Monday, November 21, 2011

Marathon Training: Week 17

Two weeks from the moment I write this (Sunday night), I will become a marathoner.


This week, I got to thinking about the last mile of the race and how I might feel. I'll probably be in pain — my legs will be tired, my feet will be grouchy — and each tenth of a mile will seem to take forever.

At the same time, I think I'll feel overwhelmed with joy and pride. I'll have run farther than I've ever run before, and pushed my body to its limit only to find that its actual limit is somewhere much farther away, waiting quietly at some distance I can't even conceive of.

No, I will not hit that limit on this day.

On this day, I will run through the neon Las Vegas night with my heart and mind set on reaching the finish line at Mandalay Bay. On this day, I will not let myself quit. On this day, I will smile and laugh and probably cry my way to achieving a goal that was 19 weeks in the making.

On this day, I will become a marathoner.

Only two weeks to go. It's starting to get real.


Monday: Strength training — core

The day after running 20 miles, I let my legs recover and instead put a hurtin' on my rarely worked abs.

This involved doing three core-focused segments of Jillian Michaels' No More Trouble Zones DVD, as well as a Runner's World core workout. The whole thing took about 45 minutes and felt like a solid effort. And on Tuesday and Wednesday, my abs felt like they'd been jabbed with a rusty switchblade, so obviously it was effective.

I also cleaned two bathrooms in my townhouse and gave my mildewy shower a good, much-needed scrubbing. Maybe it's sad (and gross) that I count this as a workout, but you should have seen how bad my shower got in college. Progress.

Tuesday: Rest

Long story short: On Tuesday evening, I was chosen to model Brooks Running clothing in a runway show at the company's internal planning meeting. Whaaaat?

Long story long: Read all about it. It's a good one!

Wednesday: 5-mile run + strength

On Wednesday morning, I spent a few hours modeling outfit after outfit at the Brooks planning meeting. This involved walking down an actual runway in front of a bunch of people — one time wearing, my God, booty shorts, a tank top and arm-warmers — and ignoring any shred of self-consciousness I have left in me. I may have also danced to a Pink song and "raised the roof" at one point. Don't ever put me on a stage again.

Again, you can read the full story, plus check out more pictures.

That night, I hit the gym for 5 miles on the treadmill and a strength-training session with free weights. (I had changed clothes next to this girl about 15 times that morning, so finding the motivation to go to the gym was not an issue.)

Thursday: 8-mile run

This is what marathon training looks like, my friends: BIG SWEAT.

In P.E., I used to hate sweating because it meant that I'd ruin my hair, my makeup and any hope of smelling pleasant for the rest of the school day. Now, I think of giant sweat stains as badges of honor, and I imagined that everyone else at the gym was impressed by my treadmill-induced perspiration.

They probably just wanted me to shower and swipe on some Lady Speedstick ASAP, but I can dream.

Friday: 4-mile run

I like going to the gym on Friday nights because even though the parking lot is full (hellooo, everyone taking advantage of their parking passes to go out in Ballard), the machines are mostly empty. That means I have no competition for the treadmill directly in front of the TV playing Real Housewives of Atlanta.

This was a nice and quick run. Time flies when you're watching a fellow gym-goer do burpees and all you can think is, "Thank God I'm not doing that!"

The rest of my crazy Friday night involved making a massive omelette, watching a very cute romantic comedy and hitting the sack before midnight. Life without alcohol is very peaceful and satisfying, indeed.

Saturday: Rest

Three consecutive days of running called for a rest day on Saturday, and it started off with my best friend's little brother's Eagle Scout Court of Honor. It's a really big deal to become an Eagle Scout, and tons of friends and family showed up to support Conner's achievement. I almost cried several times.

In his speech, he threw out a Steve Prefontaine quote ("The only good race pace is suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die") in a nod to his hardcore love of cross-country, and a shoutout to Jean-Paul Sartre. No big deal.

Later, I went for a two-mile walk along the Burke-Gilman Trail with my camera and spent quite some time taking photos and watching the sun set along the Fremont Canal. This is one of my favorite places in Seattle, but I'm always running by and never stop to appreciate it.

It was a very nice, unhurried afternoon.

Sunday: 12-mile run

I'll admit it: I knew Meg would kick my ass on this run. She's super-fast — she'll be a 3:40 pacer at next weekend's Seattle Marathon, which is a Boston-qualifying time for women ages 18-34 — but when she invited me for a bRUNch at her friend's house, how could I refuse? I can't say no to anything involving running and food.

I ended up running 12 miles with Meg and her husband at a 9:03 pace, which is 6 sec/mile faster than my half-marathon PR pace. Basically, I raced it, which is not exactly part of the tapering process.

But I felt pretty great throughout the run, and I can tell I've come a long way in terms of speed and endurance from that half-marathon in September. It's easy to get stuck in a comfort zone and think, "This is my pace and I'll run it every time," but Meg has consistently told me I can run faster if I only let myself. It's nice to have a friend who believes in me like that.

This run reminded me of the Neale Donald Walsch quote that I always want to keep at the front of my brain, so much so that I've had printed on a t-shirt and inscribed on my RoadID: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."


Miles run: 29
Strength-training sessions: 2 — core, free weights
Rest days: 2
Bathrooms cleaned: 2
Random runway shows: 1


Miles run: 396
Miles biked: 68
Swims: 7
Yoga sessions: 1
Strength-training sessions: 20 + 2 shower scrubbings


Weeks 1-4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16


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