On Nov 18, 2018, I ran my first marathon. I have done about 5 half marathons, a few 10ks, 5ks, but never thought I would be doing a full marathon. It has always been on my bucket list, but never thought I would do it until I was older. That was until my friend Danielle texted me in August to run the marathon in November. At that time I was only running 6 miles here and there. I spent more time in the gym strength training. I did not think I was in shape for a marathon. When we started looking at training schedules, I found this one by the Rock and Roll Marathon Series:
This training scheduled seemed to be realistic for me with only 4 days of running. I changed up the long runs to fit my running buddies’ schedules or the way I was feeling. I only did one long run, 15 miles, alone (it was so boring!).
I allowed one to two rest days, one yoga day, and one to two strength training days. After awhile, the strength training days went to focusing on foam rolling and glute strength because my IT band was giving me trouble. Some glute activation activities included:
Hip raises with a small band above my knees.
Side leg raises with a small band
Fire hydrants (All 4s and bring knee parallel to the ground)
Side shuffles with small band above my knees
1 leg squats with TRX
Around week 7, I did not see this HUGE rock and twisted my ankle. I could barely walk and my ankle was extremely swollen. Every chance I could take I would add compression, ice, and elevate my ankle. After 2 days of rest, I went to the gym and did the rope for 10 minutes and upper body supersets to keep my heart rate up. My cousin’s friend is a physical therapist, she helped me tape my ankle and gave me tips on how to heal. I was nervous when she mentioned it could take 4-6 weeks to heal…that would mean I had to stop training! But unfortunately that was not going to happen.
After a week of no running, I slowed back into when I felt better. I started with 2 miles and by the end of the week I did 15 miles long run. That long run I felt my best and had one of my best times. It proves that one week off will not set you back and is sometimes much needed. My ankle did not even bother me during the run!
This is day 2. As I added compression, the swelling started to spread through out my foot and it looked like a huge bruise.
The long runs were probably the hardiest part of the training. Since all the long runs were mostly in October on Saturdays, it made it tough for me since I work at my family’s farm market on Saturdays. I had 3 running buddies that I ran with. If you ever do a marathon…make sure you have running buddies! We also changed our route to make it interesting. On my longest run, 20 miles, I ran it in Philly with Students Run Philly. It was so great to see runners helping kids and running with them. They had water stations, Gu gels, candy at 10 miles, and tons of support. If I lived in Philly, I would take part in this awesome club.
During that 20 miles, I was not prepared with any gel packs or water. Because of this group, I was able to try Gu gels and found that they worked for me! From that day forward I used the Gu gels (I like chocolate espresso or smores) during my long runs. I also tried Honey Stinger energy chews, which were delicious and helped me get through my run.
Energy I used for my marathon (Which I packed in my little pockets on my pants):
1 pack of Honey Stinger:
Started to eat them around mile 8 until mile 12
2 GU gels:
Started to eat this around mile 15 and since it is strong in flavor, it took a few miles to finish it.
I treated this one like a celebration and started it at mile 22 and lasted until mile 25.
What I wore for the marathon with temps around 40 degrees:
Sparkling soul head band: the only headbands that stay on my head.
Underarmor long sleeve under my race day shirt
$1 store gloves (I ditched them around mile 18…and regret it!)
Victoria secret leggings
I wanted to wear my Underarmor ones but changed my mind because I needed pockets
Mizuno Wave Inspire Shoes
Thorlo Experia running socks
Running band for my phone
Compression socks were for post run
What went on during the run?
Each mile of the run was for someone specific. As I spoke with my clients the weeks before my marathon, I felt like I should run a mile for each person. This turned into about 8 of clients, then the rest were for my friends and family members. In the beginning of each mile, I would text that specific person saying, “This mile is for you!” My hands started freezing up around mile 12, so that stopped. It did not stop me from thinking of those people during their miles. I prayed for them, thought about their goals they have spoke about, and thought of the encouraging words they have spoken to me before the race. My last mile was for my brother’s family and my brand new niece Magnolia (Born 11/15/18).
One of my clients gave me a list of bible verses to read for each mile. I come to learn that running and reading is quite difficult! But here are the verses that helped us along the way:
Matthew 28:20 “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of age.”
Luke 19:26 “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Hebrews 12:1 “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Psalm 37:5 “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3 “The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you”
I started the marathon with 2 of my running buddies: Frankie and Danielle. We were between the 4:20 and 4:30 pace teams. We were doing a 10:30-10:40 min/mile pace, which was my goal for the run. My mom spotted us around mile 7, here is my excitement:
Mile 10 we stopped for the bathroom. Within the next mile, the 4:30 pacers came up behind us. I did not want to leave them, which would mean my pace would be slower than my goal. I stayed with the pacers, but my friends did not. The pace team was so encouraging and helped me get through. At mile 23, the pacers told us to get ahead of them and they wanted us to beat them. So, I stayed with a sweet lady names Val and a guy Kevin. The two people pushed me until the end. Val encouraged me to sprint to the end, even when I thought my legs were going to fall off!
As I sprinted through the finish line, I saw my parents and husband. I started crying with joy, shock, and pain. It hurt to walk! I started to stretch, which was not enough. I rushed to the free massages and so glad I did. They were closing 15 minutes after I got there. The massages were painful but so helpful. I am still in need of another, but longer, massage. Because of the massages, we totally forgot to take a picture there, but got one later on. Here is one of my parents and hubby:
After the massage, my parents, husband, and I walked to Reading Terminal. After my half marathons, this walk wasn’t so bad. But OH MY GOODNESS, it was a painful walk this time. I had to stop to stretch and walked extremely slow. We made it to the Reading Terminal and ate at Molly Malloy. I had a delicious beer, vegan panini, and crispy chips. After, we got lattes to walk to our car (which was another mile away).
With all my marathon talk, a marathon may not be what you want to achieve. Whatever you have on your bucket list, I encourage you to go after it. Don’t let other people talk you out of it. There is something special about working hard to complete your dreams. Yes, I had to say “No” to going out or doing some fun events. But, running through that finish line was something that I will never forget or regret! You never know what you are made of, you just have start! Here are some tips that go me through:
Have a plan to go by
Think about your “Why” that you are doing it for; for example:
“All the haters”
“To prove to myself that I am capable of anything I put my mind to.”
Have a few motivational quotes or bible verses to think of throughout the training
Find buddies that want to achieve the same goal
Ignore the negative people in life
Don’t think twice and just do it!
Believe in yourself!
Now go after your goal and let me know WHEN (not if) you achieve it!