warning: i am in full on bat-shit-crazy taper mode. were talking considering quitting running, seeking out and running a marathon a week earlier than planned, registering for a 50k two weeks following upcoming marathon, thinking about just taking up knitting and camping out in a lawn chair next sunday with some snacks for the runners as they go by... yup. that kind of CRAZY. i have not one coherent thought going through my head right now, and the string of semi coherent thoughts make no sense when all put together. many of you who read this are runners and you understand where im at right now... day 8 of taper, day 1 of RACE WEEK (omg!), day 1 of carb depletion (i figured i better get this blog written now before i get even more crazy with no carbs in my body. holy heck what am i doing?! stay clear of westbrook this week, folks).
back in 2009 when i ran my first marathon something happened to me. its hard to explain. the dedication, the effort, the training... it changes you. throughout the training i said i would never do this again. my only goal was to cross the finish line with a smile on my face...
mission accomplished. sweet camelbak.
i ran that marathon in 4:43:13. cross "run a marathon" off my bucket list, move on.
sundays maine coast marathon will be marathon #9. clearly something changed in me for the better that october day... although most of my family and friends think im crazy (well mostly just my family, my friends are all just as crazy as i am. no wonder we get along!) i trained for all 9 marathons differently, some more/better than others. one was 16 miles downhill. one was at night where i ate bugs and threw up for 20 minutes at mile 25 (not because of the bugs). i ran two back to back marathons (2 weeks apart) in two consecutive years, the second year i was pregnant in both. each marathon came with its own successes and failures, most of them had rain, all of them had tears, and every finish line had a smile. sunday will certainly carry on this track record im sure (although the weather is now looking not so rainy).
the journey from october 2009 to now has brought many running successes for me, but the journey to this sundays marathon has been the most remarkable. i stopped running while pregnant with henry shortly after i ran a 5k in florida at 28 weeks (5k time- 30:50). my body was getting heavier (yay oreos!) and my legs, ankles, knees all were aching. i continued to walk and use the elliptical, which helped keep me in shape (round is still a shape!) and kept my legs strong. once henry was born, it didnt take long for the weight to come off, and my body (and mind!) said "its time to go for a run". 3 weeks and one day after delivering our little wonder, i hit the road...
my heart rate had to be over 200... probably should have called 911
it wasnt much, but it was just what i needed. i took things slow getting back into running again, and a 5k summer series helped get me back into racing. in 7 weeks of 5ks on wednesday nights i went from a 29:55 to 24:16. in july i ran a 10k in 1:04:00... i felt sluggish and out of shape but i knew it was going to take time, and i was very patient. although i had registered for a fall marathon, i knew i wasnt going to be able to give the race the proper training so i backed down to the half at mdi. i did 3 halfs last fall, all 2 weeks apart- 1:55:41, 1:55:33, 1:48:00 (a new PR!). these races really boosted my confidence that i was coming back stronger than i had been before having henry, and my plans for what was to come in the spring started to evolve.
i started my training for maine coast marathon on january 5th. 18 weeks is a looooooong time, but i felt i needed it to really get me into racing shape. at that time i still didnt think i would be fast enough to qualify for boston (needing a 3:34:59 at my ripe young age of 33), but with the first training runs that week i set my paces at qualifying time to just see what might happen. in the course of a few weeks i started to find that those paces were feeling easier than they had been before, and i started pushing myself to go faster. i was also training with a heart rate monitor, and i was seeing my heart rate lower at faster speeds... maybe i really can give this a try.
my 5k pace turned from 7:20 to 6:58 (21:56 pr), winning a local race. my 10k PR of 47:50 changed to 44:47, winning another local race. 10 mile pr dropped over 3 minutes. i took 8 minutes off my half marathon time, running 7:37 average miles. and in an 8 mile training run the other day with mile repeats, i got this at mile seven-
needless to say, my training has gone well (i used peter pfitzingers "advanced marathoning" 18/55 plan). i almost perfectly/consistently followed what each day said (they make these plans the way they do for a reason... running them right works! who knew!), and did the speed work it called for. on rest days/cross training, i rested (with some ab work/free weights here and there). sam helped me with pace stuff and overall confidence/organization... and he wouldnt let me quit (coaches suck! jk). but over the weeks, my paces sped up and my confidence grew. my goal of 3:34:59 actually felt within reach.
jan 5 - may 4
after 17 long weeks of training, ive run just over 700 miles. i have 3 more training runs and a short mile or so warm up before standing on the starting line of the biggest 26.2 journey i have known. im a mess mentally right now, but thats nothing new. i need to be selfish this week and think about myself, try not to compare myself to others and focus on the finish line that is approaching. although my ultimate goal is 3:34:59 or better, i do believe i am capable of more than that. i have yet to solidify my official "goal"... and actually, may just keep it to myself (if i ever even come up with one i truly believe in).
the one similarity that all 9 marathons have is that they are 26.2 miles, run on my own two feet with my own heart. no one else has run or can run these miles for me. nothing in this world is certain. well, death is certain... but lets not think about that. cold, snow, rain, wind, sun, heat... even the weather people cant seem to predict that. my training cycle for this race is by far the most well executed cycle ive ever done, but even that doesnt mean everything is going to go right on race day. 17 weeks 6 days comes down to that final moment, sunday at 7:29:59am... i have a plan and i know how to execute it. deep breath.