Category Archives: Marathon Training

Time Goals…

Can you believe we’re 29 days from my wedding?  EEEEEEEK!  Which also means that 3 weeks from today I’ll already be in Brazil!  That means beach, summer and yummy food!  I better continue running there, to undo some of all the stuff I eat, so I don’t look even bigger on my wedding day…  (So I’m freaking out a little about the “less than 3 weeks” — you have no idea how much I still have to do!)

On another note, if you haven’t checked out my medal holder giveaway yet, go there and comment…  It’s awesome.

Tonight, straight after work, I’m walking over to the Marine Corps Marathon expo, picking up my 10k bib, hoping the Craigslist dude shows up, and switching my 10k with his full marathon bib.  At 7am on Sunday morning, I’ll be meeting up with my running group near the start line, at the Pentagon,  so we can line up and start running at 8am.

Seems like I have successfully convinced Jane to give the marathon another try (I talked about Jane here, three paragraphs after the picture of my medal).  So what if Chicago was hot and her race that day was a failure?  She’s trained, and she CAN do this.  She said she’ll be tagging along with me, at my slow-ass pace, which will be FANTASTIC (I was so bored running by myself in Chicago!), but I also know that if she’s feeling good, I’m not going to hold her back, and I’ll let her have the race she deserves.

Kristy, who’s running the MCM 10k, is going to try to catch me at mile 20 and pace me to the end.  That will be awesome as well — even if I’m still running with Jane, a fresh non-tired face will be exactly what we need!

A lot of people had told me that I shouldn’t go into my first marathon with a time goal.  And I did it anyway, and I think you SHOULD have a time goal, a realistic one, even if it is your first marathon (it kept me from giving up a lot of times when I just wanted to walk).  I missed my goal by a little over 7 minutes, which is fine — I have no doubt that if the weather wasn’t so freaking hot, I would have been able to finish it in less than 5 hours, like I had planned to.

For the Marine Corps Marathon, which will be my second marathon, I don’t have much of a goal.  It’s only been 3 weeks since Chicago, only a week since I ran 10 miles while pushing myself the whole way at the Army Ten Miler, I won’t be running under my own name, my foot has been acting weird and the pain is unbearable at times, and there are quite a few hills at the start.  Said that, it doesn’t mean I haven’t printed my 4:59 pace band, and that I won’t attempt to finish in 5 hours, heck yeah, I will!  But if I miss my goal yet again, I won’t beat myself up for it.  My main goal is to finish and get a new medal, uninjured.  I just really hope I get there by only running 5 hours, that’s all.

Sunday the weather will be pleasant for running, with a high of 65 degrees, partly sunny.  Which means walking will actually make me cold, so another incentive to keep me running along.  Karl will be meeting me at the finish line with a proud smile on his face (unfortunately, DC metro system pales in comparison to the Chicago one, so though he might be able to catch me in route once, that will be about it).

We even have a post-race party nearby!  (Which I will not be able to enjoy for long, as I have to head back out to DC to find the Brazilian Consulate so I can vote, ugh.)

I’m not nearly as nervous for this marathon as I was for Chicago.  Probably because I’m not in a strange town, I’ll be running along the same places I’ve ran all year (which will be kind of boring too, but you can’t win them all).  There’s no travel involved, no possible flight delays, no hotel check in, no chance of forgetting to pack something.  I know every single place I’ll be running by.  It’s also not my first time — before I thought I could do it, now I just know I can.  And that makes all the difference.

Wish me luck.


Filed under Marathon Training, MCM, Race

Wednesday Run

Last night, the weather was still warm (I think it got up to 78?), and it was still freaking MUGGY.  I ran only 4 miles, since that what it was on the schedule for my marathon tapering (holy crap, I really am running another marathon in just 3 days.  And I’m not even worried or nervous about it — that’s the scary part!).

The 4 miles?  WERE HARD.  I ran with Kelly, one of the runners from our group who’s been coming out for a while, but we had never run together before.  We average 10:19 pace, and I was just about dying.  WTF.  On Sunday I finished a ten miler faster than that!  Heat and humidity really take a toll on me.

But as much as I struggled, I’m not complaining.  Six months ago I couldn’t even run four miles at that pace, so I have to concentrate on my achievements, as small as they may be.

The weather for Sunday’s marathon is starting to worry me though.  At the beginning of the week, we had a high of 60 degrees predicted.  Then 2 days ago, it was a high of 63.  Now, it’s a high of 66.  See how it keeps going up?  This is exactly what happened at the Chicago marathon — it went from a high of 75 to an 85 as the week went by.

Please let the high of 66 be it.  I can deal with 66, I think.  Even though that was the temperature last Sunday, and it felt HOT.

I have to figure out my Sunday outfit too — compression socks for sure, either the bright pink again or the bright green…  Running skirt + sleeveless top, now I just have to figure out which ones.  Maybe the white running skirt, the green socks, the bright yellow shirt and my light blue camelbak to represent the colors of the Brazilian flag (different shades for sure, but right colors nonetheless).  At least if I look that ridiculous it’ll be easy to pick me out from the crowd!


Filed under Marathon Training, MCM, Mt. Vernon Trail Run

Confidence in Hills

I mentioned before how this elevation chart for the Marine Corps Marathon was freaking me out:

So I needed to get one somewhat hilly run in to at least know whether I could do it or not.  Yesterday, I met Karl in Clarendon after work, as I had to pick back up one of my bad habits:  tanning.  I know it’s bad for me and all that jazz, but I want some contrast between my white dress and my pale skin!  But mostly, whoever said a base tan is a myth has never traveled to a tropical country…  If I show up with a base tan and wear sunscreen, I’ll be tanned and slightly pink.  If I show up in Brazil pale, no amount of sunscreen will prevent me from looking like a lobster (and that’s not the kind of contrast I want with my wedding dress, or the kind of pain I want to endure).

Anyway…  I told Karl to meet me in Clarendon, and instead of running home, I’d run there and get some hills in.  I had no idea how it was going to be like, or even if I could do it, but I had to try.  My foot hurt horribly through most of the run, which didn’t help, but after stopping a couple of times to try to stretch, I sucked it up and ran most of the way.  My first mile was actually at an 8:59 pace, which is super-fast for me (of course, the downhill helped…).

All in all, I was tired, I wanted to quit at some points, but I finished the whole 4 miles without giving up.  It helps that I wore my Chicago Marathon shirt on my run too — I couldn’t forget I had it on, and I kept telling myself “this distance is nothing!”

This was the elevation chart:

So it took me 2 miles to go from zero to about 260 feet — that’s 100 feet more of elevation than the MCM.  Could I have run another 22 miles after that?  Probably not.  But I was also not concerned with my pace, but with finishing the run instead, and it was after a full day of work, with humid weather (again!  Why is it so muggy on the last week of October?), and a temperature of 78 degrees (WTF, really).

Luckily, if all goes to plan, the temperature is supposed to drop again (and I certainly hope so — our building’s AC has been turned off and I can’t seem to get any sleep), and Sunday is supposed to be a sunny day, with the high temperature of 63.   (Perfect running weather, no?)

And how does one look like after running in these conditions?  All I can say is that my face matched my shirt…

I’m ready for the MCM!  Horrible medal and all!  Bring it!


Filed under Injury, Marathon Training, Pictures, Run Commute, Runs


The Chicago marathon is known for being a flat race.  I did not think the marathon was flat.  There were hills, and though they weren’t long or particularly steep, they were there.  But when I spoke with Meg right after the race, she was excited that the marathon really was flat.  Huh?

This is what the elevation chart for the marathon was, according to my Garmin:

Yes, I stared at this for a few seconds and thought “this is in no way hilly, was I high?”

So then I got curious and started checking out my other runs.  This is the profile for my usual runs on Wednesdays, at the Mt Vernon Trail from Crystal City…


Ok, but how about when I take the 14 Street Bridge onto DC?  It’s an extra mile, but that has a bridge!  Right in the middle of my run!!  Now THAT’s a change in elevation!  It’s a real bridge, right over the Potomac River!!!

Oh crap, maybe not.  (So why does going up that bridge from the trail feels so hard??)

Ok, so when I run from work to Pentagon City (almost home!), there are some hilly parts, right??


And I KNOW that running on the C&O Canal, where I did my 20 milers, there is some elevation, because at some point we’re totally above the Potomac River!


Oh wait, we go from about 50 to about 150 feet in roughly 15 miles??  No wonder it never actually felt like a hill.

Don’t get me wrong, DC and Arlington, where I live, have some BIG STEEP HILLS.  But I run on trails.  On scenic trails.  Those that have a waterfront view and follow the river.  And they are pretty.  And, oh, wait, right.  That’s why they’re flat…  *sigh*

Now you understand why the constant uphill/downhill in Chicago was considered hilly for me — they were not big hills, but when I’m thinking about a “flat” course, I’m thinking it’s like Virginia Beach.  Or like the trails I’m used to (that have some elevation, and those are bridges and overpass, not, you know, hills).

So now you can understand why when looking at the Marine Corps Marathon elevation chart, I get a tad fearful…  At least after mile 8, I’m golden (but can I run downhill for 2 miles?).

I’m screwed.


Filed under Marathon Training, MCM, Mt. Vernon Trail Run, Runs