Marathon Training (a 60 Day Challenge)

Hello hello!!!

Today, I wanted to share my goals for this year in terms of running. I am planning on running either a half or full marathon on March 8, 2014. I know that seems like a super weird statement… what do you MEAN “either”?!

My friend C emailed me and R last year in the fall and asked “MARATHON?” and of course, I was immediately psyched and IN. C and R started training using a 24 week training schedule. Me? I came down with a violent cold that had me bedridden for nearly 3 weeks. The minute I felt better, I was flying to Korea for a funeral. When I returned from Korea, the stress of losing a loved one sent me straight back to bed with a pinched nerve in my back. Then, the holidays rolled around, and I was inundated with family, presents, and cold weather. This year has been unusually cold, and so running outside (my preference) has been a bit of a struggle.

This brings us to NOW. It’s about 8 weeks to the marathon, the hotels and flights are all booked, but my training isn’t where it should be. So far, I’ve really only been able to get a couple long runs in and then some shorter runs on the treadmill. I know that because I have a high tolerance for long runs that I could potentially be ready for this marathon without hurting myself, but I’m hesitating. Someone once characterized my running as “brute force” because of my ability to push through long runs despite obstacles. Since I have been running for a long time, and have training for many (many!) races, I do know the limit to my “brute force.” I think I’m toeing the line right between being ready and pushing it.

So… what is my 60 day challenge? I am going to train as if I am trying to get a half marathon PR, and try to throw a longer run in when I can. I’ll make the decision to run the marathon in early February… and worst case? I’ll PR in the half. 🙂

Why am I telling you this? Because I think it’s important to realize that planning these races is important to being successful and to keeping your body healthy. So… I’m holding myself accountable and will post once a week updating you on my progress. 🙂

Excellent. Run healthy and happy.


Sunday Seven

Back! I’ve been busy doing random little things and getting my life together. Because I only work part time, my schedule has been off balance for the last couple weeks… add to that the sudden realization that I actually have a half marathon to run in 3 weeks! I’ve been getting my ass in gear.

Yesterday I went running. I started off nice and easy, bopping my first 3 miles in just shy of 30 minutes, but as I rounded into the second 3 miles there was an older couple running ahead of me. From the looks of their easy lope, they were both experienced runners… so naturally I set the goal to catch up and stay ahead of them. I managed to stay ahead of the gentleman until the last 500 meters when he just pulled ahead and demolished me. I loved every minute of my last 3 miles because I felt that competitive fire again… and let me tell you, that guy? Kept me on my toes! We had a good natured talk afterwards, like only runners can. I always find it wonderful to talk to other runners because there is something about our heads that work the same way. Anyway, what started as a good run, ended up being totally amazing because of that couple that I “raced” with. I rounded my second 3 miles in just under 26 minutes, a decent enough pace to wake up a little sore.

This past week, I’ve also thrown out about a dozen eggs trying to make popovers. I’m still not friends with the recipes, but I’ll update you once I’ve stopped wrangling with the proportions.

And as always, here are some pictures!! If you follow me on twitter or instagram, some of these photos might be repeats, but I’ll try my best to show you guys, in pictures, the things I’ve appreciated the last few weeks that I’ve missed posting here.



Carrots, arranged neatly for roasting


Ripping up old carpet and pulling up old nails… SO satisfying!IMG_1537

Cold steak salad with mint and goat cheese

Brights for running. Ready for spring!IMG_1552

Boo, after a quick run outside.IMG_1559

Kale, broccoli rabe and cheese omelet!IMG_1568

Topnot Boo… She’s trying out a new look for springIMG_1573

Boo, in her new and very girly dog bedIMG_1638

Late night snack… avocado and Dubliner cheese (a new favorite)IMG_1643

Bourbon cherry and hazelnut cake (more like brownies)IMG_1644

Attempted popovers… tasty but lacking in the “POP!” Might need to purchase a popover pan IMG_1647

Paleo wraps (recipe coming soon)IMG_1653 IMG_1673

Boo, begging to be let on the couchSONY DSC

Race Records and To Do’s

I promised a while back that I would share more about my running experiences, because I always find it helpful to read about other people’s races and how they felt. It’s a good way to determine which races you want to run, and just to see other people doing the same thing as you. When I started out signing up for races, I did it blind. I just googled random search terms and signed up for races as they popped up on my screen. Needless to say, I was pretty lucky because I lived in Baltimore and there are a ton of really good races in the area.

These are the races I have run:

Date Name Distance Time Pace
October 10, 2009 Baltimore Running Festival 5k 24:59 8:03
March 20, 2010 Carefirst BlueCross Blue Shield National Half Marathon Half 2:05:47 9:36
June 19, 2010 Baltimore 10-miler 10 mi injured
October 16, 2010 Baltimore Running Festival Half 2:03:03 9:24
November 25, 2010 Turkey Trot 5 mi sick —–
January 9, 2011 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon/Half Marathon Half 2:26:01 11:08
March 26, 2011 SunTrust National Marathon Half 2:06:19 9:39
April 3, 2011 The Cherry Blossom 10miler 10 mi 1:32:05 9:13
May 15, 2011 The Maryland Half Marathon Half 2:09:58 9:56
July 31, 2011 The San Francisco Marathon Marathon 4:30:48 10:20
October 15, 2011 Baltimore Running Festival Half 2:18:44 10:35
November 19, 2011 TCS: Annapolis Half Marathon Half 2:17:33 10:30
April 1, 2012 Cherry Blossom 10miler 10 mi 1:41:58 10:12
April 14, 2012 St. Charles Running Festival 10 mi 1:43:42 10:22
April 29, 2012 Althea Columbia ½ Marathon Half 1:59:47 9:09

As you can see, I was pretty ambitious in 2011 and ran 101.7 race miles, but at the end of the year I felt broken. My times had really been dropping off, and I was cranky at the end of my races (totally not like me). I gave myself a couple months to get my head back in the game, and signed up for races for April of 2012. I had thought that giving myself 4 months of race-free running would be a good way to come back stronger and faster than ever.

I started off with two 10 milers. Both were miserable. My times were horrible, my legs hurt, my stomach bothered me, and I dressed poorly for both. These two races really took it out of me. I was mentally and physically tired at the end of each, and I knew it was time to take a break. I had committed to a half with my friend Courtney, and this race was where things “clicked” again for me again. (I wrote about it here). I know it’s really easy to get THAT feeling back and then sign up for more races, and push yourself… but I decided, for the first time in nearly 3 years that it was time to take more than a couple months off.

So… It has been nearly a year since that race, and my next race is April 28. When I run, it’ll almost exactly a year to the day of my last race in 2012. I am feeling good about running again. I am back to a good place where I am running for fun and not fighting with my watch, my shoes, or my head.

What about you guys? What races have you run? Did you ever feel like you needed to take a whole year off to get back into the game?

(Also! If you have any questions about the races that I’ve run, please let me know! I’d love to give my impressions of the races for those who are interested!)