Return to Marathoning - off and running...

The first week of February 2014 I stopped nursing our youngest child. 

She was one year and one week old. 

Cross Country skiing in Colorado - February 2014.

"Wow" I thought sadly, but a bit excitedly, "This is truly the end of an era".
We knew that our family was now complete (babies = all done!)  and we could sink our teeth into raising these amazing little ones.
No more hard pregnancies, no more bed rest, no more NICU.

I also knew that it was time to start getting a bit more serious about my running. I had been running a few times a week since I gave birth to our daughter in January 2013, but hadn't done any races and I was feeling really ready to get back to it.
Also, I knew that it was time to go to Boston. One night after putting the kids to bed my husband said to me "So what's going on with your running?" 
I knew at that moment how much I wanted to run a marathon again. To have that intense feeling of accomplishment that finishing a marathon gives me...its refreshing, addicting and wonderful.

Plus, I had just turned 41 years old! That meant that I would be running Boston in 2015 - at the age of 42. The thought of being 42 was a huge wake up call. I had been waiting to run Boston for a very long time.
I had qualified two times before, but life happens (injury and my wedding) and I had not yet run this iconic race! 

Time to get down to business.

March and April 2014 I started running more consistently, slowly logging more miles and remembering to be smart about not doing too much too soon.
I realized that it would be better for me to pick one of the last possible BQ (Boston qualifying) marathons at the end of the summer.

Humm... somewhere close to my home and an easy flat course. 

The Ventura Marathon - BINGO!

It was both of those things and so much more. It started and ended right at the beach (love that!), it was a new race, only the 2nd annual, so the race wasn't too crowded. The race organizers seemed to run a tight ship, the race had received good reviews and a big percentage of people got their BQ there. 

Perfect. Sign me up.

Now the question was, "How do I attack my training?" "Which method should I use?"

After a bit of research, I decided to go with Hal Higdon's Advanced 2 Marathon training plan.
His plan seemed challenging but doable for me (although he does really want to make sure you are a seasoned enough runner to take on the advanced 2 plan, which was cool. I knew I was in for an intense 18 weeks). And for $30 bucks I could have daily emails from him delivered to my inbox telling me exactly what to do and why.

The last time I ran a marathon I was 31 years old, had no kids and was living a pretty footloose and fancy free life. My husband and I were enjoying our married life, traveling quite a bit, working hard and just having FUN. I had more than enough time to run whenever I wanted and definitely had time to train for a marathon.

Now it would be SO different. I would have to juggle my training along with 3 kids and a pretty crazy life. I had been inspired by watching so many women who were running a ton, balancing their families + lives and succeeding. 

I can do this!

Hal's program is 18 weeks long. I had never trained for 18 weeks. It seemed like forever...

I started the week of May 7, 2014 and went for it.

We had a great summer - the kids had camps and swimming lessons and lots of time at the beach.
And I was running. And running. And running.

Everyone in the house knew that Mommy was back to running everyday (except the one day off) and there was a buzz about it. An excitement. 

"Mommy is running 16 miles today!"
"Mommy is running hill repeats today!"

I bought a Garmin forerunner 10.

And my husband was so mad, because he bought me a Garmin for a Mother's Day present, all wrapped in pretty paper and ready to go.

But I beat him to it.

I'm sorry honey!

I bought my go to, always reliable, Brooks running shoes and some new running clothes.
Ooh! I found some new running socks that I LOVE. Feetures performance socks. Can't run without them.

This was fun.

I was going to the track once a week to pound out 800 meter repeats. Yippee! I felt like I was in college again!

I ran a 4th of July 5k and was kind of nervous about it.  

Time was 22:07, first in my age group. I was so excited to get FASTER.

In August we took our family vacation. Oh man... I had my last 20 mile run scheduled during the time we would be gone. I felt a bit bummed about it, but I had to do it and they understood.

Turned out to be so awesome as I had my kids and husband + my Dad, Aunt and cousins waiting for me when I finished. 

NICE. I love my family.

Here we are in Dayton, Ohio visiting my Dad. 20 miles completed along the Great Miami River Trail.

So as I go into my training for Boston, I have been thinking carefully about the training plan. Do I stick with Hal (he has a training plan specifically for Boston) or should I delve into new territory?
I heard the Hanson Marathon Method is great also.

What do you think?

What training methods have been your favorite and why?

I also heard the new Saucony Triumph ISO is awesome. Has anyone tried it yet?
I ran religiously in only Saucony during college, maybe its time to go back and try it again. :)

Hope you all had a great run today! I have been mostly sticking with taking Fridays off and gearing up for longer runs on Saturday and Sunday.

Happiness is Running Life!


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