Marathon Training: Week 16

Bib numbers are posted for Mountains to Beach Marathon. I’m #785! It’s suddenly getting very real and very exciting that this marathon dream I’ve had for so long is close to becoming a reality! If you are interested in tracking me live during the race, sign up here 🙂

Bib

This last week felt like a roller coaster ride, filled with highs and lows. The week started out with a trip to urgent care on Monday (with T) and then Tuesday (with C) who both have ear infections. Wednesday they were doing better and K was home from his trip, so we headed out for Nite Moves week 2 where I earned a new 5k PR. By Friday I was back at the doctor with T who was put on a new antibiotic. Thankfully the week ended on a high note with an awesome last long run before M2B and a great day at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History with two happy boys on the mend!

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I think one of the greatest things I’ve taken away from marathon training is that it has taught me I’m so much stronger than I thought I was.  In training and racing there are highs and there are lows, just like in life. We all love riding that high of nailing a workout and meeting our goals, but the real key to finding happiness and success is how we handle ourselves during the lows. Do you fall apart? Or keep pushing forward? There were some definite low points this week in my training and life that made me question why I was doing this. Then I realized the tough things happen to teach us something. To remind us the best things in life don’t usually come easy and without the lows we could not experience the fullness of the highs.

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As my first marathon nears, I’m excited for the challenge that comes with doing a marathon, but more than that I’m excited for the opportunity to learn more about myself. I’m going to do my very best to embrace those lows that are bound to come during the race just as much as the highs.

13 days to go time!

XO

Christina

Marathon Training: Week 15

I made it through peak week! Man oh man was it a tough one. I’m not one who looks forward to tapering, but I am so relieved that it’s here.

The plan was to hit 50 miles last week, but I fell a little short at 44.4 (no accident on the 4’s). 4 is my lucky number. After I cut Thursday’s run short and realized I wouldn’t hit 50, I went for 4’s across the board. The week started great with my usual easy 4 mile stroller run. After Tuesday’s track workout felt tougher than it should have I started to get the feeling I was in for a long, hard week.

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Wednesday was supposed to be an easy run day, but since it was the Nite Moves season opener, there really was no chance (as many times as I tried to tell myself not to go guns a blazing) I would go easy. Note to self: Not a good idea to follow up a track workout with a race the next day, even if it’s only a 5k (5 miles total with warmup and cool down).

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Nite Moves is a weekly 5k race that occurs each Wednesday all summer long followed by food and music on the beach. K and I both had a blast (or at least he tells me he did) 😉 running all 18 weeks of Nite Moves last year trading off the stroller pushing duties. I was soooo looking forward to this opener until T came down with a fever that morning. K insisted I go anyway while he stayed home with the boys since I needed to get a run in one way or another. I went and ran fast enough for 5th of 45 in my age group, but my heart wasn’t really in it without my family there.

Thursday morning K left on a work trip to New Orleans at 7am. The plan was to get up extra early so I could still get a full 8 mile run in with time to spare before he left. Plan failed. Alarm went off at 4:45 and I promptly hit the snooze button. I did get out shortly after 5:30 and got in 4.5 miles. I probably could have squeezed in 6, but that would have required me to go faster than my legs were willing to move that morning after the previous days hard efforts.

Friday was a MUCH needed rest day. I treated myself to a massage before picking T & C up from school. That evening I took them out to Taffy’s with my mother-in-law for some major carb loading.

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The next morning my mother-in-law came over at 5:15am to babysit the boys so I could head out for my last 20-miler. My marathon training has really been made possible by her and my wonderfully supportive K. We try to do as much training and errands as possible while the boys are sleeping and she is always happy to come over for baby monitor duty and playtime with them until we get home.

In the beginning weeks of my training, I would start my Saturday long runs after the boys went down for naps around noon. As the runs got longer and it started heating up, I decided it would be better to start them early in the morning. That made a HUGE difference in how I felt during and after the runs.  It must be my Swedish blood. My body does so much better while running in cooler temps.

Even with the early morning start, this last 20-miler felt much harder than the first 20-miler I did just weeks prior. I knew almost immediately I was going to have to dig deep for this one. My legs felt heavy and I had to will them to move the first few miles, but then they loosened up and I was able to do 10 miles at goal marathon pace  (8:45ish avg). The next eight miles at easy pace were much harder, but I pushed through the thoughts of quitting and finished strong.

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Sunday I took the boys out for an easy 3 mile stroller run (again didn’t feel so easy on sore legs) followed by play time at the park. It was the best way to celebrate. The only thing that would have made it better was if K was with us. He was still gone on his work trip (I’d like to talk to the person who thought it was a good idea to schedule a conference Mother’s Day weekend). He didn’t forget to send flowers and delicious treats though. My most precious gift were the flowers T & C made for me at school. This blog and my social media accounts are largely devoted to one aspect of my life, training and racing, however my boys are by far my greatest accomplishment. My biggest goal in life is to make them happy. I’m not perfect, but so far I’ve managed to balance it all pretty well.

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Although it wasn’t my best training week, it wasn’t my worst either. I am beyond happy to have come this far and to have made it through the toughest weeks of training. On to the taper!

20 days until I’m a marathoner!

XO

Christina

 

Marathon Training: Week 14

It’s marathon month! May came so fast! Seriously, these 14 weeks since I officially began training  really have flown by. Cliche to say maybe, but true! I feel prepared and ready, but the butterflies are starting to set in as I enter my final peak week of training before starting to taper for the race. I ran a total of 183 miles in April. My highest mileage month ever, by a lot.

This last week was a “step back” week, meaning a reduction in mileage, but not intensity. I focused on making every run count and added speed work to my long run. The highlight of the week was watching T & C run in their school’s Jog-A-Thon. They are already such good little runners!

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Here is a recap of the week:

Monday – 500 meter swim, 3.6 mile stroller run. Although the plan I’ve been following called for complete rest, I was feeling good after Saturday’s 20 miler and was jonesing to get in a swim so decided an easy 500 meters was in order. It felt so amazing to get back it the water. Later that afternoon I took T&C out for an easy stroller run, but the hurricane strength winds (at least it felt that way pushing with the double BOB) made it more of a test of my strength.

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Tuesday – 8 mile track speed session. Started with the usual 3 mile warm up, followed by (1×400 + 1×1200 meters) x4 and a 1 mile cool down. This one was tough, but felt great!

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Wednesday – Another stroller run battling the winds. I almost turned around after a mile. Pushing 80 lbs+ in the wind is no joke! The boys seemed to enjoy it so I pressed on for what seemed like the longest 4 miles of my life. 😊

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Thursday – HRT Run – 7 miles. I love this group run in my neighborhood. It’s hilly and challenging.

Friday – Scheduled rest day. Had a blast at T & C’s school Jog-A-Thon! T ran 17 laps and C did 15. They both ran/walked the entire time, even when some of the other kids in their class stopped to take breaks. At one point, we stopped to get water and T wasn’t having it. He got right back in the loop and kept going! I try to be conscious about not forcing my passions on them, but I think they just may be natural runners. 😉 Later that day we headed to the Santa Barbara Fair for some fun rides and funnel cake!

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Saturday – 12 mile long run. Instead of slow and steady, I decided to add some speed work to my long run this week. 2 mile warmup, 7 miles @ tempo (7:58, 7:49, 7:49, 7:52, 8:08, 8:12, 8:17) and 4 miles 30-45 seconds slower for an 8:24 avg pace. Completing this workout gave me more confidence that I can actually “race” the marathon.

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SundayEasy 4 mile stroller run. Best way to end a great week of training!

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This week is peak week. Mileage goes back up to 50+ with one last 20 miler before taper time! Let’s do this!

Happy training!

XO

Christina

Marathon Training: Week 13

It was a week of milestones in my training. On Saturday I completed my first 20 mile long run and hit 50 miles total for the week. When I signed up for Mountains 2 Beach marathon last summer, I honestly wasn’t sure I would make it to this point. I consider myself a fairly confident person and I definitely don’t lack the drive. In the five years I have been racing I have never failed to complete a race I have signed up for, even if that means doing it while sick (like recently at the Santa Barbara Half…yeah probably not the smartest idea), yet just before marathon training began a few months ago I came very close to dropping down to the half and it has always been in the back of my mind that could be an option.

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With 5 weeks left to go until race day, I’m still nervous about the race itself, but that little voice of self-doubt that crept in my head is gone. I have a loose time goal, but no matter what the end result is, I’m so incredibly thankful for this journey.

Each week of training I gain more and more respect for my body and it’s abilities. Before running came into my life (and at times after), I struggled with body image issues and definitely didn’t have a whole lot of respect for it. In my 20’s I drowned it in alcohol and junk food. No matter how much I abused it, it never gave up on me. I’m still in no way perfect, but I’ve come to appreciate this great vessel God has given me in a way I never have before. It carried and birthed twins and now it’s carried me through my longest run yet. I think I’m close to truly embodying one of my all time favorite quotes:

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not
to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is
against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”
George Sheehan

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I’m not saying I’ve totally stopped comparing myself to other athletes similar to me or stopped looking (stalking) at their stats on Strava, but I have let go of the thoughts that I can’t do this.

This week is a recovery week (yay!) which means a little reduction in mileage to about 40. No big deal, right? 🙂

Happy training!

XO

Christina