Back on the Training Train

Summer, Sunshine, Sweat, and best of all Running!!! Yes, I am now running and have begun training for Marine Corps Marathon. My first official training run began Tuesday June 2; a slow and easy three miles. While there is a desire to push my body harder, I am definitely starting off with low mileage and an easy pace to allow my foot maximum time possible to continue healing. I’ve been issued orthotics for both my feet, and while there is still a slight discomfort present when running, my foot is on the right path to full recovery. My marathon training will once again focus on not only running, but strength training via Crossfit and yoga, as well as walking on rest days, and just plain old fun at the park with my girls.

Sleeveless and leg exposure for the win! I’m so happy warmer temperatures are finally here!

When I set out to run Eugene, I wanted to do my best and quantified it with finishing in under four hours and 20 minutes. There is no doubt in my mind had I not been injured, I would have not only achieved my goal, I would have surpassed it. While completely irrational and superstitious for that matter (which I do not consider myself to be) I can’t help but believe putting a time slot on my performance completely jinxed me and caused the injury. Thus, I am now terrified of even dreaming about a strong finish with Marine Corps Marathon. Maybe it’s because I am not 100% recovered, or because I am afraid of going through another 17 weeks of training to only end up being injured four weeks before the 26.2 performance. Whatever the reason, I am not feeling very confident about my running abilities right now. This feeling is extremely frustrating, because it pushes me inside a box full of fear and suppresses the idea that dreams are possible. Perhaps the feeling will change in the next month or two when I have built up the strength and endurance to go further or faster. Yes, I am grateful to be able to run again, grateful that I have the freedom to do so, grateful my injury was small in the grand scheme of things, but nonetheless, I am still hungry for a strong performance in the marathon distance.

I’m avoiding running on concrete for as long as I can and while not very exciting, running around the track has reduced the shock and impact on my injured arch.

Running has not been the only way I’ve kept active. I have also been keeping myself on the move by walking our dog every morning and averaging at least three miles each day. Depending on how distracted or not my dog is, we are completing our three-mile walks in under an hour. Our fastest three-mile was done in under 45 minutes, and our slowest has been around 54 minutes. I’d like to see how fast we can power walk and beat our under 45 minute mark.

My dog Jake, who is governed by scents and food.

Crossfit has also been consistently on my schedule of workouts, and last week, I managed to do five consecutive Crossfit workouts. I don’t think I have ever done five straight Crossfit workouts in one week, so this was quite an accomplishment for me. Because the running miles have been low (11 miles total per week), I am seizing the opportunity to lift heavy before the weeks with high mileage begin. I do love Crossfit, but I have avoided doing five workouts per week not only because sore muscles make running extremely painful, but because some of the workouts require such a high  number of repetitions, some of them end up leaving me with pain that make my training runs extremely painful. There are some people I work out with that six days of Crossfit a week works for them, but I have come to learn that my body is different and prefers four Crossfit work out days maximum. Crossfit definitely pushes me mentally and forces me to step outside of my comfort zone. When my body feels like it cannot do an extra repetition, I visualize myself at the 20 mile mark of my marathon and remind myself that the extra repetition, no matter how painful, will help get me across the finish line strong. My mental training is one factor I have been diligently working on, as I feel that it can work against me even when I am feeling strong.

Flexing and working on muscle gains since it is evident for me that my legs are slimmer than I would like them to be. 

Furthermore, I’ve been spending at least two hours a day at the park with my daughters in order to get them out of the house while keeping my sanity for the Summer season. While they slide, swing, argue, cry, yell, and repeat the cycle, I try to practice some yoga poses. I’m definitely not even remotely close to considering myself a yoga enthusiast, but there are some challenging poses I’ve enjoyed trying. Some are good for stretching, while others seem just outright impossible. Yoga has never really been my cup of tea because the pace seems rather slow for me. A shooting heart rate and perspiration feels more challenging and satisfying than a methodical approach to a specific move. However, it is because of the specific aforementioned reasons that I am taking the time to do Yoga. It is a way to not only allow my muscles to recover while strengthening them, but allow my mind to slow down and focus. This comes in handy when I am running and losing my form or thinking too far ahead of the race. It is a way to enjoy mile twenty-one as much as mile one.

I love backbends! Not only do I feel it stretches all my sore muscles, I also feel five inches taller once I’m done.

Last but certainly not least, I have been putting a strong emphasis on of my biggest areas of weakness when it comes to training: food. When it comes to lack of discipline in eating, I am a good example. I pretty much each when I want, what I want, and as much as I want. I am not saying this to brag, I am saying this because once I the injury forced me to stop running, I started writing down what I was eating and noticed just how heavily carb-loaded my food intake was. More than 50% of my caloric intake were carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, muffins, beans), followed by healthy fats (I was consuming at least two avocados a day and spreading coconut oil on most of my breads) and very little fruits and vegetables. While I felt like I was burning off all the calories running six days a week and justified my eating habits, once I stopped running, I had a hard time curbing the carbs and fats. Thus, I have put a strong emphasis on consuming more greens and reducing the amount of carbs – at least until I start running more than 11 miles a week.

I love good fats and I cannot lie!!

One final last but not least, here is a pretty awesome schedule (if I have to say so myself)  of my upcoming races:

June 19-20 – Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay in Utah. I will be traveling to Utah and joining eleven women I have never met before and traversing 203 miles of beautiful scenery! How exhilarating!

August 1 – Catherine Creek Classic Half Marathon. This was the half-marathon where I completed 13.1 miles in under two hours. Ten weeks ago, I would have made it a goal to break 1:50 in this course, but today, I am going to enjoy 13.1  miles without any time pressure. It will also be my first half-marathon since February’s half-marathon where I PR’d.

August 7-8 – Elkhorn Relay. This is a local relay race and it is the first one in the Blue Mountains. It will consist of 11 runners (not including myself) and it is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous scenery of Eastern Oregon. Best part, the entry fee was only $40, a steal for races of this magnitude.

October 25 – Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. This race will be so symbolic and I find myself not wanting to say too much about it because I do not want to do anything that may hinder me getting to the starting line, so I am proceeding with caution.

What are your Summer Plans? Do you have any upcoming races? Do you ever think you jinx yourself or are superstitious about something? How do you train for a marathon?

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4 thoughts on “Back on the Training Train

  1. So happy to see you’re training “back on track”, Luisa. Your slow, more gradual approach is probably best while your foot regains its strength. Jake has to be loving his fast walks with you, too, where his nose can take in all those enticing outdoor scents. About jinxing your Marine Corps Marathon, I’m reminded of my mom. I asked her one time in my early 20s if she was getting excited about a trip she and I were taking to Hawaii, and she said no, that she wouldn’t be excited until she was on the plane, an attitude formed from a life of many disappointments. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit on guard as long as it doesn’t become a stumbling block. You amaze me, Luisa, by your fortitude and tenacity. The rewards and joy are sure to be many.

    • Thanks Maureen, I’d like to end my running year without any injuries, so I’m forcing myself to take it easy. Jake is loving Summer as he gets to see the outdoors more often during warmer temps. He too is a warmer temps kind of species.

  2. I am so happy to hear you are back on the running train. You are smart to start slow, easy, and run on terrain that is comfortable. I hope the new orthotics work out well for you as you start increasing your mileage and distance. That’s great that you have remained so active and balanced during the off-season.

    Relays are always exciting and make for a unique experience. How did you find the group of women you will be racing with in Utah?

    Racing in the Blue Mountains sounds challenging! I’m guessing there will be a lot of climbing!!

    • I’m running as part of a Oiselle Team. I’m in a FB group along with other members and there was a Ragnar team that had been formed and needed another runner.

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