I Picked A Fall Marathon + Training Update

After the Mountains To Beach Marathon 12 weeks ago, I knew that I would train for a fall race - the ultimate plan for 2018 was to run a spring and fall marathon. Mountains to Beach left me hungry (yet happy with another PR) and ready to work harder, eager to address the reasons why I fall apart the last 10k, 5k  even after I started conservatively and raced with my head instead of my heart. Maybe I need to keep chipping away, maybe I have to have more experience, maybe I need even more strength training. The answer is hanging in the air and I very much want to find the answer. 

Post 18 miles yesterday

Up until this point, choosing a marathon had been easy - let's go to Boston, I haven't done CIM yet... This time however was a little different. I wasn't completely sure what I wanted to do next. At first, I didn't worry about it - just recover well from M2B, and begin building a base again. Weeks would pass by and I still couldn't pin my finger on what I wanted. CIM was high on the list: a superb race, in my state, ideal weather, great competition and the list kept going. The first weekend in December is a tough time to be away - plus the kids really wanted to come this time and yet I knew I could make it work if I really wanted to. I booked my hotel in early June and figured the excitement would follow. It didn't (and then it did again) and yet nothing else felt exciting either. I started looking at all the options - races all over the country (not ideal - changing time zones is tough), Indy Marathon, Richmond, my friend asked me to come up to British Columbia and run one with her in early October... nothing seemed exciting and also a perfect time to get away. Soccer games, cross country meets, school events - I'm not really into missing much these days... my kids are growing at lightning speed and I want to be there for it all. I will say, I'm really glad that I kept putting in the work despite the indecisions and that my coach was patient with me. I had a great July logging just over 247 miles with several 60 mile weeks and two good races.

5k PR at the end of July. Haven't run these times since college.

I couldn't believe it until I went back to my training log and started looking at the numbers. Okay, I have a pretty good base here and June was good even with marathon recovery. August first popped onto the calendar and I knew I had to make a decision. My friend Jen said it best: "Pick a marathon and THEN the excitement will follow." Truth.

Scene from our 13 mile run near her home on Mercer Island, WA on July 1st. I wish we could run together all the time!

With that I've decided to run the Ventura Marathon on October 21st. Now that I've registered and made it real, I'm so excited about it. Ventura was the first marathon I ran in 2014 after having the last baby and it was also the place where I got my half marathon PR last fall. It's close to home, I don't have to travel or miss any events or family gatherings. It's a fast course with a great reputation and it's growing - drawing an impressive field of runners. Ventura makes me smile with it's quiet beach beauty and small town feel. I knew that I would be there either way, because I would do the half as a tune up for CIM. Done.
Now that the decision has been made, I realize that I don't have several months to think about it. I have 9 weeks until the race and I have to make every week of training count. Normally, I would really start to dial things in when the kids went back to school in a few weeks, but now I have to focus and juggle them being with me (most of the time) too. It's become really fun, cause they know the drill and now everyone wants to run with me. Josh is a good partner on the easy days (and even part of the hard ones - they came with me to the track in July and he blew through a portion of the 800 meter repeats I had to do and was great partner to push me). Elle got new running shoes and runs just over a mile like a champ (she is also the absolute cutest right now as she has lost so many teeth and has a lisp that makes my heart melt. Stay five forever please...) Megan likes it, but isn't as eager to go very far right now which of course is okay. It's whatever they want - it's their world - I'm just a loving guide helping them to navigate through it.

Every 800 repeat that Josh ran with me, I nailed my paces.

I was sick part of the week of August 6th and missed three days of running. This week I was back on track, but missed one hard workout and cut a few runs short because I still felt a lot of fatigue - my body was hanging onto the tail end of that virus and demanded I adjust accordingly. Saturday was a good run and Sunday's 18 miler finally felt back to myself again and it was a strong effort (7:22 pace) and a little faster than coach prescribed (7:30-7:50 pace- he doesn't want me racing the long runs every weekend and I get good speed with 2 other workouts during the week), but I felt like I could fly. It's a rare feeling in marathon training, so I'll take it. I finished up with 61 miles this week - time to recover well and gear up for the coming week. I'd like to race again soon and I have a half marathon to find as a tune up next month.

We always take advantage of every day in August to wrap up summer (summer's still here! Is our daily chant) and experience every ounce of golden non scheduled days. Life is far from perfect and it's messy, but I love these guys so much.

The best way to recover from an 18 mile run. Cool water felt awesome on my legs.

Enjoy every moment my friends.

Do awesome things.


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