Hello! Back from our whirlwind tour of the midwest, filled to the brim with wedding joy (congrats again Jen & Sean <3), family time, catching up with old and far away friends, reminiscing, cheese, ice cream and beer adventures, gawking at how much the Madison campus has changed since I graduated a mere 2 years ago, and lotssssss of time on the road. I don’t need to drive another car for a good long while, thanks!
Meanwhile, I started up on my real-life marathon training plan, led by my wonderful coach, Heather, who will be helping me every step of the way! So far so good, but there was a bit of a learning curve I had to jump on to.
Things I’ve learned in the first weeks of training
- The phrase “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” is real
- You don’t have to feel super fatigued for a run to be worth-it
- There are a lot of hidden expenses involved with getting serious with running
- Toenails are fleeting
- Running at a lower heart rate makes the miles fly by
- Running at a lower heart rate is harder than it sounds
I ran my first “long run” this past Saturday, and found it unusually challenging in ways that I’m not used to. For one, the great majority of the 100 minute run was below a heart rate of 165. I got really used to pushing myself to run a steady pace of 8:30 while training for my half and never really paid attention to my heart rate. Now that I finally am paying attention to it, I realize how much extra effort I was exerting trying to maintain that pace! Running below 165 for me right now means running between 9:30-10 minute miles, and sometimes (especially when running with all the speedies along the Charles river…) it feels like crawling. I had to resist the urge to speed up — every time I did, my heart rate would climb upwards of 170 and I knew I needed to conserve my energy for the later part of the run where I would be running 2 sets of 8:30 pace for 5 minutes with a 2 minute “cool down” in between. After 65 minutes of slowwww running, I was amazed to find that I had run about 7 miles and hardly felt fatigued at all! I reminisced to the half marathon and realized I felt 2x worse at mile 4 during that race (granted, that was in sweltering heat but still–) than I did 65 minutes into this long run. BUT then I tried to speed up. Yikes. My legs did nottttt want to run at 8:30. Getting up to that pace was rough and I felt like I was straight up sprinting. What?! This used to be my cruising pace. Longest 5 minutes ever. I realized I should probably down a little fuel and used the first 2 minute rest to chew on a few jelly beans. My coach said I could probably fuel a bit earlier, like every 35-40 minutes, so I’ll definitely be experimenting with that on the next run. Overall, I feel a lot better heading into the training knowing I can trust my body to run for a long time and that I need to focus on fueling properly and building my aerobic capacity. I have my first 2 hour run on my schedule for this weekend, and I am anxiously looking forward to it! Hoping the weather cooperates!!
For the past few weeks, my training has been a little sporadic due to my traveling back in Minnesota and Wisconsin, with lots of days spent on the road or without access to proper training landscapes (crosstraining was a bit difficult). Thankfully, I was able to hit up a pilates class with my mom at her gym using a guest pass, and had access to the gym for a full 24 hours (luxury!). I also went to an outdoor yoga class with her towards the end of my trip for a bit of a different experience. Not much of a work-out, as it was labeled “restorative” yoga with a lot of focus on holding poses, but it was a beautiful morning and lovely to be within nature practicing yoga. That was about all I managed for cross training during the last few weeks, with a few body weight exercises here and there and quite a bit of walking. I managed to fit in almost all of my scheduled runs, which were mostly pretty easy with a few timed intervals and tempos. Luckily I was in Minnesota for my 7-miler and I was able to run on the gorgeous regional trail that winds around Lake Minnetonka. It was a muggy morning, but the terrain made it worth it. Otherwise, I tried to just have fun with my runs and get most of them out of the way in the morning so I had the rest of the day to enjoy my trip!
Now that I’m moving into some more serious training, I’m realizing really quickly that I’m going to need to invest in a new pair of sneaks. My current pair, lovely cotton candy colored Saucony Guides, are wearing down in the heal and I could feel a little too much pavement for my liking on my last run. Next on the list of running purchases I’ll need to make: a handheld water bottle to take with me, new fueling options to test out, and some running sunglasses. I also made an amazon mistake and bought an older-generation heart rate monitor that didn’t come equipped with features I need (and frankly just want at this point) like GPS tracking, interval capability, and bluetooth syncing. I was thankfully able to return it even after running a half marathon with it for amazon credit, and purchased the TomTom Cardio Spark instead — so far I’m really happy with it!! It tracks just about everything, even gym workouts, and syncs with TrainingPeaks effortlessly. I can program interval workouts or track them manually, and it even stores music and podcasts so I can run phone-free! Beyond all this, it also works as a fitness tracker and will track steps and sleep if I wear it continuously, completely taking over anything I lost by not wearing a Fitbit anymore. Highly recommend it so far. But hey someone send me some lottery tickets. Homegirl is stretched.
As you may or may not know, I’m actually training for this marathon to run for an amazing non-profit organization — Action for Healthy Kids. With my help, and the help of hundreds of other racers, the charity will raise money to fund many programs throughout the country that address childhood obesity prevention. From Walk-to-School programs, to farmers markets, to after school sports clubs, the mission of this organization is to help make it easier for kids to live healthier lives through exercise and nutrition — to sorely lacking areas for most of today’s young generation. I can’t imagine a more motivating charity to raise money for as I train for my first ever marathon. Even more motivating than just simply crossing the finish line after 26.2 miles is knowing that I will have helped to fund really meaningful programs all around the country to build a healthier generation — really the thesis of my life’s work!!
But I can’t get there without you. I need to raise $3,000 by race day and so far I have some AWESOME donations, but I’m nowhere near close! If I don’t raise enough, I’ll be funding the rest and did you read what I said about already needing to win the lottery? No need to donate a huge chunk of change .. every little bit counts and I would be SO appreciative of whatever you choose to give to the organization in my honor! Follow the link below to submit donations.
❤ ❤ ❤