Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Road to Redemption: Wrightsville Beach Marathon

I'm resurrecting my poor little blog. Hello, how are you? Did you miss me? (Probably not.)

That's ok though.

In truth, the point of this blog has always been more of a memory jogger for me than anything. If  I don't write it down somewhere, I forget that it happened. And if I forget it happened, then it may as well have not happened at all.

I would like to forget what happened last September very much, but this won't make much sense if I don't provide a little bit of an update. So here it is.

In September, I went to Erie and ran the Erie Marathon. I was attempting to get a 3:30:00 to guarantee my entry to Boston because I had a bad feeling that my 3:33:40 from earlier in the year wasn't good enough. Kit went with me. He was also trying to BQ.

For 20 miles I was doing great and on target. I met two great gals (Katie and Carmel) and we all pushed each other hard. The best thing about Erie was meeting them and running with them for 20 miles.

Katie in blue tee, Carmel in black, me in blue tank

Then I did some really bad math (for the record, 8 times 6 is NOT 42 and it is also NOT a good idea to try to do simple math in your head at mile 20 of an all-out marathon effort), decided I had plenty of time, and walked for 2 minutes then stopped and stretched because my quads were completely shot.

Did I mention that 8 times 6 is NOT 42?

When I crossed the finish line, it said 3:34:42. When I looked down at my Garmin and saw a matching figure, I couldn't comprehend why my time was not at all what I wanted.

It was because 8 times 6 is 48. Not 42. I did not have any time to spare. Certainly no time for walking or stretching.

Kit did BQ with a 3:23:(and some change I can't remember) - taking 20 minutes off of his previous PR. Which is amazing. I was so damn proud of him that day. I still am.

Two weeks later, on September 21, I applied to Boston. I used my Shamrock time of 3:33:40.

On September 30, I got the news that I wouldn't be running Boston. Kit wouldn't be either. And worst of all, Lauren, the first in our band of close running friends to qualify and the one with the widest margin, didn't get in either.

In October, I ran a little point to point trail race from Broadnax to LaCrosse, Virginia. I placed second. Kit placed first. As in, he won.

It was a little race. But it still felt really good to kick some butt.

In November, Kit and I started and finished the Richmond Marathon together - something we have never managed before. We've started plenty of races together, but never finished one together. We aimed for a 3:45 and we ran a 3:45. It was the best marathon experience I've ever had. A perfect, sunny, beautiful weather day. Running side by side, step for step with my best friend and enjoying every moment.

Photo by Jesse Peters

So here we are. It's January. Like over 4,000 other Boston rejects, I have a fire lit under me. I am ready to go out there, train harder than I ever have before, and qualify for Boston with a margin so huge that I will be guaranteed my rightful spot at the starting line in April 2017.

Kit and I are both signed up for the Wrightsville Beach Marathon on March 20th. This is our redemption race. Our screw-you-BAA-let's-see-you-deny-me-again race. I'm aiming for that 3:30:00 again. It's a 3:20:00 goal for Kit.

We've cobbled together an 11 week plan (unorthodox, right?) that combines the Spring Marathon Training Team long runs with Run Less, Run Faster speed work outs and tempo runs. All pace goals are based on a marathon time of 3:25:00. Per usual, I'm running three days a week and adding in a day of Vinyasa yoga and a day of intense cardio cross training (spin or aqua jogging or swimming laps).

We're also trying a few new things. One of them will be to complete a long run for time on feet rather than distance; time on feet equaling the total amount of time the marathon will take to run. We're going with my goal time of 3:30 and expect to run around 23-24 miles. In Erie, I felt great until I hit the three hour mark - which also happens to be the longest amount of time I ran during our training (which topped out at a 21 mile long run). I'm hoping that pushing to complete 3 hours and 30 minutes of running will help my body be able to cope better with the last 30 minutes of the marathon.

I am (VERY BEGRUDGINGLY) trying to clean up my diet, cutting back on sweets and alcohol while adding more vegetables on a daily basis.

I'm also committing myself to not slacking on the cross training. I definitely slacked near the end of the Erie training cycle. Who knows if it hurt me - we'll never know - but I am determined to go into Wrightsville stronger than ever.

In December, I caught a terrible cold and barely ran for two whole weeks. I came into January and the first week of training with a lingering couch and not in my best shape. It's been a rough start, but last week at yoga on Tuesday night, something clicked in me.

I am ready to do this. I am ready to push myself; dedicate myself; be uncomfortable; do something hard; not eat so many donuts.

I'm coming for you, Wrightsville.

I am also going to commit to keeping better track of my training. I can't improve if I can't see where I've been.

So here is what happened in week 1.


Monday - 6 miles of speed work at Mary Munford. 1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400 with 400 rest intervals. I have no idea what my pace was because it was cold and I was wearing mittens that caused me to screw up my Garmin during the first 1200, so I gave up and left it off. Target pace was 6:30/mile for the speed intervals. It felt hard and it was hard. To be expected for the first speed work session of the season, especially coming off an illness and a 10 mile running week.

Tuesday - Vinyasa Yoga with Penny.

Wednesday - 8 mile tempo run. This was only supposed to be 6 miles (2 warm up, 2 at 7:04 pace, 2 cool down) but we missed a turn thanks to my bad navigation skills and ended up running 8 miles. This was also hard, but not as bad as Monday. And I would remiss if I didn't mention that the "feels like" temperature was a whopping 10 degrees.

Thursday - 60 minute spin class; my first in I can't even remember how long. It was really, really, really hard. I was watching the clock the whole time... and I have a lot of work to do.

Friday - rest

Saturday - 15 miles on the Virginia Capitol Trail. The goal pace was supposed to be 8:34 but we let ourselves get swept up in a much faster pace, ending up with an average of 7:47. This might sound like a good thing, but it is not. Pace discipline has been a huge struggle and continues to be. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Practicing negative splits has got to be on the agenda for Saturdays.

Total Running Mileage: 29 miles

I'm not going to lie - at the end of this week I was exhausted and very grateful to do nothing but sit on my couch and unfortunately watch the Redskins lose their play off game. Hard training has also reawakened my appetite big time. I am hungry ALL THE TIME and it is only week 1. Not a good sign; it's going to take serious self control and discipline to not eat a bunch of junk.

But I've got that axe to grind and it's keeping me going.

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