Tag Archives: marathon

Marathon Musings – Week 9

This post is alternately titled “The week that wasn’t”. Did I run? Yes. Did I strength train? Yes. Did I do yoga? Yes. But am I where I should be for  more than halfway to a marathon? Absolutely not. Despite scaling back my training exponentially this week… I’m still in pain.

Last night, after a good conversation with Mike, I’ve made the decision that it’s time to call it on the marathon. My knee isn’t ready for this right now. Everything in my body is screaming at me that continuing to push to train for this marathon isn’t the right decision. It’s time to stop fighting it and listen. One mantra that Tina uses a lot that I really love is… “Accept and adjust.” I know there’s going to be another marathon in my future, but it’s not going to be this March.

I won’t lie, thinking about having to admit that I was “giving up” on the blog gave me huge pause. But then I stopped at reminded myself two very important things. 1 – I’m not giving up. I’m not quitting. I am making a decision about what is right for my body and my mind. And 2 – As Amy also pointed out at one time, I can’t live my life as exhibit for this blog. (A “publicity stunt” as so so eloquently put it!)

Also… I’ve already run a marathon. Life bucket list item accomplished. Why can’t I just let it lie?? During our talk (that was probably painful for him but I really like to just beat a subject to death before letting it go), I confessed that I felt like I couldn’t be a hardcore runner or athlete without running marathons. I have this horrible habit of thinking that I should be able to do everything (and do it well) and if I can’t, I’m lacking in some way.

But I am a runner. I am a runner whether or not I ever run another marathon ever again. This is just an opportunity for me to find a different challenge. The challenge that is right for me at this moment in my life. And if you know me at all… you know I’m going to find one. This morning I woke up with a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. Accept… and adjust.

Luckily, the marathon I chose has a half marathon too! I’ve decided to defer down to the half and still fundrace for Back On My Feet! So Marathon Musings is going to change… to Half Marathon Musings! I’ve still got a half marathon coming up this spring and who knows… maybe there’s a new PR in it for me? 🙂


Here’s to running in health and happiness for many years to come!!

Marathon Musings – Week 8

Let’s make today short and sweet… just wanted to check in with you guys about marathon training (wanna know something weird… 9 times out of ten when I type the word “marathon” I initially spell it “Marathong”… what is that all about??)

Here’s what the schedule looked like this week:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8M Tempo Strength + Yoga Speed (1k Repeats) 6M + Strength 5M 15M 7M

I did a great strength circuit on Tuesday that I shared on the blog but also topped off the day with a 75 minute advanced yoga class at my old studio. I was supposed to meet a friend, but sadly she got stuck in traffic. In hindsight, even though this class ROCKED my socks off, I overdid it for what was supposed to be a “rest day”. This is definitely where I struggle with marathon training. It’s just so much RUNNING and I like to do other stuff too. So I tend to cram my other favorites into my rest days and they end up being well… not that restful.

Good news is my 15 miler on Saturday was a DREAM. My legs felt awesome. I did 15 miles in 2:37 which about a 10:30 min/mile pace. Perfecto (I should’ve probably run it a bit slower but WHATEVER) I finished that run being like “I’m going to kick this marathon’s ASS. Marathon training rocks, why do I hate it so much??”


Bad news… my knees were KILLING me by Sunday. I did my 7 miles but it was not pretty. By the end I could barely bend my left leg. I took an ice bath on Saturday but Sunday I had ice packs on and off my knees almost all afternoon. This is not good because this is exactly how my knees felt when I got injured fall 2011. Since that injury (which had me out of running for over 2 months and I was NOT happy), I went to a physical therapist who helped my build up more strength in my hips. She and I also worked together to fix my stride a bit. I was originally using a very quad-dominant stride with somewhat of a tendency for heel striking. Now my stride is more balanced with my hamstrings / glutes and I am much better about mid-foot striking.


I wasn’t anticipating this injury to flare up again. I thought I fixed my stride, I’m strength training again, I focus on all the right stuff… this shouldn’t be happening! Also… UGH. What else is going to go wrong this training cycle? First mono and now this?? This makes me feel frustrated. And a little sad if I can be completely honest.

This all has gotten me to thinking… is The Hanson Method the right approach for me? Honestly, I don’t know. The whole point of this training program is to reduce your risk of injury while also turning you into a marathon running beast. But maybe 6 days per week of running is just not what is right for my specific body?? I have been looking at a couple other training plans to see if maybe I could do a switch. I’m considering one of Hal Higdon’s training programs (either Novice 2 or Intermediate 1… depending).

I woke up this morning knowing there was positively NO way I could do an 8 mile tempo run. I did 75 minutes of cross-training to somewhat simulate the workout (purely time wise, not really in intensity) and even that was challenging. I think for this week I’m going to take a week from Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 plan and see how I do. Here’s what I’m thinking:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Cross Train 4M + Strength / Yoga 8M 4M+ Strength / Yoga Cross / Yoga 17M Easy Cross

Anyone else ever changed training plans mid-cycle?? I’m freaking out a little over here (I know… BIG SHOCK. Whatever I’m just your run of the mill emotional trainwreck people!)

Marathon Friendly Circuit Workout

How sweet is this picture?? I used Picmonkey.com to jazz it up for you guys!! I read about Picmonkey from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers and am very grateful for it 🙂

Anyways onto the post at hand! In the spirit of my resolution to do more strength training this week (for the sake of my knee but also in the hopes of one day having a smoking hot bod… bahaha just kidding), I put together a “marathon friendly” circuit workout to do on Tuesday morning. Marathon training and strength training require a delicate balance. I don’t want to blow out my legs lifting when I need them for a difficult run, but at the same time I want to make sure I’m keeping key running muscles toned and ready for injury prevention. I also don’t want to neglect my upper body and core, which are totally crucial to good running posture and injury prevention (mostly core for the injury prevention part).

I tend to use my off day and my easy run days for my strength training to allow all my energy / focus to be on running on my SOS days (That’s Hanson Method speak for “Something of Substance” workouts… basically your hard workouts).

I incorporated some basic lower body movements and plyometrics (GREAT for runners), a solid upper body workout, and plenty of focus on the core into this approximately 30 minute strength training workout. I did it “for time” to get my heart rate up and challenge myself. You can totally just do 12 reps each for 3 rounds and not time it.

My times were: Circuit #1 = 7:57, Circuit #2 = 7:25, Circuit #3 = 8:59

Marathon Circuit FINAL

Marathon Musings – Weeks 5, 6 & 7

My holiday vacation turned into a slightly longer break from blogging too. But the good news is that during that time I’ve taken the opportunity to really think about the blog, my vision for it, etc. Sometimes I definitely found myself defaulting to like “hey look at this fun thing I did!” posts, so I didn’t have to think about or come up with good content. While I want my blog to be personal so there is a real person attached to the words I write, it’s not supposed to be a Xanga (haha I might be dating myself by referencing that… did anyone else have a live journal in middle school??? I totally did… it was SO emo). Anyways, I’ve come up with a formula that I’d like to follow for posts. This formula has a topic for each week day, but if I don’t have anything to write about I’m just going to skip posting that day. Anyways, you probably don’t care but just wanted to give you some news!

I’m several weeks behind on Marathon Musings but don’t worry I haven’t quit training! Far from it in fact. I have definitely gotten mono from Mike, but mercifully my symptoms have been 1/4 as bad as his were (my poor baby!). I took a doctor’s advice and took one week really easy. Then I tried to get back into it the next week and was able to complete everything except the long run (more on that later in this post). This past week I was finally totally back on track. Woohoo! Here’s what the weeks called for in the Hansom Plan:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5 mi Tempo OFF Speed (400M Repeats) 4 mi 8 mi 8 mi 4 mi
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5 mi Tempo OFF Speed (600 M Repeats) 4 mi 6 mi 10 mi 6 mi
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5 mi Tempo OFF Speed (800M Repeats) 5 mi 6 mi 10 mi 5 mi

Here’s what I ended up dong:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
OFF 5 mi OFF 5 mi OFF 8 mi 4 mi
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5 mi Tempo OFF Speed (600M Repeats) 4 mi 3 mi 6 mi OFF
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5 mi Tempo OFF Speed (800M Repeats) 5 mi 6 mi 10 mi 5 mi

Here’s what is going well:

1. Pacing / Speed: I’m getting a lot more comfortable with doing “easy runs”. Mike firmly believes that the sign of a runner “maturing” is becoming confident enough to do easy runs. I was out for my easy 5 miler on Thursday evening and I realized I was completely LOVING this run. When I got to mile 4 I was actually bummed out that I only got 1 more mile to be running. How weird is that? I’m also hitting my paces really well in my tempo runs, speed work, and long runs. My tempo runs are going to start getting longer this week and I’m looking forward to that. I traditionally haven’t liked speed work much, but I’ve been REALLY enjoying how challenging these workouts are.

2. Mileage: I’m back and able to get the miles in even though my body is pretty fatigued from the mono. I really needed that 10 miles on Saturday as a confidence builder. I have a 15 miler on the schedule for next Saturday and there’s no way I was going to feel ready without getting 10 miles in and feeling good. Unless the mono makes some sort of great surge this week, I feel fairly confident that I will be able to continue to stick to the program.

3. Stretching / Rolling: The frequency of my runs is definitely leaving my muscles tired and sore (the mono is probably contributing there too). I’ve been REALLY disciplined about stretching out after each run and using the stick (especially on my calves… holy god my calves are so sore all the time).

Here’s what I’d like to focus on this week:

1. Strength Training / Yoga: With the holidays and the mono, I’ve really only been able to focus on running the marathon miles. I really need to get back on track with strength training and yoga. I noticed a twinge in my knee this week, which suggests that I REALLY need to get back on my strength training game. I have 2 strength sessions on the calendar this week and a couple yoga sessions too!

2. Mental game: This continues to be a struggle. Two Saturdays ago I actually TRIED to do a 10 miler, but only made it the 6. Then the next day I was completely wrecked and couldn’t even fathom exercising. I have never started a long run and not finished it. This was a huge confidence killer. I came home really upset, talking about giving up on the marathon all together! I was asking myself questions like “Why am I even doing this? I hate it!” This week I want to focus on the goal and keep myself positive! Can’t let one bad run ruin everything!

Here’s a sneak peak at what’s up ahead this week on the schedule:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8 mi Tempo (and light Yoga) No Run (Strength Training + Yoga) Speed (1K Repeats) 6 mi (and Strength) 5 mi (and Yoga) 15 mi 7mi (and maybe some yoga)

Marathon Musings – Infected Addition

Annnnnddddd just like that… we’re 17 again.

Mike has mono… at almost 29 years old.

Poor guy has been sick now for over two weeks. At first we thought it just was a really bad flu, and I tried to be really careful not to get it too. Then he got tested at the doctor and sure enough… it’s mono. Unfortunately, the incubation period for mono is 4 – 7 weeks (Thank you WebMD). Which means that I was exposed to it long before he started having symptoms. Have I also mentioned that I never had mono when I was younger? BLEH. I thought maybe I wouldn’t get it. I thought my iron immune system would beat the odds. Then yesterday, I started getting a sore throat… and the body aches. Today I’ve got the sore throat, the body aches, the fatigue, and the headache. I’m not full on as bad as Mike is… so a tiny part of me is still holding out hope. Looking at how sick Mike is right now is like a terrifying crystal ball into my future. This is going to suck.

This is all a way of prefacing this post because if I do in fact have mono… I don’t think there is going to be a marathon in March. That part has really been the hardest for me to think about. But mono could mean (at least) a solid month off from training… from running really at all. I think it’ll be too much time off to be marathon ready. So while I’m not giving up all hope just yet… I am trying to prepare myself mentally for that.

That being said let’s talk about this past week. Here’s what it looked like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5M Rest 4M 5M 4M 6M 4M

I got all of these in except Sunday (when I was feeling sick). I honestly could’ve still gone and run, but I was kinda feeling a little down about the potential of getting so sick. I kept getting in my head like “What’s the point? I’m not going to be able to do the marathon, I might as well just give up now!”

But this morning, I’ve decided to override that tendency for now. I don’t know that I have mono yet. I don’t have all the symptoms yet either and the ones I have are relatively manageable. I need to keep on keeping on. I’m going into this week hoping to keep my schedule going as planned.

I was actually really proud of this week! I got up every single morning to exercise, which was a big deal for me! On Thursday, I had to be at work at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am so obviously that meant I wasn’t going to get my run in in the AM (I just did 30 minutes of yoga at 5 am… what up!). I was really nervous I was going to bail on my run because my work day was going to be so long. BUT I brought my clothes with me to work and went for a great 5 miles after the day was over around the mall. I was really glad that I did it 🙂

Strength training, yoga, and stretching were also ALL on point this week. So I had a great week… I can’t let this mono business derail me before I know it’s happening for sure!! On to the next week! Here’s the plan… things are starting to get interesting this week!

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5 mi Tempo Rest Speed (12x 400M Repeats
w/ 400M Recovery)
4 mi Easy 8 mi Easy 8 mi Long Run 4 mi Easy

Marathon Musings – Week 3

I am just not doing well making these appear regularly on Monday am I? Oh well.. TUESDAY!

3 weeks of Hanson Method Marathon Training Down!

Here’s what the week was supposed to look like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5M Rest 3M 3M 5M 5M Rest

Here’s what the week ended up looking like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Rest 3M 5M 3M Rest 10M Rest

Same # of miles but I juggled some days around. I don’t want to make a habit of that, but life does happen! Monday was an unscheduled rest day. I threw in some light strength training / walking to get myself moving but Mike was REALLY sick. I really wanted to spend time with him (especially because he has been gone all weekend with his friends) so I decided to move the week around. I also lumped my Friday / Saturday runs into one big run because I ran the Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler. I planned to out for an easy 3 on Sunday, but Mike really encouraged me to rest. I wasn’t exactly difficult to persuade! Let’s check in on some stuff!

Pacing: It’s going pretty well! I did my Tuesday 3 miler at slightly higher than marathon pace (10:45). Wednesday’s 5 Miler I wanted to do at marathon pace (10:30). I went out a little too fast (around 9:45) but was able to slow it back to marathon pace for the second half. Thursday I did easy pace (11:00). Saturday obviously was very fast, but I was racing!

Hills: I’m trying to be very intentional about adding challenging hills into my runs. My marathon course will include some hills and I want to be ready for them. My Wednesday run was actually really challenging. Basically the entire second half of the run was uphill and by the end I was definitely tired. I ran that same course again on Monday though because I want to see how much better I can get at that extended hill.

Strength Training / Yoga: Keeping up with strength training a lot, especially thanks for the 2012 Closeout Workout challenge! I will have a recap for that soon… but I did full body strength training on Tuesday and Thursday after my 3 milers. Every night I’ve been doing at least my 75 reps before bed too. I eased off them a little for the race but started back up with those. I did yoga a couple times last week (Wednesday and Thursday) but I really want to get it up to 3 times this week!

Stretching: Apart from wanting to add more yoga… I’ve been SO good about stretching out after runs and I think it’s having a huge impact. I found a good plan for me is to come in from a morning run, get a glass of iced coffee w/ chocolate milk (what up caffeination and recovery all in one cup!) and stretch out for 10 minutes while watching GMA. My muscles are feeling so much better during and after runs… woohoo!

I’m starting to miss my higher mileage runs but I know we’re going to be there very soon. All in all… three weeks in and things are going great. I feel strong and confident right now… so I’m trying to ride that out!

Here’s what this week is going to look like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5M Rest 4M 5M 4M 6M 4M

First six day week of the plan! Check back next week and see how it goes 🙂

Marathon Musings – Week 2

I know this post is two days late…. but let’s all just pretend it’s Monday

(but actually don’t because that would be tragic)

Two weeks of Hanson Plan Marathon Training Down!

Here’s what this week looked like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
4 M Rest 4M 4M 4M 5M Rest

Not exactly the most strenuous week of running ever… but I’m really getting used to the more frequent runs. I also got my new shoes (!!!!!! POST COMING SOON!!!) in the mail so these shorter runs were perfect for breaking them in. I used them for my 4 miler on Friday and my 5 miler on Saturday.

I’m finding that AM running is pretty clutch for me, especially if I want to take it outdoors. I ran outside after work on Thursday and wasn’t loving the vibe. The mornings around me are so much more peaceful. The evenings are clogged with rageful commuters who almost run you down in a crosswalk (WHEN I HAVE THE BLINKY WALKY MAN! Sorry… I’m not bitter or anything). Saturday I opted to do my 5 miler on the treadmill because Sarah was here and that allowed us to workout side by side and chat the whole time.

Pacing is going AWESOME so far. I’ve really been focusing on running my “something of substance” runs at marathon pace and slowing down about 30 – 60 seconds for my recovery runs.

I actually rested on Sunday, and Tuesday I did a pseudo rest day. I did some upper body strength training (light lower body) and yoga instead. I also got some yoga / strength training in a couple other times (look at me go!). I did yoga Monday night and strength training Thursday morning. It makes me feel good to get balanced workouts!

This week I really want to focus on my mental game. Right now things are going really well… but I’m some what “living in fear”. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop and for me to start hating this. That’s just going to end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. I find myself some nights in bed thinking “Gosh, I hope that I actually end up doing my run tomorrow”. I should be thinking “I can’t wait for my run tomorrow… it’s going to be great”. Powers of positive thinking! Marathon training didn’t turn sour last time until like two months in… so I think I can relax a little bit for right now.

I also want to look ahead and try to address some potential obstacles ahead of time. I know adding the Sunday run is going to be tough. Mike takes a rest day on Sunday so I’m worried about my motivation. Also, we usually use Sundays to do a bunch of really fun things. I need to make sure I’m scheduling in the Sunday runs or they’re not going to happen!

Here’s what is on deck this week!

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5M Rest 3M 3M 5M Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler Rest

I’m cheating on my plan and running a 10 miler on Saturday (I’m supposed to only run a 5 miler). We had already signed up for this race and I really don’t want to miss it! I’m going to try and take it easy-ish.

Call Me Crazy

I’m going to New York City this weekend.

That’s right… you heard me. Tomorrow afternoon I am getting on Bolt Bus (that I have been assured is actually operating) and I am going to New York City to see my friends. I haven’t been able to get myself together for a trip to New York in over two years, and I’ll be damned if Sandy is going to stop me. Both people who are housing us this weekend have power and water (they live on the Upper East and Upper West sides, thankfully not downtown) so with a little elbow grease, I think we’re gonna pull this off.


Here’s how I plan to make this happen:

1. Prepare for a long bus trip. It is unclear what kind of traffic we are looking at so even though the bus is scheduled to take about 4 hours, it could be a lot more. Preparations will include dinner / snacks / drinks (potentially alcoholic hehe) and books / movies to watch. Luckily, Mike and I will be together so we have company!

2. Get ready to walk. It is very possible that we will spend a lot of the weekend walking places since the subway is running on very limited service. No worries for me though… since I’m piling on the miles this month anyway. I’m bringing comfy shoes / clothes and packing in a backpack. Urban hiking at its finest.

3. Embrace the situation. I’m going for one reason and one reason only… to see my friends. My life (like most people’s) is BUSY and there are few weekends where this trip is possible. In the words of Tim Gunn… I’m gonna make it work.


The NYC marathon is running (so we won’t be the only people crazy enough to go into New York) and I’m gonna be there with bells on, hanging out and catching up with my friends.

Bring your worst New York… I’m coming for you!

Dreams of Marathons

I feel like everyone in the blog world is running Chicago, Boston, or Marine Corps this year!!! Everyone’s stories about training have totally given me the itch. I have visions of marathons dancing in my head!! I just ran my first marathon in the spring and I had no interest in training again for the fall cycle. My initial plan was to start training next spring and run the Chicago Marathon in 2013. Well… I got antsy and I’ve decided to do a Spring 2013 marathon. And not just any spring 2013 marathon…


That is right boys and girls… the Rock’n’Roll USA Marathon right here in my home city of Washington DC!!! I loved getting to see Nashville and experience a new place, but being so unfamiliar with the terrain really did not serve me well on race day. I also got unlucky in late April and got a day of 85 degree heat and some intense sun. Look at this sunburn!!

By opting for a March marathon, I think I will get the benefit of training through the winter (which I prefer to training in the summer) with the (hopefully!) lower temperatures on race day. Plus, I know DC topography like the back of my hand at this point. I can train on the hardest parts of the course!

In other awesome news… my friend Haley is going to run it too!! It is on her birthday and I’m so excited to have a buddy this go around. Even if we don’t “train together” it’s nice to have someone to talk to through this process. Haley ran her first marathon last year in Pittsburgh and she totally killed it!

Also… Elsa (pictured above on the right) is going to run her first marathon this Spring too!!! She is going to do that Pittsburgh Marathon and we’ve already promised to make the trip up again to cheer her on. I think Haley and I might run the half too! This makes me want to make my spring race schedule really really bad.

Be sure to check out my race calendar and let me know if you’re running any of the same races!!

Friday Favorites

A drum circle in Meridian Hill Park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon

An afternoon spent on a blanket in the sunshine, reading and playing Go Fish (which is not just for kids, and Mike is better at it)

Mike trying out his cousin’s bike. He has been looking at them on Craigs List ever since. I’m partial to the bike he already has though, it’s easier for me to ride on it 🙂

Salted Caramel Yogurt from Pinkberry with Dark Chocolate Crisps and Brownie Pieces (and Elsa in the background)

This picture Mike put on Facebook of me the morning of my marathon. Aren’t I a joy??
Oral hygiene is very important though 🙂

And finally a picture of Elsa finishing her first half marathon in October 2011. This is actually sad because Elsa is moving from DC to Boston next week. I am going to miss her so much!!