A note from the non-sentimental, swear-I’m-not-being-sarcastic-this-time author :
THANK YOU, EVERYONE ONE OF YOU. Your comments – before the race, on the live updates, and now after – mean SO much to me. The world would be a better place if everyone was as awesome as all of you. Maybe we can all chip in for a private island and live happy ever after together? I’ll bring the Snickers and the beer…
Today’s workout consists of an all-day arms strength session. That would be me heave-ho’ing my body into and out of my desk chair, since my legs can do nothing but produce lactic acid and yell at me for the time being.
I say “Shut up, legs – remember what we did yesterday? IT WAS AWESOME. Let’s go get some froyo.“
In the meantime, a final wrap up on my 5 Weeks to Marathon Plan…
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Now, I don’t want to tell you that Hal Higdon, Runner’s World, and the entire science of Physiology is a total crock of shit, but ummm… well yeah, that’s kind of what I’m going to tell you.
I should first
brag mention that I’m a pretty naturally athletic person.
Second, it should be noted that I did not go from “zero” to “marathon” in 5 weeks. Almost, but not quite.
December 5th I ran the Rock n Roll Vegas Half. I took the next two months “off” – spent a lot of time on the elliptical, light weight lifting, and getting into yoga. Ran a few times a week, usually 3 or 4 miles at a time, focusing on getting my “fast legs” back. (read : mile repeats, tempo runs, want-to-puke workouts)
The next day I found out I won Lea‘s giveaway for a free entry to the LA Marathon (courtesy of Salon Pas, one of the race sponsors). And so, the 5 Weeks to Marathon challenge was born.
I knew a shortened training schedule would be in my favor for one simple reason – I’m injury prone. Marathon Attempts #1 & #2 were both sucker-punched by sudden injuries during Week 14 of my 16 week plan (Runner’s World Break 4 or Bust) Summary of said injuries is on this post.
With a decent cardio base but lacking in the endurance department, I made sure every run MATTERED. There were no “junk runs” built into my plan. I also made sure to keep low-impact cross-training and yoga a priority.
There were a few skipped or shortened weekday runs. I’m human. I’m moody. I don’t love running more than I do sleeping, beer, or sitting on my couch eating trail mix. It happens. Rules were made for breaking, right?
But MORE THAN ANYTHING, I made sure to get those Long Runs in every week. I knew I could sprint and stretch and bike to my heart’s VO2 Max content, but if my body wasn’t used to being upright and moving for a long period of time, I’d never survive the marathon.
Despite quite a few hurdles – including a very boozey business trip and my first time snowboarding – I hit those long runs with more determination than anything. They were hard. Going from 4 miles to 15 miles in two weeks is NOT EASY. I almost threw myself into the bay on a number of occasions, but the miles got logged.
By my last training run, I was in a weird place mentally. I was excited to be finally racing injury-free, and I was confident that I’d dont mostly everything in my power to get ready. But I was never nervous. Which kind of freaked me out.
I’m guessing it was because I only had 5 weeks invested, rather than the typical FOUR MONTHS people take to prepare. That’s a ton of real estate to put on a single race. I’ve always said being an Olympic Athlete would be the hardest thing, because you train and you train, and your ONE CHANCE to make those dreams come true only comes every four years. And then it’s over, just like that.
Since 99.9% of us will never know what it’s like competing in the Olypics, I guess the marathon can be our stand in. At a 1:12 scale. (you know, because 4 months =/= 4 years?)
(horrific weather not accounted for)
I ran smart this race. I started modestly, took fuel before I felt I needed it, and didn’t chase. I kept a check on my form and made sure to proactively correct anything getting wonky. You do those things, and I don’t care how much training you’ve done, you’re giving yourself a fighting chance.
Around mile 10 I started getting worried. I was battling some negative thoughts and starting to succomb to the idea that I wasn’t ready. Everytime I thought “How am I going to run xx more miles?!” or “Ugh my legs feel like lead” or “I have to walk, there’s no way I can run another step” I answered back with :
You’re out here. You’re doing it. You said you would, now DO IT. You’re healthy. You were given this opportunity and you are CAPABLE. Just shut up and keep running!
(There were different levels of rudeness and some name-calling during a few of those chats, but that’s the jist)
Other than talking to myself (this might be vain) ((don’t care)), everytime I passed someone or someone stopped to walk, I relished in the pride that I was still moving. ‘I am strong enough for this’, I told myself. It kept me going.
I took ibuprofen at mile 20 which GREATLY helped my achiness. I don’t take pain meds for everyday aches for this very reason – I want it to work when I need it to most. Battling through all those migraines was so worth the relief for those last 6.2 miles.
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Yes, my legs were tired. Yes, if I’d trained harder or longer I probably wouldn’t have had to walk up those two hills. Yes, I probably could have broken 4 hours. Do I have any reservations about what I did?
For my next training cycle (YES, there will be another marathon in my future!) I’ll add another week or two onto the plan. Having a couple extra long runs under my belt would definitely be beneficial, but for injury-prevention I’m definitely keeping it under 8 weeks.
No/Short-Train Racing is definitely a keeper. My old-lady joints and new PR say so :)
Obviously these are my personal opinions – based on my own experience, my own body, my own capabilities. I encourage anybody considering an alternative training plan to take a SERIOUS mental check of their fitness levels and physical conditions. Oh and consult a doctor? Isn’t that what they say at the end of those exercise infomercials???