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6.5 down, 11.5 to go

March 22nd, 2007 · 6 Comments

I have completed more than 6 weeks of my 18 week marathon training plan and I’m beginning to realize how foolish I was. I don’t yet think I was foolish for running a marathon: no, I’m sure that will come later, during the race itself or afterwards. But I miscalculated the amount of time and energy training would require. The running itself is less than an hour a day, averaged over a week. Extra sleep though also factors into the equation. As well as some extra mental energy spent mapping out the distances, trying to find creative ways to run more than ten miles on this island for weeks in a row, and yes, Googling my questions and symptoms, aches and pains, to ensure my preparation and injury prevention.

I told myself that running a marathon would only take a few months, and wouldn’t need that much time. I’m discovering though that this race is becoming a central focus of this spring season. I’m rearranging my schedule to fit in the distance runs and planning my summer around the marathon. I’m shopping and researching which items I should obtain before I get stuck in the middle of twenty-six miles as a blistered mess. It’s a delicate dance: in order to run such a race I need passion and perseverance, yet I also need to hold it with an open hand and keep my priorities in order for the other 23 hours of the day.

I’d be a fool to think that at 6 out of 18 weeks, I am a third done with the training. The longest and hardest runs – and weeks – are yet to come. Only recently did I begin to mention to friends and acquaintances my maniac marathon plan. I was afraid to look foolish, especially since my attempt last fall ended before finishing five miles. Already I feel a bit of the blahs, the excitement of the early morning rising and running competing with a need for sleep, a sense of impatience and weariness setting in before I am out the door. It is this middle of the training, as in the middle of the marathon, that requires endurance. I’d be a fool though if I stopped now, when I can start to imagine how the finish line feels.

Tags: health

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 anniem // Mar 23, 2007 at 7:22 am

    Take heart, Julie! You can do it! Make full use of the technologies that support you. I personally feel like the Nike Plus iPod is an amazing positive reinforcement mechanism because it graphs your progress, helping you visualize success. And Lance’s vocal rewards are terrific, too! Making running playlists for each other has become a loving surprise John and I do for each other. But sometimes it’s good to just lose yourself to Chemical Method’s running track,Drive.

    Falling electrolites can also hit your mood hard. And your heart. Molasses, bananas, and iodised salt are important diet staples for the marathon trainer.

    Runners World and Vegetarian Times can help with the caloric load, which was our hardest adaptation–don’t make our mistake of trying to fill the calorie gap with protein bars. Black beans and bagels with lox work better without the crazy bar-carb crashing your blood sugar.

    The Runners Handbook is a good guide because he includes his family in his training. This was a big part of success for us, too. Now we sometimes run in parks with trails and let the kids sporadically run with us or play in a playground while we run trails around them. Empty football stadiums are also fun for the kids while you run. You’d be suprised how much your girls can run with you already. Our six-year-old can do the 1.5 mile slower stride warm-up with us, then retire to play or ride bikes while we finish a run.

    Keep running! The finish line doesn’t have to be the goal, this is a lifelong tradition! Imagine when you run your first marathon with one of the girls!

  • 2 chris holmes // Mar 23, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    hang in there Julie: if anyone has the guts and perseverance, you do.

    i trained like mad in 1984 for the Boston Marathon and did in fact finish but lamentably further down than I intended. At school I twice won the cross country race and thought meself a bit of a goer on the long slog.

    I once interviewed Rocco Forte, scion of the Forte chain of UK hostels, and he excused himself for having to cut it short but he had to train for a triathlon. He’d competed in 2 marathons and come top of his age group. Now he was taking on the tri-.

    Man runs an international company with iron fist *and* has time to run the race of races. Whew.

  • 3 jennyonthespot // Mar 25, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Keep it up, Julie! I am so impressed and inspired. I am hoping to gear up for only a 1/2 marathon and it sounds like I’m facing the same mental struggles as you… err, umm. HALF the struggles, that is 🙂

    You can do it! I know how it affects time/planning… how training seems to consume life in different ways. But what a wonderful goal! What neat thing for you kids to watch – hard work toward a goal. I hope to have your drive to go the extra mile – I mean 13.1 miles and do a full one… eventually. Keep it up Julie! You’re an inspiriation. Learn a bunch so when I decide to add some miles, you’ll have done all the research 🙂

    Love you 🙂

  • 4 Kevin O'Keefe // Mar 25, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    I always called it character building, like with the runs in the cold and rain.

    Don’t stop now Julie. There’s a ton of us out here watching to see how you do. If you give up, there’s no hope for the rest of us. 😉

  • 5 Nickie // Mar 28, 2007 at 7:02 am

    Keep up the great work, Julie! It sounds like you’re doing a great job. The benefits of this will far outweigh the frustration of the middle part of training. Good job!

  • 6 katy // Apr 3, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Keep your focus on the finish line – I like that. That’s a motto for life.
    I am proud of you for having the courage! I can’t even run 5 miles!

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