Marathon Training: Week 1

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Marathon Training has begun. I’ll be singing as loud as can be come May 2015.

There are twenty-one weeks until the Eugene Marathon. This week marked the first week of Marathon Training for me. I’ve decided that I’m going to have a mantra during my training: Stick to the Plan

The truth of the matter is, I’m notorious for skipping, altering, or winging runs. This was especially true when I was working full-time and or single-parenting during my past three marathon trainings (my husband was deployed during my first marathon). This time around, I have the privilege of staying home with my two-year-old daughter while marathon training, so I don’t have to deal with the stressors of having to make it to work in the mornings at a specified time. Mind you, mornings are still chaotic in our household due to a ten-year-old who has no concept of time and in need of constant reminders from yours truly to “move faster.” I’m digressing though. “Sticking to the plan” is of utmost importance if I want to arrive at the finish line feeling prepared. In all of my previous three marathons, I’ve arrived feeling like I had mediocre training, and it is not a feeling I want to have this time around. Thus, every time I want to “skip” a run due to the weather (winter training is tough) “alter” a run due to my moods (sometimes I’m in a funk) or make-up my own run (because I skipped a run due to the weather or from being in a funk), I will tell myself, “Stick to the plan.”

The Plan

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This is a really good read. It’s easy to follow, and best of all, it has various training plans ranging from novice to advanced for 5k to marathon distances.

Run Faster was a book I ordered this past Summer, and it includes various marathon training plans. I’m going with the beginners marathon plan, mostly because I’ve not logged enough miles to begin at the other two levels. Levels Two and Three’s training plans start with a twelve-mile long run, which would have worked for me had it not been for plantar fasciitis. The Level One training plan is 20 weeks long and it includes both a 22 and 23 mile long run (gulp). The first five weeks of the training plan consist of running four days out of the week, cross-training two days (I’m doing Crossfit), and resting one day of the week. The remaining weeks are five running days with two cross-training days. Some of the runs look intimidating, but then again, 26.2 miles are not supposed to be a walk in the park.

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Wall handstand after my five-mile run. It feels so good to be able to this when I was even capable just six months ago.

First Long Run

Twenty one more weeks to go, and my first run is in the history books. Miles 1 and 2 were under 10 minute miles, miles 3 and 4 were sub-9, and the last mile was in the very low 8’s. It was definitely a strong run, and this first week rekindled my love for running once again. Let’s see how feel ten weeks from now though? For now, I am celebrating my first successful long run, recognizing there will be some tough days ahead, and embracing the highs and lows that come with marathon training. Here’s to “Sticking to the Plan.”

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My Saturday long run called for five miles with a moderate pace the last ten minutes. I definitely finished strong.

Do you follow your training plans to a T, or are you “flexible” when it comes to your training schedule? What training plan do you use?

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Sitting in the Couch

Let me start this post with a completely random fact about me. Spanish is my native language. While English has become my dominant and preferred language, it is still a foreign language despite the fact I’ve been utilizing it for three decades now. For example, clichés are not in my linguistic repertoire, so I always get them wrong (she searched every crook and nanny). There is one word in particular though that I always get wrong: in (see Title). In the Spanish language, there is no differentiation between in and on, so when I have to use it in English, I have to think about it really hard. Thus, if you read or have read a sentence that doesn’t make sense, please know I’m wired in Spanish.

Friday December 12

My ten-year-old daughter was given a solo to sing for her school’s Christmas Performance. She sang what I think is a challenging song, Silent Night, in front of her peers and the community. My daughter has always enjoyed singing, but she’s never sang a solo, so the worry wart mom in me was extremely…worried. I refrained from sharing my fears with her because I did not want to stress her out. Most importantly, I wanted to trust that she would be okay regardless of how it went. Stressing out is something that comes natural to me, but trusting, that is something that is extremely difficult for me. The night before her performance, I prayed. My prayer was not directed at God asking for my daughter to wow the crowd, instead, I asked God to allow me to show my daughter the right support and encouragement in order to nourish her endeavors without fearing what people may think of her. I recognized my worries and fears stemmed from my own insecurities, and the last thing I want for my daughter is to have her carry the same insecurities I struggle with. I’m not going to lie though, I didn’t exhale until she sang her last note! And oh, how beautiful she sang. There was no reason for me to worry.

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Sunday December 14

‘Twas a cold Sunday morning and while sitting at Starbucks drinking water (I occasionally drink decaf coffee, but wasn’t in the mood) I received a text from a Crossfit friend asking if I wanted to run. Given I’m usually the one who is begging people to run with me, I almost jumped out of my seat when someone asked me. There was only one problem though, I hadn’t run in four weeks. What if I was too slow, or had to walk, or couldn’t? In less than a few seconds, I tossed those fears aside and said “Yes!”

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All smiles post-run with my friend Bene.

We ran 3.24 miles and it was fantastic! The cold 31 degrees hurt my lungs, but there was a fire within me that embraced the pain after four passing weeks with zero running. Even better, when my friend told me that our average pace was a sub 9, I was beyond content! My Crossfit and Insanity workouts really helped me keep some strength during the four weeks of rest. More importantly, there was no pain on my left heel, which was the catalyst for my running hiatus.

Monday December 15

Monday was rather quite uneventful, and what I was looking forward to the most was my 5:30 Crossfit workout. Mondays are heavy squat day. Instead of back squats, I found myself rushing to pick up my two-year-old off the floor right after lifting an exorbitantly heavy mirror off her body. Upon picking her up, I immediately noticed a bruise on her wrist accompanied with swelling. She kept screaming, “It hurts, it hurts.” Trying to remain calm, I asked her to move her fingers, her wrist, and her arms. She did, but with painful sobbing and giant tears rolling down her eyes. Wearing spandex and a bright yellow tech shirt, my husband and I rushed to the emergency room.

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My baby’s hand and her nails that are in need of a fresh coat of polish (she’s two, but she loves getting her nails polished). Her swelling and bruising looked so much worse in person.

The X-Ray came back showing no broken bones and there was nothing but relief flowing through our bodies after the flow of adrenaline rush. The only bad news we were given was that the little one might experience significant pain throughout the night caused by the bruising and swelling. Pain indeed was what she experienced after we left the hospital, and she wasn’t able to rest wasn’t until 2 am.

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All smiles when she learned she was going to go home.

Tuesday December 16

All I wanted to do was run. That’s all I wanted. Once my toddler finally gave in and took a MUCH NEEDED nap, I hopped on the treadmill and run my heart out. Because I was so eager to give my lungs a push, I decided to increase my pace on the treadmill every quarter-mile. This translated to nine second increases every 400 meters. My pace began with a ten minute mile, and I was going to complete a total of four miles. Once I started running, I realized I had no idea what my final pace would be, but I figured I’d know once I got there. Another random fact about me, I make up my runs on the whim.

Fantastic! That was exactly how I felt and even though I knew by mile 2.5 that I would eventually hit sub 8 miles, I was not at all intimidated. After huffing and puffing the last 1600 meters, I was absolutely proud of myself!

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Happy! Happy! Happy!

Tuesday and Wednesday were both Crossfit days, and Wednesday’s workout was brutal! One of the three workouts included climbing ropes after a sequence of Olympic lifts (Power Snatch). Today, Thursday, I’m sore from head to toe!

How is your Winter training coming along? We’re any curve balls pitched your way by this game we called life?

Mission Not Accomplished

This blog began as a way to document my training towards running a half marathon in under two hours. My first post partum half marathon was in March, and it was exhilarating to return to my favorite distance of 13.1. May was my second half-marathon, and it was the course where I was aiming for a sub-2. When that did not occur, and I wanted to continue pursuing my sub-2 goal, I decided I might as well run a half-marathon every month for 12 months until it happened.

 

Make-God-laugh

 

October’s half-marathon marked 1/2 marathon number seven for the year,and number six for my goal. And folks, that’s where it ended. My half-marathon streak ended in October. Upsetting. Frustrating. Self-Pity. Jealousy. It was a cycle of various emotions.  I was upset I was not able to accomplish my goal. Frustration was what I felt when I went on a nine mile run and I felt a sharp pain on my left heel. In fact, it was so painful, I could barely walk. Self-pity seeped in when I knew I’d have to admit it on my blog. Jealousy intermingled with both self-pity and frustration when I compared my mileage to those who average a whole lot more per month and seem to be immune to running injuries. Despite my whirlwind of emotions, I know that resting my foot is what is best for me in the long run. I’ve got a Marathon to run in May, and I don’t just want to cross the finish line strong, I actually want to make it to the starting line strong.

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Now that I am in the acceptance stage, I’m maintaining physical strength by attending Crossfit classes four days out of the week. Insanity is helping me with my cardio, but I’m only doing it three times a week because I find that more than that hurts my knees. To maintain my sanity, I’m reading, watching Christmas movies, and trying to stay on budget for the month by not overspending on gifts. While I have been tempted numerous times to go for a run, I remind myself that I would like to run for as long as I’m physically capable, so I cannot one run to sabotage the many miles I still have ahead of me. I’m hoping to start running again the third week of December. This will give me the opportunity to rest my foot for four weeks, say goodbye to the year with a few final miles, begin my marathon training, and ring in the new year with a fresh start. Furthermore, I will have 21 weeks to train for my first Marathon of 2015.

 

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What I’m currently reading, thanks to my friend Kim.

 

 

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We went on the hunt for our Christmas Tree

 

 

 

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Decorating our Christmas Tree