Tag Archives: marathon

How to Run a Marathon When You’re Undertrained

Before I start, let me just say that I do NOT think you should purposely not train adequately for a marathon. In the ideal world, everyone should train appropriately and for weeks in preparation to run a marathon. But sometimes, as we all know, life gets in the way and training gets bumped to the side.

So with that initial disclaimer out of the way, now I will tell you how I was able to run a marathon injury-free without a lot of training – in the hope that it may help someone else if he/she ever faces a similar predicament. Again – I’m not encouraging you approach running a marathon in this manner. Just saying, worst case scenario, here are some things that helped ME. These tips may not work for everyone, but I think they helped me finish my fourth race in one piece.

Here we go with my tips for the undertrained:

  • Run Consistently: Even if you can’t manage to stick to your training plan in the least and it’s pretty much a joke to reference it at all, you should still try to run as much as possible. My schedule wouldn’t allow me to run 40-50 miles a week, but there were definitely a few weeks in the 30 mile range. Basic idea – even if you can’t train to the level you want, you should be running. I would NEVER encourage someone who hadn’t been running at ALL to try a marathon. You need a base. My base was 240 miles.
  • Get in Some Long Runs: So for this marathon, my longest “long” run was only 16 miles. That’s not long at all. For my last marathon, I ran a 20 miler and 22 miles. But I did get in a few long runs this time around: 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 miles – that was the extent of my long runs. But imagine if I hadn’t at least run those?!! Get in as many as you can. That’s the basic point here.
  • Eat Well: Even though I hadn’t been running a TON over the past four months, I can say that I’ve been eating very healthy. I was probably watching my foods even more BECAUSE I wasn’t running. I knew that if my activity level went down, my weight could go up. So I was careful not to overeat, and to be sure that most of what I was eating was natural, not highly processed, lower in fat, etc. All that good stuff. I don’t care what people say – what you eat DOES matter when marathoning. I went into this marathon at a good weight, and knowing that I had nutrition on my side.
  • HYDRATE: I took hydration to a new level with this race. Early in the week before, I was sipping on coconut water and hydrating like CRAZY. Then a day before the race, I started using nuun tablets in my water for an extra boost of hydration and electrolytes. I also took a nuun tablet in my water the morning of the race. Hydration was never an issue for me during this race.
  • Go Slow & Take Breaks: I fully admit that I am that girl that busts out from the starting line at full speed, fueled by adrenaline and excitement, feeling invincible and ready to eat the marathon for breakfast. This time around, I was NOT that girl. I knew I needed to start off slow. And while my first few miles were still a little faster than what I had intended, they weren’t insane. They were manageable. And I continued to keep it slow. And then finally, when things got really tough at the end, I walked. It was a first for me, but my main concern was to finish the race and finish it injury free. I knew that walking would help get me there. Slow and steady and breaks when necessary. That is perhaps my best advice to someone feeling under-trained.
  • Don’t Stress: Lastly, try not to stress yourself out (and potentially psych yourself out) before the race. Yes, so you’re not as trained as you’d like. Well there really isn’t much you can do about it now. So if you’ve made the decision to run the race, then don’t second guess it or freak yourself out. Remind yourself that if things get really bad, you always have the option to stop completely. A DNF is not the worst thing in the world – your health is certainly more important. Stay calm, keep your head in a good place and just run it as best you can.

 

 YAY happy finish photo! And then after you’ve finished the marathon (undertrained perhaps), my final piece of advice is to foam roll, stretch and rehydrate like crazy!! After doing that, I was pleasantly surprised to not feel that sore the next day.

And that’s it. Those are my fairly obvious and not-so-groundbreaking tips to help someone undertrained run and finish a marathon injury-free.

What about you? Have you ever run a race with fewer miles logged than you would have liked? What was your secret for survival?

 

 

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2011 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon Race Recap

Well, I did it! I ran my 4th marathon on Sunday, October 9 in Schenectady/Albany, NY. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was pretty nervous about this race because I was admittedly under-trained.  I had run about 240 miles in training and my longest run was 16 miles. I had good reason to be nervous.

Things that were in my favor: I ran the Boston Marathon in April, so I hoped some training maintenance had carried over; I’ve been running pretty consistently; I’ve had a bunch of long runs recently; and I have been eating very well over the past few months.

But don’t get me wrong, I know this wasn’t a smart decision. If I didn’t think I was in decent enough shape to do it, I would have bowed out. But deep down, I just knew I’d be all right.

I woke up the morning of the race a few minutes before my alarm with a nervous stomach. Not unusual for me. I got up, ate a giant bowl of oatmeal, had a cup of coffee, and then started hydrating. I tried nuun for the first time for this race and I’ll write a separate post about that.

I ran this race with my friend Lauren – we ran this race together back 2009 as well – my very first marathon. We headed to the start around 7:45 and immediately got in the bathroom line. We took the requisite pre-race photo…

Then we headed to the start, chatted with a few people we knew, and then we were off! It was a very quick start.

Our goal was to keep our pace pretty easy and consistent in the beginning. The adrenaline and the crowd tend to tempt me to pick up my pace. And I knew that especially in this race, with not much training, that could not happen. Our first few miles were still a little faster than we intended:

Mile 1 – 8:47
Mile 2 – 8:37
Mile 3 – 8:30
Mile 4 – 8:34

My parents were around the 4 mile mark cheering and taking some photos. At this spot, they only really got our backs…

We look like we were chatting away. At this point, we both felt great. And as we should, it was the first few miles. We had a gorgeous day for our race, but maybe a little too gorgeous. The beginning temps were perfect, but as the race went on, it got a little bit hot.

We began to try to slow things down after about mile 5:

Mile 5 – 8:32
Mile 6 – 8:50
Mile 7 – 8:51
Mile 8 – 9:01

When we hit our 9 minute mile, I decided that this pace seemed somewhat sustainable and I wanted to try to keep it there for a bit. I was starting to feel a tightness in my left foot and I worried that anything faster would start to take its toll on my body. We also started taking either water or Gatorade at every stop – which was every 2 miles.

Mile 9 – 9:03
Mile 10 – 9:13

A little bit after mile 10, I took my first Gu at the water stop there. I decided to take it around 10 and 20. My body was needing it at the 10 mile mark and I prayed that the caffeine would kick in quick. From mile 10.5 – about 13 we had a few uphills, and it was starting to get hot.

Mile 11 – 9:43
Mile 12 – 9:41
Mile 13 – 9:52

A little bit after mile 13 we saw my parents again, cheering with a big crowd. My mom snapped a few pictures.

We look so cheery! But I think at this point, we were both really feeling a little weary. We knew we were only halfway with a lot more running to go. We said hello and goodbye to my parents and trudged on. We saw Lauren’s whole family at mile 14 and she decided to stop and stretch a bit. She told me to keep moving.

Mile 14 – 9:33
Mile 15 – 9:03

Just after leaving Lauren and around mile 15, I had to deal with the two most annoying marathon runners. The first was a woman who decided to stop and “turn around because she started out way too fast” and apparently had some issues. She turned around to run with (and to my mind torment) two apparent colleagues. How did she torment them (and everyone around her)? By singing screaming  songs on her iPod and random cheers/jeers every 10 seconds. Literally, she did not stop. She was trying to “pump up” these two guys, but really she was just utterly obnoxious. A huge part of me wanted to tell her to shut up, but my better judgement prevailed. However, I passed two other runners who said I should do it because they had wanted to tell her to zip for a while as well.

Thankfully, I was able to pass the obnoxious girl in about a mile or two and get out of earshot, so I didn’t want to rip my hair out. I made it to 16 and then saw my parents again at 17.

Mile 16 – 9:04
Mile 17 – 9:02

I was actually feeling pretty good still… even though the photo makes it seem otherwise. Just waiting for the other shoe to drop and the pain to set in. Oh and I said there were TWO annoying runners. Well, the second was really a group of runners. There was an Asian team of runners, whose apparent Captain seemingly kept them all “motivated” by randomly screaming “WHooo HAA, Whhhoo HAA” in an extremely loud voice. The first time he did this, I thought it was a signal that they wanted to pass so I got nervous and moved over. But no, just randomly every few minutes this guy did this and scared the beejesus out of me. The obnoxious woman and the Whoo-Ha crew actually overlapped their stay in my run for about a mile, and I thought for sure I was being punished for something. Looking back, now I think it was the motivation I needed to keep up my pace and pull away from them. I ditched Screaming Lady and the Who-Ha Crew and trudged on.

Mile 18 – 9:00
Mile 19 – 8:57

After mile 18, we moved onto the main road in Watervliet and it was HOT! No shade, running on the streets with traffic, inhaling some awesome exhaust. My parents were there around just before mile 20, and they said they could tell I was totally faking my smile this time around.

Yeah, I was starting to feel the pain. I’ve got my Gu in my hand here, ready to throw it back at the next water stop, which came just after this photo was taken. I downed my Gu and tried to keep my pace up, but it became tough. By the time  I hit mile 21, I was running smack into “The Wall.”

Mile 20 – 9:24
Mile 21 – 9:38
Mile 22 – 9:58

I told myself I needed to make it to the water stop at mile 23 and then I would do something I’ve NEVER done in a race before – I would walk. Desperate times people, desperate times. I know myself. I know my body. And I knew that walking may not be a helpful thing for me because I may NEVER start running again.

I grabbed a water and Gatorade at 23 and started walking. It was a strange new experience, and I fully admit I felt embarrassed. I didn’t want to walk. I wanted to run. But I just couldn’t. I hadn’t trained hard, I needed a break. And I knew I needed to do this to be able to finish at all. But it also HURT. Walking isn’t an immediate relief. It’s just a new kind of pain – maybe a little less intense – but still pretty awful. After about 1/4 of a mile, I tried to start running again, and OH LORD, that was pain.

I managed to get moving and told myself I was allowed ONE MORE walk break.

Mile 23 – 9:58
Mile 24 – 10:53

I decided to take my next break around mile 24.4. This time around, I was prepared for the pain, but again not the embarrassment and even anger I felt at myself. I know people walk in marathons. I’ve run a few, I see it happen. But I didn’t want to do it.

As I was mulling over my guilt, one of the guys handing out water said: “Great job guys. Remember, it’s totally fine to take a break right now. You just have to look good from mile 25 to the end.” I wanted to hug him. I knew he was right. I knew that in the thick of this race, out on the bike path with no spectators, it was completely my time to deal with my pain however I needed. I had every right to walk or even stop if I needed to.

I walked for a little bit longer and then decided around 24.75 I wanted to start-up again.

Mile 25 –  11:43

I started running again at mile 25 and decided that was it. I was going all the way to the end running. I had to force myself not to check my Garmin because it felt like it was taking forever. But finally, I could feel the end and knew I’d see it soon. I tried to pick up my pace and push harder.

As I rounded the last .2 miles, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief very close. And every time this happens in a marathon I want to cry. So as I passed the family and friends lining the final .1 of a mile, I fought back my tears and tried to smile. And then I was crossing the finish!!

Mile 26 – 9:40
.25 – 2:10

Final Time: 4:04:59

It was my slowest marathon so far, but I didn’t care in the least. I wasn’t fully prepared and was happy to just finish it without any injuries. Not every race is going to be your best, and not every race will allow you to prepare like you want. But I was extremely proud of my will to power through the pain and finish strong.

And I can NOT say enough thank yous to my family and friends cheering during this race. My parents were literally everywhere, and even at mile 20 when I didn’t want anymore photos and could barely crack a smile, I was still so happy to see them.

And that’s all folks – my fourth marathon is done! Hurray! 🙂

I’m Going to Run a Marathon in 3 Days

No, I’m not making this up. Yes, I am probably crazy. No, you can’t talk me out of it. No, you probably shouldn’t try this at home.

So ages ago I signed up for the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, which takes place in my hometown, and I ran this same race in 2009. It was my very first marathon and it was amazing.

My friend (Lauren pictured above) and I decided to run it again. But then a lot of summer plans and changes started happening, and really conflicted with my running schedule. I decided to bow out and disappoint my friend. I was very sad. She was very sad. It was all very sad.

As the months passed, I kept running. Certainly not what I would have been running if I were really training, but running nonetheless. There were even some long runs sprinkled in there.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago when the crazy part of me started wondering if I could do it. I hadn’t trained like I should, but I had definitely maintained some of my endurance from my April marathon.

So I gave myself a test last weekend. I ran 16 miles at a very decent effort to see how I would feel at the end. And the result was that I felt great.  Don’t worry, like I said – that was NOT all my training. I have 240 miles logged as well. 🙂 Not nearly as much as I’d normally run, but it’s not nothing, right?

Ok – I will pause to let all you other runners yell at me (okay and my husband and parents). But I am going to give it a shot. I know people who have run a marathon with less training than I’ve put it and lived to tell the tale. And it won’t be my first rodeo – this will be my fourth.

Yes, I will admit that a huge part of me is really nervous about my sub-par training, and yes, I am yelling at myself quite a bit. But the other part of me remembers how amazing this race was, how fantastic it was to run it with my friend, and how much energy I got from seeing all our friends and family cheering for us.

So, perhaps against my better judgement (and the resistance of my family and husband), I’m going to do it. The worst that can happen is I’ll drop out. And if I do, I’m not far from home – someone will come pick me up.

But my gut tells me I can do it. Do I think it will be painful – heck yes. Do I think I may cry – it’s likely. But I’ve been through both those things before.  And at the end of the day, don’t we all have to be a little crazy to want to run a marathon at all? I think all us marathoners have some crazy in us – we love the challenge, we like to test ourselves. So I guess I’ve just upped the ante a bit, intensified the challenge.

Ok – I open up the forum. Go ahead and yell at me and tell me I’m stupid. Warn me against doing it. List all the possible problems. Or, if you’re feeling kind – tell me you think it’s possible, that if I have the drive and take it slow – I’ll be just fine. Or tell me when you’ve trained less than you would have liked and it all turned out okay – those stories always help pump up my confidence.

And stay tuned – I’ll let you know on Sunday if I made it to the end!

Guest Post: First Marathon with a Sub 3 Hour Goal

Since I’m not running a fall marathon this year (sadness), I decided to check in with my friend’s husband to see how his training for his very first marathon is going. He is running it in October in my hometown and he has a BIG goal – sub 3 hours! Just between you, me (and the blog world) – I’m pretty sure he’s got this goal in the bag. He is super speedy and I can’t wait to see him crush his goal. Anyway, here is a fun guest blog from Bob on training for his very first marathon. Welcome Bob!

———

Thanks, Lindsey, for encouraging me to make my first foray into the world of blogging.  Hopefully this will be a bit more interesting than the usual stuff I write for work (I’m an engineer, so most of my writing material could be used as insomnia treatment).

The Mohawk-Hudson marathon in October will be my first marathon, but I’m no stranger to running.  I ran cross-country and track in high school and college and have trained moderately since then, mixing in the occasional summer road race. 

When I was younger, I figured that I would run a marathon within a couple seasons of finishing my eligibility (I finished my eligibility in ’96).  Unfortunately, the competitive side of me has been a hindrance to getting that first marathon under my belt (ironic sounding, since most people who know me outside of running would not use the word “competitive“ to describe me unless it was prefaced by the word “not“).  I’d always said to myself and others that if I was going to run a marathon, that I would do it “right” and put in some serious training.  Now that my definition of serious training has changed (I no longer feel the need to train like I’m 22), I’m finally ready.  Nonetheless, because I know that competing keeps my motivation to train higher, I’ve decided I want to not only finish my first marathon but shoot for a personally challenging time.  I want to break 3 hours.

Right now I’m a few weeks into my serious training for the marathon.  I’m actually following a workout schedule for the first time since college (I got the schedule off of the Runner’s World website).  I‘m not traditionally a huge fan of schedules and to-do lists (ask my wife), but I view it as a necessary evil.  Every week has a couple of easy runs and three tougher runs.  The tougher runs are: an interval workout on the track at paces well ahead of goal race pace, a 6-9 mile tempo run at about 20-40 seconds ahead of goal race pace depending on the distance, and a long run (14-22 miles) at a pace that is a little slower than goal race pace.    

The workouts are going okay for the most part, but there have been a couple of hiccups.  It’s been pretty easy to meet my time goals on the track workouts.  I’m usually well ahead of my goals, and I always feel pretty good at the end of the workout.  The tempo runs haven’t been too bad either.  I’m generally either at or a little better than my time goals for those.  The long runs have been the biggest challenge to date.  I’ve done five of them so far; three went well, and two went poorly.  On the two that went poorly, I finished the last few miles way slower than I had planned.  Both runs were on hot days where I didn’t pace myself very well early in the run, so mostly I chalk up the poor results to stupidity on my part for running too fast, too early in hot weather.  There is some doubt that creeps in though…maybe my 3 hour time goal will be too challenging?  Maybe I’m better at middle distances than I am at long distances (1500 meters was my best event in college)?

So far my body is holding up okay, but I do have one major annoyance.  I’ve had chronic Achilles tendon problems on my left leg for several years now.  It makes the first mile or so of every run a bit painful and gimpy (the first hundred yards, I run more like someone who’s 67 rather than 37).  Fortunately, it always loosens up. 

To make sure that my tendon doesn’t get too stiff overnight, I’ve been wearing a night-splint to bed.  The sight of me sleeping in my monstrous night-splint really makes Jess (my wife) think that I’m a lunatic for even putting myself through all of this.  Our cat, Desmond, is not a big fan of it either, since it has been the direct cause of his involuntary ejection from the foot of our bed a couple of times when I rolled over. (Similar splint/boot below in photo)

I guess there’s not too much else…I haven’t changed my diet at all really, except that I eat a little more.  It hasn’t been too tough to find time for the runs so far (Jess has been very accommodating on this front).  Running with a water belt for long runs felt a little weird at first, but I’m getting used to it now.  I like my Garmin Forerunner 405 watch.  Plus, I am definitely looking forward to the weather cooling down (especially for those after-work runs during the week).

I plan to send Lindsey a follow-up after the race with my thoughts on how it all went.  It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out.  I’m sure it won’t go exactly like I expect, but that’s part of what makes this exciting.

 ———

Thanks for your guest post Bob!! Best of luck to you on your first marathon. I can’t wait for your race recap and Jess’s pictures of you running! 🙂 I’ll be running the half marathon that goes along with Bob’s marathon, so I should hopefully get to see him finish – although at his pace, he might pass me and finish first!

What about you (readers) – what was your biggest running goal? Did you accomplish it? How did you feel? And if you’ve run a marathon before, how was your first one? Did it go as planned?

Pocono Run for the Red Marathon Recap

Happy Monday – I have the day off today! And boy do I need it after the race yesterday. I am extremely happy that I qualified for the Boston Marathon, but it was not an easy race by any means.

Saturday

We headed up to the host hotel on Saturday afternoon and got in around 3:00. We checked in and then hit up the expo to pick up my racing bib, etc. The expo was small, but it was helpful. One of the race coordinators was giving an in-depth overview of the course and what we could expect the next day. He reiterated what I’d already read online – the course has a lot of downhill in the beginning, so remember to pace yourself. He also briefed us on a few uphills on the second part of the course, which I was dreading.

After the expo we went to a local outlet we passed as we arrived for a bit and then stopped at CVS for water, gatorade, snacks and contact solution stuff I forgot. Once we got back to the hotel it was just about time for dinner. We spent a few minutes enjoying the view from our balcony. It was a gorgeous setting. There was actually a wedding happening at the host hotel that night as well, so we watched as the bridal party took some photos.

Gorgeous view…

The pasta party started at 5:30 p.m. and was what was to be expected: salad, bread, penne pasta and spaghetti sauce, as well as dessert. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was free for me and only $7 for Hubby, so understandably generic. We piled our plates and settled at a table. A few minutes later a brother and sister running pair joined our table and we started talking BQ-plans and dreams. We strategized, talked about our previous marathons and then wished each other good luck a little while later as we all headed to our rooms to try to get some sleep.

I laid out all my gear the night before, as well as my morning food and drinks. Around 9:00 p.m. I headed to bed. Hubby decided to head down to the hotel bar to give me some time to get to sleep and to have a few brews to help him get to sleep. After he left, I proceeded to lay in bed wide awake. I’ve never experienced such nerves or had such a hard time sleeping before a race – even my first marathon! I tried counting, I tried switching positions, covers on and covers off, but nothing worked. When Hubby got back to our room at midnight I was wide awake and told him so. He proceeded to hop into bed and fall asleep within 10 minutes. I tossed and turned and think I may have finally dozed off around 12:45 – 1:00 a.m. Not good!

Sunday – Race Day

I woke up Sunday morning exactly one minute before my alarm was set to go off. Anxious much?! I got up and started my pre-race routine. I don’t particularly enjoy getting ready for a race in a hotel room. I’m not usually comfortable or feeling my normal self, and especially not after such little sleep.

At 6:30 a.m. I headed downstairs to wait for the bus to the start. I ran into the brother and sister team from the night before and they shared with me their get-sleep tip: they split a Benadryl pill and slept soundly. Genius! Mental note to give that one a try if I face sleep issues again. We all hopped on the bus and began to head to the start when Louie (the brother) realized he didn’t have his timing chip! As he ran off the bus, two other girls realized they didn’t have theirs either and they went sprinting to find them. So after a slightly delayed start we were off.

We got to the Clear Run Elementary School and I headed straight to the bathroom. Then I grabbed a race-provided trash bag to put my long-sleeved shirt in for transport to the finish. Finally,  I hit the ladies room one more time before heading outside. The temps were a little chilly for standing still, but perfect for running. We all lined up at the start and I could kind of hear the National Anthem and then all of a sudden we were off!

From the course overview the previous day, I knew the race wasn’t completely downhill from the start. From about mile 1 – 8 we ran through rolling minor hills. Around mile 4 there was a loop where the leading runners ran by. Then we moved up a slight hill. I was moving at a pretty good clip, but was nervous to hold back too much. I knew this wasn’t the “downhill” section by any means, so I tried to maintain a comfortable pace that was still pretty strong.

Mile 1 – 7:53
Mile 2 – 7:55
Mile 3 – 7:49
Mile 4 – 8:03
Mile 5 – 8:05
Mile 6 – 7:56
Mile 7 – 8:02
Mile 8 – 8:09

Starting at mile 4 or so, I took water or Gatorade at every stop, which was just about every two miles. As we hit mile 8, one of the spectators or course managers said: “Ok guys, it’s downhill from here for a while. Just settle in and cruise.”

And then the downhill began and this guy was not kidding. It was all down hill for quite a few miles. I tried to use it as much as possible, but kept telling myself to “use it, but don’t lose it.” I didn’t want to go crazy and really kill my legs on the downhill by just letting completely loose. From after mile 8 – 13 we went all downhill all the time.

Mile 9 – 7:44
Mile 10 – 8:02
Mile 11 – 8:09
Mile 12 – 8:04
Mile 13 – 8:06

My pace for mile 9 was a little too fast, so I decided to scale back a bit. I also took a Gu between mile 11 and 12. When I crossed the halfway mark I was pretty floored to see that my half marathon time was a PR! The clock said around 1:45:30 I think. This made me a little nervous – I knew I was going really fast.

A few minutes later I was very glad I took that Gu because miles 14 and 15 were rolling hills and my pace slowed a bit.

Mile 14 – 8:11
Mile 15 – 8:13

As I got past mile 15, my adrenaline began to pump because I knew that Hubby was likely going to be at mile 16. That was the only spot that I was able to give him directions for. My pace picked up and I started looking around as we neared the spectator spot.

I heard Hubby cheering me on before  I even saw him and started grinning like a fool. (me in the blue tank top)

And then I started waving…

Doesn’t the guy with the number 664 bib kind of look like an older Steve Carrell?

Sorry – sidetracked. Anyway – I saw Hubby and was all giddy and he told me he was on the phone with my best friend and she was cheering me on. YAY! I was so excited I sped up a bit. So I checked my Garmin…

Mile 16 – 8:00

I was feeling good, but that was short-lived. My next mile was my first taste of the dead legs that were to come.

Mile 17 – 8:28

And then there was a lovely and much-appreciated downhill.

Mile 18 – 7:47

But that little spurt was just a tease because then came the hills. They weren’t huge hills, but they were hills just the same and they were tough. I didn’t walk at all, but I was moving slower and I watched helplessly as my split times crept up.

Mile 19 – 8:56
Mile 20 – 8:43
Mile 21 – 9:00

And then after mile 21 things went bad pretty quickly. Call it the wall if you want, I called it the end. The end of my BQ hopes. As I watched my splits get slower I began to prepare myself for the fact that I probably wasn’t going to qualify. I was just moving too slow. There was no way. And then I told myself that this was probably good. I didn’t want to run another marathon anyway – I completely forgot how awful I feel after mile 21. This was a good reminder and was reinforcing the fact that I am not cut out for a BQ. I decided I just didn’t have it in me.

So after this little non-pep-talk, I decided that it would be good enough if I could just finish the race and try to finish without walking.  Although at the worst moments I wondered how bad it would really feel to not finish (I decided it would feel really bad), but thankfully I pushed on.

With my non-BQ pace acceptance, I struggled to just put one foot in front of the other. I decided once I got to mile 24, things wouldn’t be so bad.

Mile 22 – 9:25
Mile 23 – 9:29
Mile 24 – 9:32

As I hit mile 24 and saw that 9:32, I also looked at my pace band on my wrist and saw that I was actually a little bit ahead of the pace for a BQ. I didn’t quite understand how this could be, given my sluggish times, but I figured my surprising speed during the first half must have really built a cushion for me.

So this is when I decided that maybe, just maybe, I had a little something left in me. I started trying to push a little harder. As I’m working to build back up some speed, who do I spot and hear cheering for me just before mile 25? Hubby!! He was along Main Street cheering like crazy and I definitely needed it. I start to push a little harder.

Mile 25 – 9:04

I hit mile 25 and knew there was 0nly 1.2 miles left and that I can certainly finish, but if I maintained my speed, a BQ might still be in sight. I push on and on, for what feels like forever and finally I see a school up ahead. I know that this finish is around a school track. Pushing hard, I finally hit mile 26…

Mile 26 – 9:01

And then there is .2 to go. We had to run around the track and I could see the finish, but there was still more to go. Miraculously, my Garmin says I just hit 3:38 and there is a slim chance that I could sneak in under 3:40! I start sprinting – or at least try. It feels more like a slow-motion sprint, but I give it a shot nonetheless. I push and I push and I push and finally I cross the line:

3:39:35!! (official chip time)

I did it! I qualified for Boston. I cut things pretty close, but I finished under 3:40.

In all honesty, this is not how I pictured running this race or qualifying for Boston. I wanted a nice even 8:10-8:15 pace the entire way, but this marathon was not built like that, in my opinion. I think it’s inevitable that you will run this race much faster in the first half. This was a hard race – it was fast – but it was really hard. Compared to my first marathon, I think I gave more of myself and exerted a lot more energy.

I’m still shocked that I actually qualified based on my splits. I was fully prepared to accept that I wasn’t going to get my BQ. But I am beyond thrilled that I did it and that I’m heading to Boston next April. I hope to maybe even meet up with some of the amazing running bloggers I read regularly. And now I have to cheer on my best friend Lauren as she tries to get her BQ in October at the Bay State Marathon!!

Thank you to everyone who supported me, encouraged me and made me believe I could do it! And thanks again to my husband for coming to the Poconos with me and cheering me on. I did it!!!

The Marathon Is Over…

And I qualified!!! I cut this one pretty darn close. My Garmin says my finishing time was 3:39:36, and as I crossed the line, I think the clock said 3:39:50, so I know for sure that I definitely qualified – just not sure on my official time yet. The Website still does not have the marathon results posted. But qualifying is qualifying in my book, no matter how close you slice it!

Anyway – my full recap and details are coming tomorrow on my day off! That’s right, a well-deserved rest day for me! But I wanted to share my exciting news now. And I want to publicly thank my Hubby for being such a great supporter today. We were out in an area I didn’t know, where we didn’t know anyone and I was running all alone, so it was really wonderful to see him at both mile 16 and mile 25 (where I really needed some help). He was amazing – he was giving my parents and my best friend updates about my progress and keeping lots of people in the loop. Thanks Bill for the amazing support – LOVE YOU!!

Now I need to go shower!!

What to do, What to do…

Good morning all! Happy Thursday – this week is almost done. Mine has been very busy – how about yours?

Marathon Dilemma

So I want to share my dilemma with you all and get your thoughts. I would really like to qualify for the 2011 Boston Marathon. My first marathon time was 3:54:57, so I have to do some good training to get to 3:40:00. My dilemma is when to run my next marathon.

Initially, I was looking at Fall 2010. However, my husband and I want to plan a trip to Ireland this September and I’m fearful that the trip will interrupt my training and potentially throw it so off course that I won’t qualify. We’d be going for 10 days and I would likely not be running at all.

So my latest idea is to potentially run a spring/early summer marathon in May 2010. I’ve found one in the Poconos that is supposed to be a pretty fast course. But, that would mean my training needs to start…like tomorrow.

So what do you think? Go for the spring or fall marathon?

I should also note that I’ll be running a half marathon toward the end of January and the end of April – so that may help with my speed and training for a May run.  

Ok – let me know what you think. Now on to my eats:

Breakfast yesterday was oatmeal with banana, almond butter and agave.

For lunch I finished up the rest of the leftover tomato-basil soup with some carrots.

Snacks were some Fage Strawberry Greek yogurt with granola (don’t really enjoy their packaging) and two prunes.

Yeah I know, those prunes look gross. But they are pretty decent snacks. I also had an unpictured apple before the work-day ended as well. Then I headed to the gym.

Inspired by my marathon dreams, I tried to run a fast four miles on the treadmill at the gym.

4 miles in 33:20

Not too terrible. Then I did some ab work and grabbed 5-pound weights to do some arm work.

I headed home and threw together a quick dinner. I spotted some Spinach Gnocchi at the store the other day and picked them up. These little buggers are fat-free, but a little bit high in carbohydrates. I made a small batch with some marinara sauce and a side of broccoli sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Up close is better…

I am slightly obsessed with these gnocchi. They were so chewy and delicious. I could have eaten way more than I did. I think they would definitely make for good running fuel.

Now the question is – when will I be running? Help!!

Have a nice Thursday all – talk to you tomorrow (FRIDAY!!)!

P.S. – I promise a book review is coming soon. And I am really enjoying the next book I’ve started.