Friday, December 10, 2010

I’m a Lazy Lima Bean…

…and I don’t care.

Ok, I DO care…just not enough to lace up just yet. I’m on vacation. A hiatus. A running sabbatical if you will. Don’t worry, it wont last long since I’m running a local 5k next Saturday. I just have nothing big on the schedge. Breaking Pace is doing a half on 3/20 and I know me, I will do it. I’m just not ready to jump into a training plan just yet. I am enjoying the calm. I don’t HAVE to go for a run right now. I have no nagging chart with a glaring 5 Miles written in on Wednesday. And I am liking it for now. A couple of times I have wanted to go for a jog but really I am just recovering and taking it easy. I am searching the net for my next 26.2.  A week ago I thought I was probably done with the full marathon for a loooong while. But now, 5 days post Vegas, I am ready to put one on the calendar. Not right away though. I’m thinking Marine Corp next 10/11. I REALLY want to do OKC again…that was the best marathon EVER. But I am not sure I can commit to traveling right now. And the training would begin like, NOW.  I am sure there are some others around, like OBX, and I just have to put the feelers out.

So, I have been thinking about my training for Portland AND Vegas. Where did I succeed? Where did I go wrong? both of those marathons were completely different from my first marathon experience, which was awesome (read about it HERE)! It is funny how I can tell I am searching to have that first time feeling all over again…sadly I know I will only have one first marathon (this is starting to sound strangely like a talk I got in high school…you know, about  your first time. I would say the two are comparable. No? Ok, I’m just weird I guess.). Anyway, during Portland I kept thinking, “This is awful. I wish it was like OKC. That was amazing! What an awesome first marathon!”  Then I realized how lucky I was to have had such a great first marathon, to make me want to do more! Portland was awful. Enough to make me want to hang up my shoes and start curling or  something. If I hadn’t been signed up for Vegas I am sure Portland could have been the death of my running. I needed Vegas to put the love back into running. I needed Vegas to show myself that it wasn’t that bad, Portland was just a bad run/race day.  It is kind of like when you fall down you have to get back up right away, or else you will never get back up. I had a choice, be defeated or fight back. Vegas was my fight back.

So I tried to mentally prepare for Vegas. I had positive thoughts and good expectations. I was not going for time, per say. I wanted to do better than Portland, but I really just wanted to have a better experience. And I did, thanks to Mel.

My training for each marathon was completely different.

OKC- My plan was rigid and to the T. I hardly any missed runs. I stuck to the plan with intervals, tempo runs, hill work and track/speed work.  I did cross training, weights, and core strengthening. I focused on nutrition pre and post runs. I was also 10-12 pounds lighter (HUGE DIFFERENCE). And the strangest thing? My weekly mileage was not that high. Once I started training my lowest was10 miles and my highest was 33.5.  I averaged about 20 miles a week probably. It was the QUALITY of each run, not the distance….FOR SURE! Time: 4:09.50

Portland- I slacked a little bit throughout.  I stopped the weights and cross training (only kept water aerobics in the mix). I didn’t do my intervals or tempo runs. Nutrition flew out the window. I gained about 10 pounds. My weekly mileage was much higher than for OKC (maybe I was fatigued?).  I only had 2 weeks under 21 miles (OKC had 7 weeks under 20 miles)! So higher mileage and lower quality runs….I was in good physical condition but my mental game was OFF. I had quit three jobs, packed up my house, dealt with all sorts of tough emotional things, left my friends and made a pit stop to run a marathon while moving across the country. Tough mental marathon. Time: 4:32.47

Vegas-This was new…I had 8 weeks between Portland and Vegas. That was part of the challenge. I did absolutely  no weights, core exercises, and no cross training (other than one small hike and one cross fit session and one trip to the gym for weights). Nutrition again was not great but there was no weight gain and maybe three pounds loss. Score! My weekly mileage was good; of the 8 weeks I had 4 weeks under 23 miles. But the miles that I did run were pretty much just out and run, no tempo, intervals, speed work or hill work. My mental game was much better for the run. I was excited, less stressed and ready to tackle the 26.2. I needed to punch it in the face and say “TAKE THAT JERK! THAT IS FOR SUCKING IN PORTLAND, MEANIE.” Time: 4:30.56

*(TWO minutes faster than Portland! Not just one!)

So, from this I have learned these valuable lessons:

  • It is not how many miles you run but the quality of the runs you do.
  • Cross training, weights and core are a huge and important part of training for a marathon (or running for that matter).
  • Carrying extra weight slows you down…
  • Focus on nutrition as fuel.
  • Marathon running is as much mental as it is physical. Our minds can play mean, nasty tricks on us! Be strong mentally and you will be able to go the distance!
  • Recovery is key. Take rest days to recover after long runs, because like I already said, it is not the miles so much as the quality of runs. Junk runs and junk miles do NOT equal quality.

Now, who has decided to train for a marathon!? I would not trade my experiences for anything! With each finish line came growth, self-confidence, self-awareness, perseverance and accomplishment. These are things that many people search for over a life-time! And I have found it three times in 8 months! What are you waiting for? Pick a race and get out there!!!!








  1. I see you are smiling with your medal after each marathon. Each marathon has it's own reward regardless of the experience. Some times it's not as evident because we let other things cloud our judgement.

  2. great seeing you so happy ... you buy your smile every day of your training ... it's good you get your money's worth at the end! :)

    I agree with your observation about junk runs ... I was sandbagging a few in my training until I realized I was cheating myself and then things improved!

  3. I am signing up for the marine corps marathon once registration opens in Feb. Cannot wait! DO IT!

  4. Seriously reading yours and Mel's race reports I have been playing that back and forth about training for another marathon! I want to run another one BAD but am struggling with the time it takes for long runs. How did you squeeze it in?

  5. I definitely agree that QUALITY training makes all the difference. But for now... enjoy the rest! :)

  6. It's funny how qucikly we forget the pain and work needed to complete a marathon. I signed up for my 2nd one the day after completing my first. No matter how bad the marathon is, it's still an incredible feeling everytime you see the 26.2 finish line. I'm sure you're next one will go better.

  7. I agree on the quality. I honestly think I had many weeks with just too many miles and it wore me out. Ugh.

    I plan to register for MCM on Feb. 23rd when it opens. Hope you will too!

  8. Have you ever done a trail race? Changing it up and doing a 25K would be a fun challenge for you! If you want to run some trails next time you are in OK, then I'd love to run with you. :) And there are some fun trail races in OK.

  9. Great post! I'm with you on the quality runs. I find I burn out if I run too much, and it's meant that throughout my life I've taken up and quit running countless times.

    When I started running again about 6 months ago I made a conscience choice to only run 3 days a week. Granted, I've only been working towards HALF marathons, but I definitely feel like that's been more than enough to prepare me for the distance. I'm thinking about signing up for a full next year and sticking with my 3 runs/week plan.

    Anyway...sorry for blabbering on. Great job on all your marathon success!

  10. Great post! I agree on quality over quantity. I did that for my marathon and it really worked out! Good luck on choosing your next marathon!

  11. Just found your blog. Very cool! I am now a follower. Check out my blog: Congrats on all those marathons! You rock!

  12. Let's find one we can both get to and set our training plans for quality runs only! When is OBX? This post makes me want to try for #7 and I thought I was done after Portland. I'm serious. Let's do this thing!!

  13. Instructional post on how to build endurance in the body. Thanks for providing info on different marathon training methods depending on altitude and climate. Does it make a difference to work on flexibility primarily rather than cross-training with weights?


You're pretty much awesome!!


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