1 week down, only 17 more weeks to go. I just sort of threw up a little. For real though. 17 weeks sort of seems like FOREVER. I’ve done this 3 times already, and I get that there are people out there (maybe you’re one of them) who train for marathons all the dang time and could run them in their sleep. I’m not one of those people.
So when it comes to a long build up, like the one I have, I get a bit overwhelmed. I have moments of euphoria(er….moments I feel sort of happy and content with my decision to train for a marathon during the Texas Summer). But mostly, the moments so far are hot and challenging and filled with mind numbing humidity. Not my favorite running conditions. I promise not to be this negative for 17 straight weeks. Who wants to read about that?
On a positive note, I am loving the feeling of hard work paying off. A REALLY legit sweat makes you feel like you’re earning it. I’m finally starting to see and feel some of the benefits to the what seemed like a forever long build up to this training. I had to start mentally and physically preparing months ago just to be able to keep up with the first week of my official training plan. The good news? I did it. Week 1 is in the bag and I hit all my mileage, and even had my fastest mile in a year. Whoa. This was huge for me.
Last week went well. I got all my scheduled mileage in which felt like something to celebrate. It was!! I needed to know that I had worked hard enough to keep up, and my biggest fear was that week 1 would kick my butt and I’d realize how far behind I was. That wasn’t the case. I was able to do all the prescribed runs and even smiled after a few of them. It was the first time in a long time I had run 5 days in a week, but my body did well. Not stellar, but ok enough for me. Ya’ll, it’s hard this time around. Um and hello, it’s hella humid.
I don’t know if it’s just because I’m a little older, in a different life stage, took a few years off from distance running, or really just did my time and am not really physically or mentally wired for marathon running ha!……(and yet. Here I am. It’s crazy I know) but I’ve had a harder time finding ma groove. I’ve been more diligent post run with core work which is an added challenge and one I really enjoy. I feel a huge difference in my form and my ability to maintain it for longer periods of time. Work your core people! It’s your powerhouse. An example of part of my post run core routine is this…….(the time’s change based on the day. My goal right now is a 5 min plank. I did 3 minutes last week).
45 second plank
15 seconds push ups
60 second plank
20 second push up
60 second plank
30 second v-sit hold
Do all with as little rest as possible in between…..repeat or add to this with other exercises or intervals such as ab roll outs, plank up down’s or v-sit knee in’s
I would love to just pop on here and say it comes easily and that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to with a little discipline and hard work. Are those things important? Heck yes. Does hard work pay off? You bet. Do I think running marathons is for everyone or a measure of what success is when it comes to your health? No. To be completely honest with you, there is part of me that wonders if my body will be able to keep up this time around. I have horrible hips(thank you babies…..I mean um, totally worth it) and have never truly thrived while training for full marathons. I’m not trying to complain or be overly self-deprecating, because I completely get that this is optional, however, I’m not necessarily cut out for this. If my body says no, then that’s ok too. Distance running is no joke. I think we get on social media and see distance runner’s, professional athletes, or even recreational ones pounding out ungodly mileage at astounding paces and it makes the 3 mile run at a 10 min+ pace seem like something to be ashamed of.
So, I’m here to tell you NOT to be ashamed of your journey, your goals, your progress, your abilities. My first mile yesterday was an 11 min pace. It takes me a ridiculous amount of time to warm into a run, sometimes I never do. Did the pace go down? Yes. At mile 4. And I hadn’t seen an 8 something pace in a year. And I find myself making excuses as to why I’m so “slow” today, when really, I’m not a naturally fast runner to begin with. Instead of celebrating a body that can run or what is a faster mile for me, I allow myself to feel shame for something ridiculous. We can get so distracted by pace or mileage that we totally miss the fact that we ran at all or have a body that is able to do something we enjoy. We(um hello….I) go straight to excuses as to why we aren’t better, or is it just me? To quote my boys…..”dude…seriously.”
If you are living with a chronic illness or disease and perhaps sitting up in bed is an accomplishment(and I mean that in all seriousness. My dad is terminal and bed bound. There have been moments over the years that just seeing him move a foot was a huge celebration), you celebrate that. If making one healthy choice with your nutrition during the day and passing up the junk food at work is a victory, CELEBRATE it. If walking around the block is something you have never done or been able to do, but you did that today? Celebrate it friend. If you are physically unable to exercise or are too ill or have never been active, find simple joys to celebrate, as hard as that may feel. Please don’t allow yourself to get distracted. Don’t compare, or feel shame. As my friend Leslie says, “you do you babe.”
Don’t try to keep up with everyone else or let someone tell you that you should try harder, make different choices or be more disciplined IF you are doing everything in your power to maintain or improve your health. Do I believe the impossible can be possible? Absolutely. Do I believe smart training, hard work, discipline, and consistency can get you across the finish line of something you never imagined you could do? Of course. I’ve witnessed it and I’ve experienced it. Is encouraging people to get off the couch and get active something I’m passionate about? Fiercely.
But I also think it’s ok to be realistic about your body, your journey, your season. And it’s ok if that means celebrating other victories, the ones that seem small to the outside world, but that are huge to you. Not everyone is built for marathons. Heck, not everyone is built for running. And that’s ok. My neighbor is having major hip surgery today. She would give anything to live a day without pain, and is taking steps to help heal, but it will take time. She may never run a marathon and THAT’S OK. Celebrate where you are. Make wise choices, and give it all you’ve got.
**Rant brought to you by an Instagram post I saw(no one I know or follow, just an account I happened to scroll by basically saying if you’re not doing epic stuff, you just aren’t trying hard enough). The girl who posted caught a lot of heat for the tone in which she seemed to write the post. Here’s the deal. Stuff in writing is hard. You can’t hear tone or understand someone’s personality or motives, you don’t have any gage on who the person is if you don’t know them personally, and you get very little if any back story. I get that. So, I’m not going to say if this person truly meant the post the way it came off or not, because more than likely, she was just trying to encourage and motivate people(women specifically) to get healthy. She probably felt like it was helpful and challenging, and to some it was. But to others, it was a slap in the face. Ugh. Social media is tough territory to navigate isn’t it?
It all comes down to this I guess.
We’re all on different journey’s ya’ll. Let’s encourage each other in that, not shame anyone for not being “epic.” My journey doesn’t have to look like yours, just as yours may look different from mine. And that’s ok. I’m not posting these marathon training posts to make you feel like running a marathon is the be all end all. It’s simply my journey. My hope is that by sharing what I learn along the way, you will feel encouraged first and foremost, then challenged and motivated. Be proud of who you are, and what you are capable of, regardless of what “everyone” else seems to be doing. That is all.
This week’s schedule calls for:
Monday: Cross train
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 9 miles
Happy Monday my peeps!!!