As they prepare for the Wineglass Marathon on October 4 using the AMR #FindYourStrong Marathon Challenge, Heather and Marianne, two long-distance BRFs taking on their first marathon, are sharing their experiences--and miles--weekly. Find all their posts here.
If the #FindYourStrong marathon training plan is a pregnancy, we’ve just cleared the first trimester. Six weeks are complete with 12 to go. (So, no, it's not really like pregnancy...just go with us here.)
The first trimester is when some people growing a human decide it is safe enough to go public. Obviously, we let the cat out of the bag much sooner than that. Dimity warned us recently that we could be in for some Character Building Workouts (CBW) in the second trimester because they are prone to show up “when you’re in the middle third of a training plan and the initial glee of following a schedule has worn off but the race—and fitness rewards—aren’t close enough to taste.” So we are taking time to recap of how things are going before that settles in too far:
Heather: 152.5 miles
Marianne: 158 miles
Total on the Feet Time
Heather: 23 hours, 50 minutes
Marianne: 29 hours
Number of Runs
Marianne: 26 (how appropriate!)
Average Pace Per Mile
Marianne My average is probably something starting with an 11. And slowing down, on average, with every week. Sometimes Strava makes miles too short so I appear speedier than I know that I am. I've gone as fast as 9 for some tempos and as slow as 13 for some extra humid negative split slow paces.
Best 2 Runs
It feels a little like cheating to list my 2 most recent runs, but that's what I'm going to do anyway.
- Last Thursday I woke up at 5am to get in my 15-miler before work. That alone made me feel pretty badass. I did the first 10 miles solo, including a stint in a downpour, then met up with a friend for the last 5. (I highly recommend lining up a pal to bring you home on those long runs - it was awesome.) I had been dreading a particular hill at the very end of the run. I hadn't tried it in months, but I used to run it frequently and it kicked my butt every time, often forcing me to walk. Apparently all this training is paying off though, because I breezed up it almost without noticing. It was definitely a highlight.
- That long run took place on a weekday to free up this past Saturday for a 5k race. Between the name of the race (Run For the Hills) and the fact that I've been concentrating on distance, not speed, I wasn't expecting to PR. But I did, at 23:46 (8 seconds down from my previous record.) And based on how not tired I was the rest of the day, I probably should have run harder. It felt fantastic to uncork my legs and was also exciting to know that the distance work is also helping my speed.
- It’s a tough call but I’m going with an easy 6 I did with my friend Meg (pictured above) while at her house in the Fingerlakes. Great to run on different terrain and reunite with an old running pal; we used to run together in Philly on Forbidden Drive.
- The week 6 long run (15 miles) went really well even though I was dreading it the night before. I turned off the Strava voice, plotted a route before I left home and ran only by feel. Depending on whose map you use, I ran between an 11 and 11:24 average mile and felt good for the vast majority especially the last few. That run boosted my confidence to add more mileage in July.
Heather: A mid-June run that was supposed to be an "easy 4 miles." I got it done, but it was not easy. My legs felt like they'd been dipped in concrete and the humidity was high, sucking every last ounce of energy I had. Sometimes I think the "easy" runs are the worst, because they're never as easy as I think they'll be.
Marianne: W5 Tempo run of 1 mile warm up, 1.5 mile tempo/.5 easy x 2, 1 mile cool down. Thankfully, the CBW article had come out that morning so I at least had a word for it (although a four-letter-one would be more appropriate). It was so humid. My body did not want to go fast, nor had I asked it to for a while. I spent most of those 3 speedier miles telling myself, just get through this. Just get through this. Usually I would’ve felt great to hear I was running around a 9mm but that day I just felt annoyed I was at that hard pace at all. But I will say that I think it somehow made that week’s long run a lot more pleasant. So it was a worth it worst.
- How challenging 9:30 miles can feel. Prior to training I was really concerned about my ability to slow down. When left to my own devices (or, more appropriately, when left without any devices) I tended to settle into an 8:20 pace. So a long run goal pace of 10:00 sounded glacial to me. As it happens, keeping a 10:00 pace over 15 miles is plenty challenging, thankyouverymuch. These days I'm freaking out about what 26.2 will feel like at my goal pace of 9:05.
- Just how bad a cell phone armband can smell.
Marianne: I cannot believe I can run 3 days in a row and feel fine. It feels freeing. And encouraging.
Heather: My left hip has been a little cranky over the past week; it complains when I walk. Thankfully, the pain lessens when I run, but it still has me a bit nervous. I've been foam rolling the bejeezus out of it, and stretching my psoas muscle seems to help, too.
To even things out, I bit it while messing around with a Waveboard on our driveway Sunday afternoon. My right wrist and hip took the brunt of the fall. I'm crossing my fingers that I just end up with a gnarly bruise.
Marianne: So far so good. No pain to speak of. The stretching/icing/rolling routine and taking slow paces VERY SERIOUSLY seems to be keeping everything in check.
Heather: 10 cents. It's the only money I've ever found on a run and I found it on a tough 14-miler. It was like a small, silver glimmer of hope lying on the pavement. (Side note: the night before writing this, I dreamed I found 5 quarters. Anyone want to interpret?)
Marianne: None. Not just these past 6 weeks but ever. But I did pick up two empty pbr cans on my walk home from the 4th of July town 5k. So they made for a nice pairing with my medal that everyone got. Pseudo blue ribbons abounded!
Goals for Second Trimester
Heather: Remain injury-free. This will likely mean more stretching and rolling than I've been doing, and perhaps venturing into the scary territory of ice baths.
Marianne: I must get more strength training and yoga in somehow even if just planks and pushups while stretching.
Traning in One Word
Heather: Empowering. I feel strong and capable. The structure is freeing, and I love being part of this incredible community.
Marianne: Manageable. Both on a local and global scale.
For all of you other mother runners out there also in training: how's it going?