Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm Ready to Go the Distance

It's official. I'm running my first marathon on October 7, 2012. I already signed up and paid the registration costs. There's no backing out now.

For my first, I've selected Lakefront Marathon. I spectated a portion of it last year and have heard great things about the race. I also really like that part of the course is an area I frequently run during training. I have a feeling that familiarity will be a blessing, particularly during the final 6.2 miles.

An extra 11.2 miles scares me
As excited as I am about this new challenge, I'm also really scared! My longest run to date is 15 miles during training for last year's fall half marathon. Adding another 11.2 miles to that is, well, a tad overwhelming.

Then there are horror stories I've heard about blisters, cramping, hitting the wall, bonking, etc. I'm fortunate in having only had minor issues with the first two and have never experienced the third or fourth. I fully expect I'll experience the third at some point during the marathon, but hopefully not the fourth!

Training just to finish
But, with proper training (and proper fitting shoes!), I know I can do it. It's still a ways off, so I've yet to write a training plan, but when I do, it will likely start in June with weekly mileage between 50-60. I plan on getting in three 20+ mile long runs along with longer tempo runs, speedwork, hill running and of course, plenty of slow, easy miles.

As for a time goal . . . I'm doing my best not to have one. Everyone I've talked to has told me as a first timer, my only goal is to finish the race. Of course, being competitive, this is easier said than done!

Newly inspired by a former classmate
As a side note, did anyone else watch the NBC Olympic Marathon Trials coverage last Saturday? I followed a live feed in the morning so I already knew the results, but it was still fun seeing some of my favorite runners race!

Following the NBC coverage, I logged onto Facebook and discovered one of my high school classmates competed in the trials and finished 29th! Ariana Hilborn didn't run in high school or college and ran her first marathon in 2008 in 4:36. At last Saturday's trials, she ran 2:37:37.

I'm seriously in awe and am so inspired by her story. I probably won't ever run that fast in my life, but seeing how someone else went from being a non-runner to a truly great national-class runner in just a few years motivates me to get out there and train a bit harder.

Now it's your turn to tell me: What inspires you these days? Also, any tips for running my first marathon?

- ST


  1. Congrats!!! You will do GREAT! I am happy to provide any advice, I wish I had known what I do now when I ran my first! And...anything is possible, keep believing in yourself! If I can do it, so can YOU!!!!!

  2. Thanks! I will definitely hit you up for advice as the race draws closer! Can't beat tips from a pro :)

  3. You'll mostly likely have more than enough training miles in your legs. Make sure you are fresh by tapering for at least two weeks. Not having a time goal also allows you to go out much slower than you are used to running, but it's important not to get pulled in by the early speed demons.
    You can find out during your long runs whether you need salt tablets to avoid #2 and how much you need to drink to avoid dehydration. Eating every half hour something with a mixture of simple and complex carbohydrates is a good practice to avoid #3 and 4. I am sure you'll do just fine because you have plenty of time until October.
    That is a great story about your HS classmate esp. that she performed at such a high level!

  4. And I can really relate to your concern about the extra 11 miles. I've been running several 15 mile trail races and a few with lots of hills. I've now decided to run a marathon in May on a course that starts at 5400', climbs to 7000' over the first 9 miles, then drops back to 6200' at the halfway point and climbs again to 7000 over the next 4 miles. The last 9 miles are all downhill. I think I'll hike for a good part of the "run".
    I first thought of just doing the half, but I simply can't wait another year. I'll let you know what happened in regard to problems #2-4, and what worked to avoid/ameliorate them.

  5. Thanks Rolf! Great tips and good luck with your upcoming marathon. Sounds like a tough one!