Monday, October 7, 2013

I think I can, I think I can!!!

On September 28, my sister in law Hannah and I became part of the 1% of American people who will have run a marathon in their lifetime. It was quite an amazing experience! I’m so thankful, Hannah was crazy enough to do it with me! 

This post will discuss about my training and what got me to the start line! 

First, why would I do such a crazy thing? 

Well, I am crazy in love with the most wonderful man in the world! And he believes I can do crazy things like running a marathon! He is my inspiration for running. I had originally signed up to run the Akron Half Marathon, but James thought I was doing so well with all my miles and running that I should challenge myself and sign up for the full marathon instead. My heart began to beat fast as I thought about actually running  a full marathon! I asked him if he really thought I could do it, and his answer over and over again was yes! So I swallowed a dose of crazy and called the Akron Marathon and switched to running the full! Yikes!!!

My Training:

I followed the Hal Higdon Novice 2 marathon training plan, ( http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51138/Marathon-Novice-2-Training-Program) but I added my own variations. Heres my basic training plan during the last 3 months: 

Sunday-off

Monday-Speed Training 6 miles of Yasso 800’s (sprint for half a mile (pause timer & slow jog or walk .25 mile- I would just catch my breath and keep going). Do ten reps of this then take an easy mile for cool off or no cool off. Your average time during your sprints should give you an estimate marathon time. 
My time would be around 3:55-4:12. 

Tuesday-Off (Monday and Tuesday would alternate for my off days and speed training days)

Wednesday- Mid long distance 8-12 miles 

Thursday- Strength Training ( I would run 6 miles with ankle weights) 

Friday-off 

Saturday- Long Distance 16-20 miles

On the plan, I was suppose to run 20 miles only once and it was three weeks before the race. Instead I ran 20 miles about 8 weeks before. I ran 20 miles three times, 18 miles twice and the full 26.2 once. I wanted to build up my endurance for race day. Your body doesn’t know “miles” but it knows time. My thinking, I could build up my time to perform well and really push myself on race day. Akron was a very hilly course, so when I could, I hill trained, but with traveling it was a little challenging. 

It was a huge confidence booster to had already run the distance. I finished in 4:12:34 (without stopping) and my hopes was to finish in 4:00 on race day. 

To fuel along the way, I eat bagels (they also help settle my stomach) and oatmeal cream pies (simply for the sugar boost-it gets a little tiring running for four hours! :) I put the bagels in ziploc baggies, and oatmeal cream pies. ( I would cut the bagel in half and put each half in a baggie and tuck the baggie around my hydration belt. I would run with two whole bagels and three oatmeal cream pies. Two pies fit in a pouch on my belt, I carried a 24oz sports bottle of water plus the two 6oz bottles on my waist. (I can’t eat the sport gels because those really bother my stomach and nobody wants the runs while running!)  I would do exactly the same thing for race day.

I had run 950 miles and was getting very excited about the marathon! I had confidence in all my training and hard work; but I was nervous about going a faster pace and conserving my energy the whole time to finish strong. My plan was to join a pace group and break off around mile 23 and sprint to the end.  

Three weeks out from the race starts the taper. You cut back on your miles and allow your muscles in your body to heal so you can really push them on race day. 

Sounds easy, right?

Wrong!

Those three weeks were brutal. Why? Because your suppose to take it easy. Easy?? I’ve been training hard for months and now I’m suppose to take it easy. I would get antsy not being able to run as much as I wanted. And with all that free time, one can go crazy. 

Well I did a lot of reading on how to properly taper. I found out if you rested too much, it would have an adverse effect and I didn’t want that. To properly taper you’re suppose to cut back on your mileage about 20%, then 30% then 40%. My average week would be about 35-40 miles. Week three, I ran 40 miles (with 20 miles being my long distance day.) Week two, I ran 30 miles (12 miles on my long distance). And race week, I ran a total of 16 miles before race day but I did easy runs nothing exhausting. Which worked perfect for me! 


Friday, September 27: 

It was here the day before the marathon! My stomach was doing lots of flips and flops! 
I had my chicken pesto pasta made with lots of veggies and home made rolls all set in the fridge. Ready to carb load! 

Hannah and I were so excited! Our families were sharing a two room hotel room, and we headed to the expo to pick up our race packets! 

Who’s Hannah? 

Glad you asked! 

Allow me to introduce you to Hannah. Hannah is James’ beautiful oldest sister who is one of my best friends. She turned 30 this year and has three adorable kids and one awesome and crazy fun husband, Bobby. Along with loving the Lord completely, she is super talented in all things music and enjoys the freedom running gives her! 

I invited her to run a 5K Color Run with me back in May and she hasn’t stopped running since! She had only been running for 5 months before the marathon. She trained super hard and was hoping to finish in 5:30. She had had an injury a few weeks prior and decided to try and finish in 6 hours (the max) so she wouldn’t injure her leg. She also planned to run ahead of her pace group at the end to finish in just under 6 hours. I don’t know too many people who would sign up for a marathon only weeks into running! She is one committed woman!!   

Okay, so it was the eve before the race...  

Check back tomorrow to read how our marathon went! 

Was I able to sprint the last three miles like I planned? Did I run without stopping? Will I ever run a marathon again? Did Hannah make it to the finish? Find out tomorrow! 

Training was much more enjoyable knowing I had a friend training just as hard along side of me. Even though we weren't able to train together, I knew she was out there on those hot brutal days working hard too. We were running the course no matter how difficult to prepare for race day! Some days, I wondered if all my training was even worth it. Was it really helping me? Some weeks I ran even slower than before and I thought how could I get slower?? But it was all preparing me for race day. My body would be tired and sore but it would soon heal and be stronger than ever. I thought of these verses in I Corinthians 3: 


I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
For we are labourers together with God...

Hannah and I labored together, just as God labors along side of His children. We may not have always seen the fruit of our hard work right away but it was there like a seed planted in the ground taking time to grow before it sprouted. So may I encourage you, Christian, keep on laboring for Christ in whatever area He has called you to. Your labor is never in vain in the Lord! It is God that gives the increase! 


This blue line would take us from the start to across the finish line! 

The Elevation Chart- Sure it looks harmless! But hilly the whole way! 
Our Awesome Signs! Gabriel was our sweet nephew who passed away this year- only a year old. We love you, Gabe, and can't wait to see you soon! 

Dinner! And our jackets we got! 

This car had all 13,000 runners names on it.