retiring.)

The irony of the last one is that dad, Todd and Armand all told Jason he would change his mind about never running one again.  The very next day he told me he’d like to break 4 hours.  I called him a hypocrite then agreed if we were to do another it would definitely be more of a rolling hill course since that’s what we train on vs a flat one.  For now that is still a long off consideration as we’re enjoying our recovery time.

Today was the first day either of us ran since the marathon.  After battling some peroneal tendonitis issues last week and sticking to biking and some walks, I was ready to test it out running.  We planned a slow 3 miles and not surprisingly Jason ended up with over 4.  I was doing well until just before 2 miles when I had sharp pain strike in the bottom of my left foot.  I walked a few paces then resumed jogging.  The pain flared off and on, but I managed to log the 3 miles before calling it quits.  I walked a good bit then resumed jogging the few blocks back to the house.  I’m not sure what’s going on as the pain I had last week was along the side of my foot/behind my ankle bone (where the peroneal tendon runs), not under my foot.  I didn’t even feel the tendon pain today.  I’m going to just ice it, monitor it and bike again Sunday when dad and Jason run.  I’m annoyed, but just very grateful that it didn’t happen during the marathon!

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The York Marathon

If you haven’t followed along on my journey to run my first marathon feel free to start at the beginning in learning how I talked myself into even running a marathon!

Sat. 5/15 Pre Marathon – After spending my final taper week more focused on the 2 day YAIAA county track meet I finally had a day for the reality of running a marathon to sink in.  I had a lot of nervous and excited energy, but also a good bit of confidence that Jason and I would do well.  We went into the city to pick up our packets.  This was helpful as we were able to find the exact starting location (at the corner of the YMCA which was the race host and benefactor of the race proceeds) and scope out the distance to it from the parking lot.  Our packets included our bibs, neon green t-shirts and some race fliers inside a nice cinch sack.  We spent the afternoon relaxing under our tree, reading and snacking to load up on carbs.  I made french toast for dinner, and we went to bed with an alarm set for 4:50am.

Sun. 5/16 Marathon – The alarm wasn’t necessary as neither Jason or I slept overly well, something that we anticipated happening.  We watched the weather forecast one last time, relieved to see it hadn’t changed and it was to be mostly cloudy with a high of 70* for the afternoon.  We fueled up on oatmeal and closer to the race, pb and honey sandwiches.  We arrived slightly before 7am with plenty of time to warm up, use the porta potties and chat with Armand who was running the half marathon at 8am.  The marathon was broken into waves of 50 people going out every 10 mins beginning at 6am.  We had chosen the final wave at 7:30am to ensure plenty of time to eat and “empty our systems”.  At 7:28am we fell in behind some other runners, mostly maskless (we weren’t) despite the emails saying to wear them until the start and after the finish.  There definitely was not 50 total people in our wave.

We started our watches promptly at 7:30am a few feet before the chip mat to ensure they’d register a full 26.2 miles.  The start was a tad anticlimactic due to the waves, but the lack of crowding ensured plenty of space to “get out” and settle.  The route went down Newberry Street a few blocks then turned onto Princess St for a block before we migrated onto the York Heritage Rail Trail and began heading south.

My goal pace was 10 min miles  though I think the start and nervous energy made me go out faster as I clocked a 9:36 first mile.  This would prove to be my fastest mile as I relaxed and forced myself to slow.  I chatted with two men on the trail who were out running and not part of the race, but who had ran one marathon in their lives and said never again.  Around the second mile I spotted dad and Todd.  I had encouraged them to meet at Indian Rock Dam elementary and come to the trail at that spot vs trying to find parking in the city to see us at the start.

The next several miles were very comfortable.  I didn’t even experience the usual arch pain that I had on previous runs.  Most of my miles were slightly slower than 10 mins, and I toyed with the idea of increasing my speed knowing that by the end I would be slowing.  I chose instead to listen to my body and just run comfortable.  As I ran by Brillhart Station I felt like a celebrity with so many spectators cheering and waving.  I smiled and waved at everyone including a little girl.  I thought to myself “I hope I’m still smiling when I pass through here the second time!”

Some of the half marathon runners who began in the first wave at 7:40am began to catch and pass me.  I was slightly envious of their ability to push the pace when I knew I wouldn’t be running fast that race.  As I passed through Howard Tunnel and then their turn around point, I realized just how spread out the race was due to the waves.  Originally I feared having people around me the entire race given it was an out and back course.  I quickly realized instead just how boring it was going to make the race to only have returning marathoners to watch.  Due to being in the last wave no one was catching me, and I wasn’t catching anyone.

As I approached Glatfelter Station I was pleasantly surprised to see dad and Todd.  I didn’t expect to see them until Hanover Station.  Dad swapped me one of my bottles of water from my belt for one filled with Propel.  I gave him instructions of my needs for when I’d see him again and realized how much I was looking forward to Todd joining me at that spot.

There were several spectators at Hanover Station.  After taking a Honey Stinger gel from dad (I had already use one around mile 6) I proceeded to smile and wave again as Todd joined in alongside me, about 10.5 miles in at that point.  He asked how I was doing and I said that I was holding my pace and feeling alright.  I told him my plan of breaking the marathon into 4, 6 mile segments to only have 2 miles to focus on at the finish.  He estimated Jason to be running about 9 min miles based on when he and dad saw him.  I used another gel around mile 12.  I believe somewhere after that point is when we saw Jason heading back north.  He gave me a thumbs up, so I knew he was doing well; he was running with headphones in so yelling encouragement would’ve been pointless.

When we reached the turn around point I crossed over the mats laid on the trail while Todd avoided them.  I told him how glad I was that he had joined me because initially I thought that I should tackle the marathon solo.  The loneliness on the trail would’ve became very apparent by that point if it wasn’t for him.

We passed dad at Hanover Station again, and I swapped my other water bottle for a Propel and took another gel.  I was really glad I decided not to rely on the aid stations as I had gotten quite used to drinking as I needed on training runs.  It was a lot easier to do that during the race than worry about when the next station was coming up.  A lady called out “You’re almost there” to which Todd and I gave each other a look… a phrase that any runner knows you do NOT say unless someone is legitimately within distance of the finish line.

I polished off another gel before seeing dad at Glatfelter Station again.  He offered Todd a bottle of water, but since Todd was good, I used it to rinse down the rest of the gel.  I knew I needed to rely on the Propel for the rest of the race, but preferred to chase the gel with regular water and not risk stomach upset.  I asked how Jason looked and dad said he was doing well.

Todd was very impressed with how well I was holding to my 10 min pace.  Several of our miles together had been slightly under 10 mins.  My quads ached at times, but it was intermittent and pretty bearable.  After passing through the Howard Tunnel and reaching mile 20 reality set in.  I realized the final 6 miles would feel like the longest 6 miles of my life.

Suddenly the minor aches became bigger ones.  I mentioned to Todd that a veteran runner talked to me before the race (she was running the half), a lady whose name I knew but never formally met, and said that after mile 18 to try to break things up with some sprint pickups.  Todd said he often did high knees or butt kicks to make the muscles move in a different way.  I tried both moves and discovered just how stiff my knees had gotten from moving in the same motion for over 3 hours.  I did the moves two move times over the miles, but the high knees were causing shooting pains in the side of my right knee, so Todd recommended stopping.  Surprisingly my hips didn’t feel as awful as I expected them to, and I was happy when the running pains moved from my quads to my calves.

Despite not ever having an issue with it on previous runs, the Howard Tunnel had thrown off my GPS.  My watch showed a pace in the 8’s at times and the miles were no longer aligning with the signs on the trail.  In fact the watch had become close to a half mile off.  “So much for uploading an exact 26.2 miles on Strava” I thought.  It was an annoyance, but I didn’t let it detract me too much from focusing on finishing the race.

We passed by Brillhart Station which had fewer spectators, but I still managed to smile at the ones who remained.  By that point I was looking forward to reaching dad at mile 24 and knowing there would only be 2 miles to go.  My left ankle began to bother me at times with slight stiffness like I had experienced on some previous runs.  Fortunately it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t manage.  I took my last gel around mile 23.

Originally I had been nervous about dad running the last 2 miles with me as it would be his first run since his knee fracture.  Todd was confident he would be ok and after seeing him jog down the trail to supply me I figured he would be too.  I knew my pace wouldn’t be picking up at all, and Todd offered to stay with us a bit to ensure dad would be ok.  When I reached dad he commented on how good I looked and assured Todd he was ok to head back to his vehicle.  I thanked Todd again for keeping me on pace.

Dad told me when Jason came through that spot previously that he began walking and was discouraged that he wouldn’t break 4 hours.  His stomach had apparently been bothering him since about mile 8.  This bummed me as I knew he didn’t want to walk at all, but I had already told him that 4 hours would be a big reach goal.  My goals had been to complete the marathon, to get under 4:30 and then to try to get as close to 4:15 as possible.

When dad and I passed the final aid station I took a cup of water which mostly went in my eye, but still felt refreshing and was a needed break from my Propel.  Normally I would’ve walked through an aid station to get more of the water into my mouth, but at that point I knew if I started walking I wouldn’t start running again.  I was glad for dad and a flagger at the one spot as I was started to get a little brain drained and almost continued down the railroad tracks instead of turning with the trail.  With roughly a block or two left a flagger called out that I was almost there to which I said “Yes!  You are allowed to say that; the lady at Hanover Station was not!”

Dad jumped off the trail once the finish line was in sight.  I’d like to say I picked up my pace, but even opening my stride a little didn’t seem to change it much, and I was just relieved to have made it the entire way without stopping.  It was exciting to hear an announcer call out my name and where I was from as I finished since I knew I was likely one of the last runners having started in the last wave.  I received my finisher’s medal and tried to keep moving.  Jason congratulated me looking as rough as I felt.  Armand encouraged us to keep moving and said that he had ran Jason in for the last mile; an act Jason was incredibly grateful for as he said he likely would’ve been walking it in and gotten passed by me otherwise.

I went to the table hoping to get a chocolate milk but alas they were all out.  I took a banana knowing I needed to eat something, but not feeling any hunger at all.  Jason and I were continuing to hobble around when the agony set into our calves.  Dad said it was the lactic acid and helped us by rubbing the back of them.  I finally relented and sat on the grass and kept my legs out in front of me to avoid cramping.  Jason insisted he was officially retired and would never run another marathon again.

After a short period of time Jason and I’s calf pain had decreased enough that we could make it back to the car and stretch.  We returned dad to his truck and forced ourselves to eat our protein cookies before driving home.  I let him shower first as I seemed to be moving and recovering slightly better than him.  We were surprised to not feel the urge to spend the rest of the day eating.  My parents had us over for dinner so we were able to spend the rest of the day relaxing.

When the official times were finally posted we discovered that Jason had clocked a 4:25:26 and was 33 of 38 in his age group and I was shortly behind with a 4:26:43 and 11 of 18 in my age group.  While Jason had become a bit discouraged during the last few miles and upon finishing, he ended up ok with his performance and I was more than happy with mine.  I’ll have some more debriefing thoughts to come in my next post!

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Marathon Training Week 16 – It’s the final countdown…

The final week of marathon training is a bit surreal.  It’s one of those things where when I began this adventure back in January it felt so far away and even into April it still felt far enough away.  Now that it’s here it’s hard to remember not “having” to run, let alone 4x a week.  I’m as prepared as I can be physically and mentally.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a tad paranoid of doing something dumb (I’m rather clumsy) and hurting myself before the marathon.  I’ve also been hawking the weather report hoping that the seasonable temperature predicted is the actual race day forecast.

Total Mileage – 17

Sun. 5/9 – 8 miles with Jason that consisted mostly of neighborhood loops to try to keep it as flat as possible.  I remember back in the day when 8 miles felt like a long run when I was learning to build up to a half marathon.

Tues. 5/11 – Jason and I were up early so we knocked out our 4 miler around town.  It felt like it was more effort to change into running clothes and doing anything under 6 miles doesn’t seem worth changing changes for now.

Wed. 5/12 – Once more we were able to run before work.  3 miles over towards the high school and back was a nice wake up.

Fri. 5/14 – Despite being a bit of a zombie most of the day (I didn’t get to bed until after 11pm due to having the track kids at the county meet) the easy 2 miles on Jason’s lunch down our street and back felt good.  They might’ve been a little fast, under 10 min miles, but it felt good to shake everything out.

I think having a two night county meet this week was a good distraction for me.  I had limited time to sit around and think about what I’ll be doing Sunday morning and getting anxious about it.  Instead I got to enjoy great weather while watching intense competition for two nights.  My boys’ 4x400m relay team got a PR and earned a medal by placing 5th in the county last night.  We’re holding out hope that their time will qualify them for the district 3 championships next weekend, but we won’t know until sometime on Sunday when qualifying lists are released.

Now that their challenge is completed I’m focused on relaxing and getting mentally ready for my own.  I’m really excited to put my body to the test even though I know it’ll be hurting good by the end.  Todd plans to join me around 10.5 miles and run with me until mile 24 where dad is hoping to take over and run the final 2 miles with me.  His orthopedic doctor isn’t thrilled at the idea of him running just yet, but basically knows he will do it.  I told him he needs to test out his knee prior to Sunday by running a little so I don’t have to worry about him and can focus on my last 2 miles.  His being there at the finish line will mean plenty to me whether he’s ran there with me or not.

T minus 48 hours and counting… it’s soon go time!

Any final words of advice for a first time marathon runner?

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Marathon Training Week 15 – Taper Time

I used to wonder how people found time to train for a marathon.  Obviously I have since found that answer by training for one myself which now makes me wonder how people find time to train for more than one marathon a year.  It certainly has been a loaded 4 months,  While I’ve enjoyed the process I am looking forward to completing the actual race and getting in some good physical and mental recovery time!

Total Mileage – 25

Sun. 5/2 – 12 miles was a definite change from the prior week’s 22!  That being said it still felt a tad long and I know Jason was mentally over running halfway through.  I think maybe it was psychological knowing we wouldn’t be out running all morning we expected the run to feel faster?  In any case we logged the miles on the rail trail, likely our final training run on it before the marathon.  We held paces exactly a minute apart from another – an 8:53 for him and a 9:53 for me.

Tues. 5/4 – A quick 4 miles before work.  We had considered knocking out the 6 miler, but woke up later than usual.  The rain from the previous night made it incredibly humid and by the time we wrapped up in the cemetery I was glad we had decided to only complete 4.

Thurs. 5/6 – Jason was motivated enough to log 6 miles Wed. morning, but I wasn’t as keen on leaving my comfy bed.  Instead I logged mine after track practice.  After running faster than usual on Tues. it felt good to scale my pace back especially since my hamstrings had felt tight and sore the previous day.  I was a tad nervous to run up Blymire given it’s been quite a few weeks since I have (we’ve been trying to stick to flatter routes to mimic the marathon course), but it went fine.

Sat. 5/8 – Preferring to stay in bed Fri. morning again, Jason ran 3 miles solo and I got mine in today.  Down the street and back with a final quarter mile in the cemetery.  My arch/heel didn’t flare up during the 2nd mile as it has been, my left ankle felt rather stiff for at least a mile.  I also did a few band exercises after to keep the glutes/adductors firing.

Any last minute tips/advice as I go into my final taper week?

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Marathon Training Week 14 – Hanging Tough

I have most definitely forgotten what life was like before training for a marathon.  While I have powered through the miles quite well I am definitely looking forward to a run that isn’t required, let alone a specific distance.  As crazy as it sounds I’m also looking forward to doing a deep clean of my house.  Jason’s been wonderful in helping to keep up (cleaning the bathroom weekly) as training and coaching track leaves pretty much no time for house cleaning unless I want to stay up until all hours of the night.  Anyways here is a rundown of how the week went:

Total Mileage – 38

Sun. 4/25 – A 22 miler!  Jason and I went into it knowing that even if we only ran 20 that would still be sufficient, but mentally both of us wanted to hit the 22.  Todd suggested we do a full “pre race” run on the York Rail Trail, but I countered saying I really didn’t want to run that far then run a marathon on the same course less than a month later.  We decided on the good old Columbia river trail, a route that I really love and have been excited to go farther on with the longer training runs.  I had no heel pain like the previous week, but after mile 13 my feet were starting to feel tired in general.  I alternated running on the trail (asphalt) and alongside of it (grass and/or gravel) to try to keep them going as best as possible.  My plan was to try to keep to 10 minute miles, but by mile 19 my pace was really dragging.  I plodded on however and clocked a 3:44:16 which was a 10:11 average pace.  Jason also tanked by mile 19 despite fueling much better than his 20 miler and managed a 3:30:23, a 9:34 pace.

Tues. 4/27 – Last week the thought of stepping back to an 8 miler sounded wonderful but after running 22, 8 sounded just as challenging.  Jason’s choice of a somewhat hilly route at 5am wasn’t the most appealing to me, but I managed well enough until my stomach decided to hate me.  Having not been able to do any “business” prior to the run I unfortunately had to cut the run short.  I hit 7 miles at the end of my block and nature urgently called.

Wed. 4/28 – 4 miles felt like such a short run on lunch with Jason.  It was definitely a nice change.  The last mile was in the cemetery and the short hills were challenging after the week’s previous miles.

Fri. 4/30 – Jason and I ran two loops around a nearby neighborhood and faced some major wind gusts at times.  Despite the wind it was warm and we really pushed the pace and chatted along the way.  I actually ended up with 5.25 miles as I was so in the zone it didn’t dawn on me to stop when the watch beeped 5 miles.  I averaged a 8:56 pace!

It was a very successful training week.  My heel/bottom of my left foot flared a tad during the shorter runs, but it went away so I’m no longer fearful that I’m developing full blown plantar fasciitis.  I managed to get a short total body strength workout in this week as well.  I don’t plan to do anything like that the next two weeks as I taper though as I definitely feel my legs in a different way from it today!  Bring on the taper weeks!

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Marathon Training Week 13 – Less than a month to go!

It’s exciting to think that the marathon is less than a month away!  With only one really long run left in the training schedule I have to wonder what I’ll do with myself when I’m not required to run every Sunday morning let alone find time to fit in 3 other runs per week.  Track season is wrapping up soon as well so I’m looking at having a good bit of time on my hands by the end of May!

Total Mileage – 34 

Sun. 4/18 – Step back weeks feel like such a blessing though 14 miles was still a decent long run.  Jason and I were going to change things up and start the York Rail Trail from the New Freedom trailhead, but we slept in later than usual so we went to Brillhart Station.  I should know better by now than to try to get away with running that far and only using one Honey Stinger chew as my miles were definitely slowing by the end.  Running later in the morning was a reality check as well as it was warming up decently by the time I finished after 11:30am.  The bottom of my left heel was bothering me off and on, but it wasn’t anything too distracting.

Tues. 4/20 – Jason couldn’t sleep so we set out on one of our 4:30am runs to put in our 10 miler for the week.  Finding time to get these mid-week longer runs in has been challenging at times, so I was glad that run was our peak one.  Again the underside of my heel bothered me off and on, but I could still run on it.  I had taken a vacation day to go with my mom to an appointment then out to Longs Park for a walk and Tobias Frogg for lunch with her, my sister and my nephew.  It was a fun time but the run coupled with the walk in addition to being on my feet for track practice had my heel really bothering me so I iced it that night.

Wed. 4/21 – I iced my heel twice in the morning, but it still did not like the 5 mile run Jason and I did on his lunch.  After 2 miles it seemed to loosen up but climbing some hills in the one neighborhood and cemetery seemed to stir it back up again.  While it didn’t feel like full blown plantar fasciitis it still had me worried that it could become a big nuisance during the marathon.

Fri. 4/23 – 5 miles after work with Jason around town.  The good news is my heel didn’t have any pain.  The bad news is I think all the miles are taking their toll on the bottoms of my feet in general.  I spent most of the run feeling as though there wasn’t any cushion under my feet.  I’m hoping this is common at this point of marathon training and that the taper that’ll begin after Sunday’s run will alleviate some of it.

Jason and I already made a game plan for Sunday’s long run that we’ll run out the Columbia river trail for 10 miles and come back and if we feel like adding on the additional 2 miles for a full 22 miler we will and if we’re good with just the 20 then that’s fine too.  Scott and Todd both advised us to run it based on how we’re feeling and if we didn’t reach 22 that it’d be fine.  I really want to hit 22 for the mental confidence more than anything, but I’ll be satisfied just knocking out a 20 miler.

During marathon training have you experienced runs where you feel as though your feet have no cushion?

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Marathon Training Week 12 – Grinding out the Miles

This week was a real test of mileage and determination.  My strength workouts have gone by the wayside due to a lack of time and energy to fit them in.  Sometimes this comes back to bite me with a little bit of back aches, a weaker core and a twinge in my hamstring.  I’m going to try to rededicate myself to at least 10 mins of core per week and a few minutes of band exercises to keep my glutes strong.

Total Mileage – 37.25

Sun. 4/11 – My first double digit run that started with a 2!  Todd and Scott met Jason and I in Wrightsville to run a 20 miler using a route they’ve ran previously when training for marathons.  We were fortunate to have them join us as it worked out well for everyone with it being Todd’s last long run before his marathon in Utah and Scott tapering for his 100 miler in Maryland.  We ran across the bridge to Columbia and ran portions of runs I’ve done previously while adding on some new parts.  It made for an interesting route, and we only had some short rain showers throughout the run.  Jason eventually dropped back to run with Scott and I, a tad beat from pushing the 13 the week before and not quite fueled well enough during the run.  I have figured out a good fueling strategy using the Honey Stinger gels and didn’t really feel too beat up or fatigued until after mile 18.  The amount of strength I’ve gained to tackle that kind of distance is still mind boggling to me at times.  I ran it in 3:21:25, a 10:04 avg pace and Jason clocked 3:16:54, a 9:51 pace.

Tues. 4/14 – Jason beat me up a bit during a 5 mile run on his lunch.  While I knew we needed to push the pace compared to Sunday’s run I didn’t expect to average a 9:07 especially given how many hills were part of the route.  I might’ve cursed him under my breath more than once particularly when he decided to turn up a long steep hill.  Regardless of the pain and annoyance I still thanked him after the run for making me push.

Thurs. 4/15 – I suppose I was due for a bad run given how many good ones I’ve had this training season.  The game plan was to run 9 miles after work (Jason had done his at 1:30am on Tues. as he couldn’t sleep; that was definitely not something I was going to consider doing) as there was no track practice due to the school being closed for rising Covid case numbers.  I felt alright for the first 5 miles then my legs grew heavy.  They didn’t hurt per say, but rather just felt like concrete blocks.  I slogged my way through the next mile and decided if I could make it 7 miles that was going to be sufficient.  I habitually checked my watch the entire last mile and was incredibly grateful to be finished.  I’m certain a combo of the 20 miler and pushing too fast/hard with Jason on Tues. beat my legs up that I couldn’t go beyond 7 miles.

Fri. 4/16. – Jason and I considered cutting our 5 mile run to 3 or 4, both still feeling a little wore out from the week.  We managed a second loop of a nearby neighborhood though and actually clocked 5.25 miles.  It felt better than the previous day’s run, but nothing speedy for sure.

I’m looking forward to a step back long run tomorrow and plan to take it super easy.  4 weeks left until the marathon of which 2 are going to require more grinding.  I have confidence we can get through this and with a little extra rest today that our bodies won’t let us down!

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