Monday, March 3, 2014

The One Where I (Almost) Run a Marathon

Yes, you read that right.  I finally did a marathon. Sort of. (The course was called when I hit mile 17, more on that in a future post).

Can you guess why I decided to do it?

Couldn't have anything to do with obnoxiously huge, shiny, bright colored things... nope, not at all.

Anyway, I'll post my official race recap in the coming days... but for now, the story of how it all started.  I have been writing the below over the course of the last 7-8 months ... on each actual day things were happening, so you are getting a true diary of my life in training. 

And so, the story goes something like this...


8/2/2013  - Oh sh!t.  I feel like I am going to vomit.  I just registered for my first Marathon.  I think I need to take some deep breaths into a paper bag.  Don't pass out, don't pass out, don't pass out... don't tell anyone!  What if you don't finish!  No one can know until you cross the finish!  (OK, ok, partial fail - your sister is already on to you, as is your retired marathoner coworker.  And duh, your husband has to know, since he's attending the event.  But no one else can know.)


Training weeks 1 - 13
(technically, half training/conditioning for the Chicago Half, Mankato Half and Monster Half)

Week 1 - Mon 5, Wed 5, Sun 10 - feelin' good - week: 20 miles / accumulative: 20 miles

Week 2 - Tues 3, Wed 5, Sat 3, Sun 9 - moving right along - week: 20 miles / accumulative: 40 miles
Week 3 - Wed 10, Sat 3 - vacation lazy - week: 13 miles / accumulative : 53 miles
Week 4 - Wed 5, Thurs 3, Sun 7 - hottest week of year - week: 15 miles / accumulative: 68 miles
Week 5 - Tues 3, Thurs 3, Sat 3 - Chicago tapering - week: 9 miles / accumulative: 77 miles

Thoughts thus far: I am already noticing tenderness on my "pointer" toes (the second toe, next to the big toe).  I think it's because that is my longest toe, and it rubs some on my longer runs.  I wonder how long it will take to turn black and fall off... I hear that's a marathoning thing...


Week 6 - Wed 5, Sun 13 (Chicago Half) - week: 18 miles / accumulative: 95 miles
Week 7 - Wed 3 - lazy week - week: 3 miles / accumulative: 98 miles
Week 8 - Mon 5, Wed 4, Thurs 2, Sun 10 - week: 21 miles / accumulative: 119 miles
Week 9 - Mon 2, Wed 4, Thus 2, Sun 12 - week: 23 miles / accumulative: 142 miles

Week 10 - Wed 4, Sun 8 - week: 12 miles / accumulative: 154 miles
Week 11 - Mon 5, Tues 3, Wed 4, Fri 8 - week: 20 miles / accumulative: 174 miles
Week 12 - Wed 4, Thurs 3, Sun 13 (Mankato Half) - week: 20 miles / accumulative: 194 miles
Week 13 - Wed 4, Sat 13 (Monster Half) - week: 17 miles / accumulative: 211 miles

Thoughts this far: Well, no lost or black toenails, maybe I'm in the clear?  Knock on wood.  I did, however, finally invest in my first stick of body glide.  And I'm really starting to notice lots of holes in my running socks.  Plus my headphones burnt out, so I need a new pair.  I can tell this is going to get expensive soon.  On an up side, 20 mile weeks have become the norm for me now instead of an impressive exception, and I'm definitely noticing that effect on my body being I'm down 2-3 pounds without trying... good thing I have a little fat that needs to go.  I'm also feeling quite confident in going beyond 13.1, since I've PR'd back to back weekends at the Mankato and Monster half races - with energy left in the tank (meaning I felt like I could have kept going).  I'm definitely mentally ready for 14 and beyond.

Money spent so far: $12 x 2 (1 dozen new socks) = $24, plus $7 body glide, plus $90 registration fee... but still looking for new replacement headphones (my preferred style was discontinued - gasp!!).  Total = $121... and new shoes are on the horizon, since I've already put in 200+ miles on the pair I'm using now...


Training weeks 14 and beyond, guided by the Little Rock suggested beginners training plan
(ok, now it's real, I'm training for a MARATHON - oh my god)

Week 14 - 4 Fri, 10 Sun - recovery post 2x half races - week: 14 miles / accumulative: 225 miles

Week 15 - 3 Mon, 3 Tues, 4 Wed, 2 Thurs, 12 Sun - week: 24 / accumulative: 249
Week 16 - 5 Mon, 5 Wed, 3 Thurs, 12 Sun - week: 25 / accumulative: 274
Week 17 - 5 Wed, 8 Fri - whoops, that was a bad one - week: 13 / accumulative: 287
Week 18 - 6 Thurs, 6 Fri - yeah, can you tell I got sick? - week: 12 / accumulative: 299

Week 19 - 6 Wed, 14 Sun  - week: 20 / accumulative: 319
Week 20 - 4 Thurs, 16 Sat - week: 20 / accumulative: 339
Week 21 - 8 Wed, 3 Sat, 12 Sun - week: 23 / accumulative: 362
Week 22 - 16 Thurs, 10 Sun - week: 26 / accumulative: 388

Thoughts this far: I am losing my MOJO and I know it.  Running twice per week is NOT ok.  My New Years resolution better be to kick it up a notch.  But, with a vacation coming up, that's going to be tricky.  As long as I get it back in check in the next few weeks, I should be ok.  Regardless, putting in almost 400 miles in under 6 months is amazing for me, so I can't be too disappointed in myself!  Also, I can't help but snicker when everyone around me is bitching about their holiday weight gain... I'm down a few more pounds, and I've been eating whatever the heck I want from the holiday treat trays.  Suckers!

Money spent so far: $12 x 2 (1 dozen new socks) = $24, $7 body glide, $90 registration fee, luckily I found an old pair of headphones so I'm off the hook there, new shoes on Black Friday sale $120, spare pair of winter running tights $80... Total = $321... at least I got a lot of fitness stuff for Christmas, so that helps with having to buy more socks or clothes.  But, I just used up my last GU and am almost out of Nu'un tabs.  I'm in trouble.  Queue more spending.


Week 23 - 10 Fri, 14 Sun - week: 24 / accumulative: 412
Week 24 - 17 Wed, 3 Sat - vacation, here we come!! - week: 20 / accumulative: 432
Week 25 - 4 Tues - Yep, it was vacation all right - week: 4 / accumulative: 436
Week 26 - 18 Sat - Vacation excuse time is up, lazy ass!! - week: 18 / accumulative 444
Week 27 - 6 Thurs, 12 Sat - week: 18 / accumulative 462

Thoughts this far: Reality is setting in.  This is a long fucking distance.  It makes me nervous and excited all at once.  To help motivate myself, like when I'm on mile 8 of a long training run and I just want to quit, I try to envision the finish line and the huge medal I'm going to get ... which makes me a little teary eyed.  I'm sure everyone wonders who the weirdo at the gym is that's spending hours on a treadmill, choking back tears one second and singing gangsta rap the next.  Speaking of treadmills, record lows of -50 degrees (F) did NOT help motivate me out of my running slump at the beginning of the month.  But, on the plus side, I've learned to love saying "only 4 more miles" on a treadmill... I used to think my total limit was 3-4 miles, so I guess that's something!  On the flip side, all this treadmill time means EVERYONE at the gym is on to me.  I'm pretty sure most people know by now that I'm training for something big.  I even had to tell a few people who were worried I was starting to have an exercise obsession, as well as the gym's run coach because I needed a sanity check (I'm really starting to freak out, I'm not kidding).  I'm not sure that this secret will stay under wraps much longer...


Week 28 - 3 Wed, 15 Sat - that was NOT a 20 miler (more below) - week: 18 / accumulative 480
Week 29 - 17 Sun - yes, I ran ONCE this week :-( - week: 17 / accumulative 497
Week 30 and beyond - don't ask.  Just know I at least didn't get sick again on another long run.

Thoughts this far: I will not get in a 20 miler for my training and I am shitting myself for it.  Literally.  I got so sick mid long run week 28 that I had to take a potty stop - first time ever.  Even after being terribly sick, I tried to walk it off for about 3 miles.  Then I got even more sick and decided I had better just quit.  Thankfully so, since I proceeded to lay on the floor and feel ill for about 20 minutes.  After some discussion with the gym's run coach, I found out that I should probably not be using a mix of gels and energy drinks.  Testing that theory the following weekend and keeping to only water and gels, I found success in a 17 miler.  So, I feel a little more confident - that I won't die on course anyway.  I have embraced the fact that I am cross training too much and not running enough (I've got some personal reasons behind this which I'll talk about in a future post, maybe in a few weeks), and thus have changed my focus for the marathon.  I will NOT fault myself for walking during the race, and just hope to come in under the 6 hour run/walk cut off time (there IS an 8 hour early start option for walkers, but I'm going to try to run the best I can and stick with the 6 hour group).  I am so nervous for this race that I am googling "how to finish a marathon with no training" on a daily basis.


Race time:
Week 31 - don't talk to me.

Final thoughts: this is it.  I am doing this.  OMG... (more to follow)...


** Of course, this schedule does not include my usual high intensity group fitness classes, hot yoga, biking, etc.  Also, there is minimum one day each week of rest, meaning absolutely no activity.


  1. Oh my goodness. I cannot believe that you were able to keep this endeavor under wraps for all these months! I am looking forward to hearing more about the actual race!

    1. HA! It was harder than you think! And I think a few people are mad at me that I didn't queue them in sooner... ;-)