I am officially past my half way point in training for my marathon. I start week 16 of 30 this week. My mileage is increasing to distances I never imagined I would run. I’m consistently running 3 miles at a time, 2 times a week. I have one weekday run that is slowly increasing. My “long run” on Saturdays are close to double digit numbers. I have to admit- it is getting hard, but I still enjoy it. I keep surprising myself with how my body and mind tackle the weekly challenges.
Since I started running last July, I’ve run around 250 miles. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILES. Granted I’ve tried to track mileage using apps and a wearable so the accuracy is about 90%…but dang. I never in a million years would have thought I could run over 200 miles, ever. I still look forward to each run. I still tell myself that I “get” to go run; I don’t “have” to run. The picture says it all. I’ve done it. I have paused my watch-and forgotten to start it again after whatever reason I used to pause it. I’m slowly learning that I do NOT pause the watch. My time may be longer but it is better than not recording miles!
I have learned that the right gear is vital to success. I’ve already changed out my shoes. I enjoyed the Asics but I am a Brooks girl. I have upgraded my custom inserts as well (still getting used to the new feel.) I asked for and received “heat” gear so I’m never cold when I do get to run outside. I will admit I am still a fair weather runner- anything below 20 degrees and I stay inside. I’m also not a fan of wind. The windchill in MN during the winter can be brutal. I know running a marathon on the flat plains of ND in May will be a windy beast and I will get back out into the wind. For now- I’m not risking wind burn or frost bite to train. Having insulated leggings and long sleeve heat shirts make all the difference on the 20 degree days.
I have learned that pain is not always necessary. I’m older than other marathon runners and I had started to think that because of my age and the condition of my body things like shin splints were going to be the norm. Thanks to my dedicated Packer Fan Physical Therapist the shin splints are almost completely gone. My plantar fasciitis has gone bonkers in my left foot, but I’ve been icing, stretching and wearing a boot at night and that too is starting to get better. I know this is just the half way point and there will be plenty more aches and pains but if I can run through this list of ailments, I can make it to the end.
I have also learned that recording calorie and water intake has been extremely important. At one point my husband told me that he didn’t think I was eating enough. I just laughed- when has that ever been a problem? I decided to install a calorie tracking app on my phone. It is a little more work but I quickly realized he was right. I still have some days where the app tells me that I am way under the recommended daily calorie intake. However, I know well before the day is done so I can rectify the problem if needed by adding a nice big plate of nachos before bed. My goal has never been to lose weight- I just want to enjoy running.
When running on the “dreadmill” – Netflix is a must. I know that sounds so “first world” but I have to admit- running on a treadmill is boring enough. But when you have to do more than 3 miles it can be down right mind numbing. I do not have the knack to read while running. I have watched several people do this at the Y and I just cannot do it. I have been able to get thru a full season of Iron Fist, The Shanaria Chronicles and have started the first season of Luke Cage and also started the second season of The Shanaria Chronicles. If I could figure out how to stream my DVR, I would be set…but having Netflix at my fingertips has been amazing.
I have also learned to relax a bit when it comes to the steady requirements of my training plan. As I was going thru therapy I had a few weeks where I only ran 2-3 times instead of 4. It was ok. I still made my long run each week. If I couldn’t physically run the full mileage- I made up the difference on the elliptical or stationary bike (and added a mile or two for extra conditioning). My goal is to finish the marathon, not place in the top 5 for my age category. I want to do well but I also realize I am NOT a runner and I am NOT going to kill myself to get to the end. The course will be open for 7 hours. I should be able to make it across the finish line in 7 hours. 🙂
I know the easy half is done. This training is going to get a lot longer and a lot harder, but I have yet to say I want to quit and I figure that is a good sign. I did hit a wall 2 weeks ago. I had ZERO motivation to run 4 times that week, but I sucked it up and got thru the week. I’ve learned to enjoy running. I like being able to tune out the world and just go. Looking into the future, I’m not sure if I will run another marathon but I certainly can see my self running 5 & 10K races in the future. Marathon training is very intensive. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have run marathons. Most say that it was fun to do once, but it is such a time commitment I’m not sure yet I want to commit to it again in the future. I’m getting ahead of myself. ONE race at a time…one day at a time. Speaking of- time to go run.