After sorting through photos for this post I came to the realization that this must be broken into three parts. Because although my posts are always photo heavy I thought 41 pictures might be a little excessive. Now… I invite you to follow my journey to the marathon, beginning with the longest and most painful part. Training.
Here I am during one of my first training runs in August in very hot Birmingham, Alabama.
I have never been and most likely never will be a natural at anything athletic, especially running. And I will be the first one to tell you that I am slow. Like, really slow. But with so many speedy and talented runners in the blog world I have decided to step forward and embrace my tortoise like pace and proudly declare that I although I might be slow, I have heart.
After a particularly sweaty Alabama run. Showing off my new shorts!
Little did I know how much heart it would take to get through the 32 weeks of training ahead of me. Being a slower runner and unfortunately prone to panting and wanting to die while running I found a great friend in Jeff Galloway and his interval training. If running doesn’t come easy to you I urge you to try it! The training programs are longer than most but only require three days of running, which I knew would be so easy to fit into my schedule…not.
I discovered how amazing and essential camelbaks are during training!
When I signed up for the race March I had no way of knowing that my Fall 2011 semester would be bursting at the seams with a rigorous class schedule and a demanding internship. Due to my schedule I was not nearly as strict with my training schedule as I could have been.
One of my worst runs, it was only 11 miles but I decided to tackle the Dunlawton Bridge and the beach in 80 degree weather, not smart.
I had been doing a 4/1 interval for about a year when my training started and assumed I would be able to keep with that for marathon training, I was wrong. Especially since skipping the occasional run made me an even weaker runner and during week 23, which called for a 23 mile run, I hurt myself. It was brutally hot so I opted to try out the treadmill, correction dreadmill. I’m not sure if it was my newish shoes, the treadmill or just that I was overworked, but after 4 and half hours of slowing down little by little as the pain got worse I finally threw in the towel while limping at a speedy 3 to a measly 18 miles.
The shoes, which I stopped running in. But luckily they are great walking shoes!
After hurting my hip I decided to dial it back a bit and scratch the next long a 26 miler off my schedule. I had already run a 20 miler which is the most some people do before a marathon. I wasn’t feeling very confident so I decided to make a choice to finish training and the marathon as painlessly as possible so I switched my intervals to 1/1′s which my running buddy Mikala runs anyway. My last big training run was 5 miles at around 10 pm, and then another 15 miles the next morning at 6 am. I ran with Mikala and quickly learned that having a running buddy makes ALL the difference!
Training wasn’t all bad though! I learned a lot about myself like what my favorite mantras are, what to eat before, during and after my runs, how to properly take an ice bath and reinforced that social running is the best kind!
Favorite mantra. Sometimes it is necessary to repeat this over and over..
Best pre long run fuel: Whole wheat bagel, pb & jelly. Unfortunately results in pb burps:(
This is what my carb loading looked like before my 20 miler…do you see the hidden message?
And this is after the 20 miler. “Enjoying” my ice bath.
My best training run was without a doubt the 8 miles I ran in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Relay. Even the dark side couldn’t slow me down that night!
Training was rough and I was feeling quite nervous as the big day crept closer and closer…..to be continued.
Questions for You!
What are your tips for training…for anything, not only running!