Friday, December 11, 2015

mdi marathon

maybe it was a bad idea to think i could (or should) come back to blogging. maybe if i could design something to record my thoughts when im running or trying to fall asleep or sipping coffee and listening to christmas music during nap time and then those recordings could transfer to blogger and hit publish (while also gathering photos and screenshots and all sorts of other random things in the right spots)...

i feel like i am always thinking of good things to write- whether it be for here, or cards for friends, or henrys baby book (potentially updated last at 6 months old...)- and i always say "oh i dont need to write that down, ill remember it because it was so good how could i forget?!". you know what happens. as with this blog about this race... i should have carried a microphone with me that day (not only for ALL the awesome singing. but i did a lot of self talking, and it would have made a great post. but alas, almost two months later, heres what youre gonna get.

this race was super awesome. the end.
pretty much.

the two other times ive run mount desert island marathon i was not in great shape. the first year i had run the maine marathon two weeks prior (1st time becoming a marathon maniac, and it was awesome and i think everyone should run two marathons in two weeks because why not?! all that training for one day? why would you do that? what a waste of time! and after you finish a marathon dont you always wish there was another so soon?! perfect!). well, thats what i used to think when id run marathons leisurely and not busting my ass to try to qualify for boston and stop and have snacks and take pics and just have fun. well... i still have snacks and have fun and all that. but somewhere along the way i took marathons a bit more seriously (still fun). the 2nd time i ran mdi was again 2 weeks after a marathon (smuttynose, where i went sub 4 for the first time!)... and i was also pregnant. it was cold and rainy and i.... didnt do so well. kinda freaked out halfway through. id rather not relive it.

but the point here is that the two times i ran mdi, i had not trained specifically for mdi. i had trained for the race 2 weeks earlier. mdi was a bonus run. i love love love mdi... the course, the people, everything. but i had never really given it my all. and this year i was destined to do so, and see what i could do.

for years i have run marathons training with a slightly modified plan from pete pfitzinger. 12 week plans, 18 week plans, 55ish miles per week. long runs 20-22 miles, speed work, marathon pace runs. id been pretty dedicated to these plans and went from a 3:58 to a 3:35. these plans were pretty comfortable and worked for me. yet, i looked for something different for this race, knowing i didnt have to try to run it as super fast as i could, i certainly didnt think i would be anywhere close to qualifying for boston at mdi, and just needed/wanted a change.

enter hansons marathon method.

a method it surely is. im not going to go into huge detail, theres a book for that. but long story short- you run a lot. but your longest run is 16 miles. dont get me wrong, i worried about that. but that 16 sure feels like a 20 miler. your legs are tired. you have one rest day. i felt like i was always. running. but strangely, i was loving it (while cursing it simultaneously). id get through runs and feel amazing. weeks went by and i just kept pushing through. end result was going to be a great race at mdi, i thought (hoped). i was still kinda nervous what would happen after mile 16, but i let it go. many people had used this plan, swore by it, said it worked for them. id have to just trust the process and see.

i didnt do all 18 weeks of the plan, but the weeks that i did, i followed almost exactly. i didnt rearrange much like i usually do. i found a way to make this plan work with my life and work and everything kinda fell into place. speed work 10 seconds faster than marathon pace, marathon pace right around 8 minute miles (knowing i would probably be running about 820s at mdi with the course terrain, but those 820s would feel like 8s). recovering adequately at slower paces. ab work (who am i?!). i actually worked really hard for this arbitrary marathon just to keep in shape and not quit running for the year leading into boston training. (sarah and i originally decided to use hansons because we didnt want to run 20 milers. i think we ran a whole hell of a lot more for this training than with pfitz plans, but i was ok with it... after it was all over haha).

my last run before heading to mdi (dressed ridiculously) i really questioned what the hell i was thinking. was i really ready to try to run a 3:40 at mdi? (or close to). i wasnt trying to qualify there (knowing i would need about a 3:37) but i felt that a 3:40 was within reach if i could keep my head in the game. i remembered how calm i felt before and during chicago. i needed to do that again. let it all go. trust your training. whatever happens, happens.

dress ridiculously knowing no one you know would see you, then post to the internet. whatever.

when i got to the expo i saw this banner that was made for the race. this was meant to be my race this year. i would have bid a million dollars on this banner if i had it. this sealed it for me. go big or go home.

courage to start, strength to endure, resolve to finish.

i was on this years operation jack team and met up with some other teammates at the pasta dinner, then listened to michael westphal speak. truly an inpiration.

me and jasmine

no night before the race is complete without one of these

lets do this

my previous years of doing mdi (2 full marathons, 1 half, 1 relay) were nothing short of amazing experiences with great friends. this year was no different. and just as chilly (but not rainy!) actually one year was almost warm. but not this year. 30 degrees forecast for race am. brrrrr.

race am sarah and i giggled and sang around the hotel room before heading to the start line.

flat sarah. she'll probably kill me for posting this. xo


we were smart and bought all sorts of warm clothes from goodwill (which neither of us threw away and i actually love the sweatpants). we grabbed kevin before the race to get our pre race photo, then took pics with friends (also all bundled up!) and got ready to go.


mile 1 8:25
mile 2 8:22
mile 3 8:22
mile 4 8:01
mile 5 8:11
mile 6 8:20

i had run a lot of training runs on the treadmill (thank you ifit!) and i had obviously run the course before, so i knew what i had coming. i had done a significant amount of hill training, so i was able to just power through, recover, etc. i had talked to ty (pacing the 3:45) group about his plans, and got a bit frustrated when his group passed me during the first few miles of the race. i kept having to tell myself to run my own race, if i had 3:45 (or better) in me, then id pass him again (which i did).

mile 7 8:29
mile 8 8:32
mile 9 8:30
mile 10 8:30
mile 11 8:26
mile 12 8:26
mile 13 8:07

i was shocked to come into the half almost exactly where i wanted to be. this gave me a huge boost. i hadnt looked at my overall times throughout the first miles because i felt if i could keep my miles around low to mid 8s, i would be fine. which i had been doing, but my body just felt differently. i wasnt sure what was going to happen after mile 16 and that stuck with me. when i had gotten to mile 10 in the race, i knew that all i had left was my longest training run. no big deal, right? just keep running. i was also getting really hot, and took off my long sleeve which helped tremendously (should have done that earlier). the wind along the coast line was going to be chilly but i had arm sleeves. i wouldnt regret this decision.

mile 14 8:18
mile 15 8:26
mile 16 8:01
mile 17 8:24
mile 18 8:35

like i said, i had a huge boost going through the half marathon distance. but i knew i still had 13 miles to go. everything actually felt good, minus some weird achy feeling in my ankle. new pains during goal races are pretty awesome.

running along the coastline with the infamous tree, the wind was relentless. everyone had said it was a wind tunnel last year, and this year was no different. i thought about tucking in behind these two tall guys in front of me, but instead i just decided to power through it and get the damn stretch over with. fastest mile of the race, dont mind if i do. (i basically regretted it shortly after, but at least i was through the wind).


around mile 17 i saw sara up ahead of me. i wanted desperately to run with her, but refused to risk later miles trying to sprint to catch her (shes so speedy. and was still speedy on her millionth mile of the day). i was finally within yelling reach at about mile 18, and she slowed down to stay and run a few miles with me. this was fantastic, as i was also able to con her and eric into taking my handheld and filling it up for me. thanks bitches! jk. love ya.

somewhere along this stretch i also saw sarah up ahead cheering for us. this deflated me big time, as i couldnt stop and figure out why she was there cheering and not running. ugh. i had to keep going, but she never left my mind for the rest of the race.

mile 19 8:30

ok. just a 10k left. thats seriously nothing. unless youve already run 20 on a super hilly course with the worst hills yet to come. yay. i definitely slowed down. but was determined to kill it. i was still thinking i was pretty damn close to actually qualifying for boston, which so many times during the race i had decided i didnt care about and was ok with stopping and having a picnic on the side of the road and potentially hitchhiking. oh marathon, you bitch.

mile 20 8:33
mile 21 8:34
mile 22 8:44
mile 23 8:43
mile 24 8:58

i knew i was slowing down, but it was necessary so that i didnt walk or cry. or quit. in reality i was actually in a really good spot. i had 2 miles left to go and i knew the last bit was almost flat/had a good downhill. and then i would be done! i had made it thru the worst. i didnt blow up. this plan was going to work, regardless of my time. during mile 24 i had done some shady mid run math (which is always terrible and horribly wrong) and figured i needed to do run sub 8s to qualify for boston (this actually might have been true but i have no idea) so i just smiled and sang "great big storm" on repeat, with a huge smile. and huge tears building up.

mile 25 8:29
mile 26 8:12
 0.26mi 1:57 (7:27 pace)

finish: 3:40:47
cue all the emotions

initial finish line feelings (pre tears)
(volunteers came to my aid when, after crossing the finish line, i dropped down to my knees. bawling)

actual finish line feelings (post tears)

i still dont even know what was going through my mind when i crossed the finish line. sarahs mom put my medal around my neck and i just cried and cried asking if sarah was ok. i finally found her (she was ok)... and then i could celebrate.

hard to see, but i ran 26.26 miles. perfect tangents. boom.

sarah n, me, sarah e

overall i would say this was, hands down, the best executed marathon ive ever run. almost exact splits for 1st and 2nd half races. sure the last few miles were slower, and theres always some marathon negative self talk, but this was nothing like in the past. i felt ready and strong. no real wall. hansons, you have made me a believer with one race... which might be scary, but im going to try it again. real soon... dont let me down.

marathon #13
131st overall
26th female
8th age group


  1. I used the Hanson method for 2014 Chicago. So much running, but it seemed to work for me. If I can ever convince myself to train for a marathon again (I'm a little gun shy after this injury) I'll probably try the Hanson method again.

  2. Yayyy! I get pretty excited to see your blog pop up :-)

  3. I've had a few marathons that have just felt "perfect." Isn't it just the best?

  4. I'm glad the Hansons method worked out for you. Many of my friends are starting to use it too.