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.
Before running the race on Sunday, we wanted to take some time to reflect back on and honor the last 17 weeks of training. No matter what happens on October 4, we’ve both made some big improvements that are worth appreciating. Of course, we’re also looking ahead a bit.
Overall Training Feelings
Love. So much love.
I have honestly loved 98% of this training. I loved the training plan – the variety, the flexibility, and the confidence it gave me. I loved the challenge group and the chatty, friendly, nonstop support that came with it. I loved the long runs and the women who came out of the woodwork to accompany me on them. I love feeling like I have four times as many friends now than I did when training started.
I am still surprised that over 17 weeks the only mandatory run I had to miss was to do a 5k race instead of an easy 6. The plan was challenging but I'm sticking with my assessment at 1/3 in that it was manageable. It was fantastic not to have to make a single decision for weeks on end or to have to self-motivate when I knew that I was reporting in here.
I don’t think twice before calling myself a runner. And I think this has a lot less to do with the miles I covered or the pace I kept than with the commitment I made.
Before I started training, I was discussing it with a friend who has run a marathon. I commented that I wanted to have run a marathon but didn’t really often like a lot of the process of running. She told me that she hoped that changed or it would be a long and not so fun endeavor.
Thankfully, my perspective has shifted tremendously the past 4 months. I am more in love with running than I ever have been. On days I don’t have miles on the schedule I feel a little off and sad. Rather than feeling burnt out, right now I just feel like things are as they should be. And as Heather said, some of this is from feeling like such a part of the running community.
Thoughts on the Taper
I've been enjoying it far more than expected, thanks to the busyness of the new job. My body went through some odd soreness/aches/pains at the beginning of the taper, and more than a couple psychosomatic illnesses (I hear this is called the “taper crazies?”) But it has all worked itself out. And on my Easy 4 last week, I was delighted to look down at my GPS and discover that the pace that I’d settled into, feeling easy, was only 10 seconds slower than race pace. And I do believe I have the rejuvenation of the taper to thank for that.
Loving it. I was pretty tired after week 14 and the 3 step back weeks made me happy to see that I am still thinking as it as “only” a 10 mile long run. Plus it was much cheaper to hire a sitter to cover runs that needed to happen when my partner was on a business trip.
10/10. Almost lost one about halfway through training, but it hung in there.
All 10 accounted for! The middles are looking a little shabby but still intact.
Race Prep - Mental, Physical, Emotional
The last four weeks have been filled with more late nights, work, takeout, and booze than I care to admit. Today (Sunday) I laid down the law with myself. This week my evenings will be spent at home lounging, centering, focusing, nourishing. I plan to fuel my body instead of stress eat, do a lot of visualizing success, and maybe a fair amount of binge-watching Breaking Bad (why did no one tell me how amazing this show is?)
I’m also going to be figuring out race day logistics. I’ve been depriving myself of my usual Spotify running playlist so that it’s nice and fresh for the marathon. I plan to have three windows open on my phone – my playlist, one of my friend Roger’s awesome mixes, and a podcast – so that I can easily switch back and forth depending on my mood. I need to buy some tube socks to make into disposable arm warmers, and figure out how to put “first marathon” on the back of my shirt.
And on Friday morning, I’ll get in my car and have a 5 hour solo drive to Corning. I love road trips, and am already excited about the forced meditation time.
I honestly can’t believe it’s here. As I sit writing this on Sunday afternoon, it blows my mind that at this time next week, I’ll be a marathoner. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement along the way – I will be carrying you in my heart as I run, wanting to make you all proud.
Physical: A few weeks ago I took a yoga for runners workshop that reinvigorated my commitment to my IT and glute routine. I am being very careful not to do something foolish to injure myself (e.g., try to carry Joyce and laundry simultaneously or taking a Zumba class and twisting something or jumping on trampolines).
Emotional: I am psyched to see that the weather is cooperating insofar as it not being hot. There's some flip flopping on rain but that's far preferable (to me) than a heatwave. Overall, I am a mix of excited and nervous but know that working the AMR Expo Booth will be a great distraction. And, as Heather said, your support over the past several months has been tremendous.
We support the start of the AMR mission statement for we have found "strength, clarity and confidence through forward movement" and are ready to put it to use for 26.2 miles.
How do you spend the days before a big race? What other rituals should we incorporate into this week?