Here we go again!
Did I mention that I'm training for a marathon? The IMT Des Moines Mararathon? And it's my second go-round chasing a 26.2 race?
Last year I finally gave in to that (silent) little nagging desire and registered for a marathon. I have done so many half marathons, it seemed like the next logical step. Scary as it was to commit to 26.2 miles, it was also exciting to be stepping out of that ugly comfort zone and taking on a much bigger, more grandios challenge.
I trained all summer with an 8-week Hal Higdon plan (that I modified to encompass 12 weeks of training). All went well and on September 22, 2013, I crossed the finish line of the Quad Cities Marathon. I thought that would be enough.
No one warned me I might have a nagging desire to do another.
After all, I had a great experience with the Quad Cities Marathon. Race day temps were ideal. I managed my hydration and fueling fine. No crashing, no frustrations, no regrets. I even met a gentleman at mile 25 who ran the final mile with me (all the while telling the crowd of spectators, "this is Kim and it's her first marathon!").
Even though I was (secretly) hoping for a 4:15 finish time, I was happy and content with my official 4:33:38. So many runners have bad "first marathon" experiences, I was very thankful and grateful that mine went so well.
Granted, I did walk some during miles 23-25, so my finish time does not reflect truly "running" the entire race. And, I did not incorporate much speed work in my training, so that could have possibly knocked a few minutes off my finish time as well.
What if I gave this 26.2 thing one more attempt? Having already run one marathon, I was no longer afraid of the distance. If I ran a different race, I'd have a new course to tackle (and zero pressure to PR last years race). Hmmmm.
Long story short, the IMT Des Moines Marathon is nine weeks away, and I'll be there! I have run the half marathon four times, so this will be a new experience.
My training has been going well. I am using the same plan as last year, but am doing weekly speed work this time. I have already seen the benefit of doing speed work (and also hill sprints) consistently. Not only has my speed improved, but the hill work has strengthened my glutes (so the piriformis issues have been drastically reduced). This has been reflected in several races this summer; I have not only placed in my age group, but have also earned some long-awaited PR's.
My training seems "behind" in comparison to last year. Given the fact that my race is four weeks later on the calendar, though, I'm actually pretty much on target. I have recently entered the phase of heavy mileage (13 miles and longer each weekend). With the exception of a recovery week (or weekend), this will be the norm for the next six weeks.....until it's taper time.
Yesterday was my longest run since the Quad Cities Marathon, 15 miles. It went well. I had a delayed start (due to heavy rain), and didn't get out the door until 7:15AM. I ran a 7-mile route, looped back and changed my socks (due to the rain during the first couple miles). I refueled, headed back out for a 4-mile route, looped back for a potty stop, and finished the remaining four miles. Even though the rain ended after the first few miles, the humidity remained very heavy. There was a nice breeze, though, so the temps weren't a problem.
I felt a little stiff after finishing, but not really any soreness. I have been wearing compression calf sleeves for recovery (after showering and overnight), and they work great for me. I actually prefer the sleeves over full compression socks because I don't like having my feet (or toes) all squished together (but I don't mind them for running). I woke up this morning feeling great!
So, nine weeks until race day. Stay tuned, more training details to come!