Friday, August 28, 2009

Preparing for my first half marathon/training updates

I am going to enter my first half-marathon. While I've done a number of half-marathon courses in my training, I've never actually done a half race. It is going to be the Park's Half Marathon and it runs from Rockville to Bethesda, MD on Sunday September 13th. It is going to serve as a tune-up race for the Marine Corps Marathon, which means that I can evaluate my progress and how well my training has been going 6 weeks prior to the big race. It should be a great race, and I'm very excited about it. I think my goal is going to be 1:45 for the race, which means 8 minute miles. I think that will be a reasonable goal, but anything under 1:50 will be fine with me. I haven't race since early June, so it'll be good to get out there in 2 weeks and get the adrenaline pumping again.
Marathon training has been going fine. It's been so hot in DC, and while I've been hydrating and trying to keep cool, it's still hard to run in 90 degree heat. So, I've been getting up early to try and squeeze my runs in before the sun and heat really start to be an issue.
I'm currently eating a late dinner in attempt to carbo-load a little before my 14 miler tomorrow. While there is no need to actually carbo-load until the marathon, I've found it really helpful to have a big dinner the night before a long run. I've developed a nice pre-long run routine, which often includes a good dinner, some tv, good foot lotion, and early to bed. Here's hoping tomorrow's run is a success!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Continually humbled during my training

I never have thought that training for my second marathon would be Training 2.0 - that it would be easy since I had already done it once. I knew from the get-go that I would be stepping things up, in order to achieve my new goal - to BQ at the Marine Corps Marathon. But there are a number of things that still continue to surprise and humble me as I progress into my training (halfway through and the race is exactly 2 months from today!):

I have a newfound respect for the pool. I spent the summer working alongside an expert swimmer, who even has gone to Nationals on a regular basis. In addition to developing a friendship, we each took part in each other's sports. She would accompany me to the track for workouts, and then I would jump in the pool for aqua jogging (which I now love - it feels so good!). While neither of us could excel in the other, we each had an increasing respect for the other's sport. I swam 1000 yards today- yikes! While it wasn't at an all out pace, it was quite the workout. I'd love to get up to 1600 at some point. I think there is something to be said about the fact that we are both distance athletes. While Jenny and I may not be able to fully understand each other's sport, we each understand the necessities of endurance and stamina in both the pool and on the road. Sharing those experiences have proven to be quite helpful, as well as reassuring. It's so nice to know when others experience the same issues, doubts, questions, and successes (oh right! forgot about those!) as you do.

Even though I only know a couple of other marathoners, there are tens of thousands of people who are doing what I am doing, too. At least 100,000 people will run a marathon this fall. It's very reassuring to know I am not alone. That means others understand what it means to rise at 5AM to workout, put the run in front of sleep, or sacrifice a night out in order to not sacrifice your body, and they are doing it as well. I also just watched the documentary "The Spirit of the Marathon," which featured five runners (including Deena Kastor) training for the 2005 Chicago Marathon. It was very moving to watch, particularly because I understood so many of the emotions that I have experienced. Definitely check it out (it's on if you have some time.

So, even as the training is getting harder, I'm feeling quite fortunate. I am not alone. I have people in my life who can help boost me up and show me that I am alone.

Thank goodness for that.