Marathon Journey

3:45 PM

Now that I'm several weeks into marathon training, 
I thought I'd do a post to update you on my progress.

Using the LR Marathon Training plan, we're in the 9th week of training. The Marathon is March 1st, 2015.  Using the Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer (what I set out with the intent to follow), then I'm officially in my 1st week of training.  Since I've been running the long runs on Saturdays going by the Marathon Training plan, I'm ahead of schedule. For example, my first long run of the Non-Runners should be this Saturday, and I should run 5 miles. Well, I already ran 12 miles last Saturday, so I'm way beyond just 5 miles. Which is nice, but also may be presenting me with some problems.

For starters, the Non-Runners plan is only a 16 week training plan, while the other is a 24 week plan. A whole 2 months longer. And I really started building my base in August and joined the local running group in September.  The problem is that I want to run 4 days/week instead of 5, and at the same time, only increase my mileage per week by 10%.  In order to not totally confuse myself, I drew up a new training schedule sort of combing both plans - and actually, within a few weeks, the long runs on Saturdays (for both plans) start to sync up, so it's just a matter of divvying up the run distances during the week so I'm not over-doing it or under-doing it. 

I also scheduled in cross-training such as swimming, cycling and lifting, because I want to give my body some time off from hitting the pavement and maintain muscle strength.  
Here's where things don't always go as planned:
I get tired or super busy or we end up babysitting people's kids or something comes up and our evenings get out of whack, and I don't get to lift or swim or cycle, so I'm not getting the balance I think I need. Or I miss a run morning and make up for it the next day by doing more miles or by trying to bump up the pace and I over-do it. 

Plus, hanging over my head is this big question of whether I am running with the right shoes. 
This seems kind of silly, writing about it, but shoes are HUGE in running.
I have worn Mizuno Wave Riders for years, and really loved them, but early in the summer, when I started running more, I noticed my toe hurting. Turns out I needed a whole size bigger running shoe, but when I went to the running store to get evaluated, instead of getting Mizuno's in a bigger size, I ended up walking out of there with an Adidas Boost shoe.  I tested out about 10 different shoes, after which time I'm not sure I was really deciphering anything different between each shoe.  For some reason, I didn't like the feel of the Mizuno Wave Rider version they had, and I don't know...I ended up with a different shoe, plus some orthotics. 

I continue to wonder whether what I really need is to go back to my old shoe style in a bigger size. 
Because all the sudden, I am having knee pain, and I don't know if it's the end result of my being in the wrong shoe, or doing something odd when I run, or what.

As far as mileage, I have to say that running is a continual process of self-discovery.
I would never have dreamed I could feel such pleasure at running 8, 10, 12 miles at a time.
I know you're allowed to stop and walk or whatever, but when you are able to really run it without walking, the feeling of accomplishment is unbelievable. Not to mention that you really do get into a flow and those miles just slip by so fast.  And when you mentally set a goal - waking up at 5AM with the express purpose of running 12 miles - there's no way it's not happening. I am GOING to run those 12 miles. And I'm going to enjoy it. And I do.

I have also discovered the amazing advantage of running with people.
After about my 3rd run with the LR Training group, I found a woman who runs my same pace, and we have met up on those long runs and stuck together. A few times, we bumped into other similarly paced individuals and passed those miles just chatting away. It's amazing how fast 10 miles can pass when you're talking, building a friendship, discussing things....Plus, these are people who understand. They know the passion to accomplish something big that most people will never attempt. They know the sacrifice of getting up early or running late in the evening. They are also managing families and kids and lives. They get it, and therefore, you get each other.

One of the advantages of running with my new friend is that we hold each other to the pace we set. It also helps now that I have a Garmin watch that I can easily glance down and see what pace we're at, as well as what my heartrate is (to know whether I'm pushing too hard) and what my cadence is.  For the first several weeks, I would run and wait for Map My Run to give me my split pace at the end of each mile - no fun. I made the investment of a Garmin tri watch (Forerunner 310XT) and after figuring out the ins and outs, am loving it! It's also cool to be able to upload my workout statistics wirelessly after every run/swim/bike ride. 

A disadvantage of running with my new friend is that I might be pushing it a little too hard sometimes.  Not because of her, but because my competitive nature makes it difficult for me to not want to rise to a challenge, which isn't always good because every run is not a race.  Once you realize you are capable of running a certain pace, it's hard to go back.

Another part of this process I cherish is that I have reconnected with old friends.  One of my dearest friends whom I lost touch with after quitting work to stay home and raise my babies, is a serious runner. By chance a few weeks ago, we ran together and instantly our friendship was rekindled. I love having her to text and bounce running questions off of , to share the elation of completing a long run without it seeming like bragging, to encourage and support each other in our similar goals.  It's been such a joy for me. 

They say you never finish a marathon the same person as when you began. I can already see that is true, and I'm 4 months away from the actual marathon date. 
I can only pray that God blesses me with good health the remainder of the way, because this journey is one worth finishing.

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