Yes, you read that headline correctly. I am training to begin marathon training. Is that a thing? I don’t know. All I know is, I’m relieved that my Spring 2014 race season ended on such a high note at Brooklyn Half and that I don’t have big races looming over me on weekends so that I can take the time to settle into my new summer training routine. This summer holds a lot of exciting things for me — it’s my final semester of grad school, I’m moving into a new place (with two girls who run!), and best of all, I have the summer to train for Marine Corps Marathon, my first full marathon.

MCM_LogoI was anxious leading up until now because I was starting to worry that, after my ankle injury, two rough half marathons, subsequent IT band issues due to relying on the non-injured ankle too much, that my injury would keep morphing into some other type of issue. I started getting really in my head about the 26.2, thinking holy crap, if 13.1’s are hard enough for me, how am I going to DOUBLE that?!

It seems like “well duh, train and build up for it over the summer” is the obvious answer, but when you’re on the anxiety train, it’s hard to hit the brakes. I think a positive Brooklyn Half experience was exactly what was needed to get me so excited for MCM.

With my crucial last semester of grad school including two pretty heavy courses, as well as of course working full-time, marathon training is going to be an active re-commitment every day. I don’t fuck around with training for racing a new distance for the first time. I don’t want MCM to be a horrible nightmare of an experience. Regardless of my time, all I want to feel at the end of the race is the desire to do another marathon. Whether my time is 4:30 or 7:30, I just don’t want to come out of MCM hating the marathon.

Hey, maybe I won’t even finish, but whereas a few weeks ago that thought was “ugh omg I definitely cannot finish 26.2 miles I am going to hate running and give up on it and lose the thing that makes me happiest and keeps me sane,” that thought is now “hey, maybe I won’t finish, but just beginning on my routine training regimen is going to make me stronger every day than I was the day before.”

Monday night
Monday night

On Monday I was back from New York and ready to take advantage of the gorgeous spring weather while it lasts ever so briefly here in the humid mid-Atlantic. I threw on my new Brooklyn Half tech tee, laced up, and went for an easy paced 5K on my tried and true hilly neighborhood. Feeling no pacing pressure or finish line pressure was a wonderful feeling to have again. I included a nice 5-minute warm up and from there watched my lap pace get faster and faster, with my final mile topping out at 10:20.

It had been a while since I’d run my neighborhood hills. Trying to care for my ankle the only running I was doing between Frederick and Brooklyn was primarily treadmill runs, and aside from that I was mainly doing foam-rolling, yoga, and the elliptical just to keep my lungs in shape and my joints limber. Every time it’s been a while since I run my neighborhood uphills I forget how truly not a joke they are. Prospect Park during Brooklyn Half was hilly for sure. But the total elevation climb is more spread out rather than several hundred feet within the span of a half mile.

If anybody has a place to train on hills for the Marine Corps Marathon, it’s this girl. That said, I’ll be moving in about a month. This part of Maryland in general can be hilly, but as much as I hate the hills around my parents’ home, I also love them, for they have made me a much stronger runner since moving back about a year ago. I’m hoping I can find some hilly spots in my new neighborhood!

Tuesday night Body Pump
Tuesday night Body Pump

Can you tell I just discovered the FitSnap app? Yeah, I’ll be photojournaling my marathon training through FitSnap and Instagram and, well, #sorrynotsorry. Admittedly the above picture is not of my legs. They are someone else’s. It is hard to ask someone else and be like “yo can you take a pic of me while I squat this weight, bro?”

In any case, I don’t need to repeat on this blog how much I love Body Pump class at the gym – but just because I don’t need to do doesn’t mean I don’t want to! MUSCLES, BRO! It felt so good to get those weights back on my bar and work my back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, glutes, and thighs. I am so sore today and it is delicious. This kind of sore is that recognizable “I worked out HARD yesterday” sore that makes me feel good all day.

I’ve been tinkering with my 18-week Hal Higdon plan to accommodate the three half marathons I’m doing this fall, and then sitting on my hands and not registering for anything else until after Marine Corps. (Though I can usually be persuaded to do a 5K here and there.) One thing I’m a little nervous about is my 20-miler is scheduled for the same weekend I’m doing Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon in Hampton, VA. I registered before I realized it lined up with my 20-miler that week. I would say I “hope” I have the self discipline to make myself do a 7 mile warm-up before running the race, and that the medal at the finish line will be motivation to keep going until 20, but instead of “hoping” I am going to say I “am determined.”

Tonight I’m seeing a concert, have a crap ton out of the ass reading for grad school in this second week of the semester (yeowch 😦 ), and am celebrating two weddings of friends back to back this weekend soooo getting my workouts in will be a commitment. I am hoping to get in a short treadmill run tonight, cross-train tomorrow and run Friday, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning, but if I don’t do them all I won’t beat myself up. Marathon training hasn’t officially begun and my body can use some recharging. On the other hand, short runs will make it easier to jump into hardcore training come June 23 when my plan starts.

To put it succinctly, I’m breathing. I will trust my own determination to run a marathon, trust my training plan, and trust that if I could move from couch to half marathon in 9 months, I can move from half marathon to full marathon in 5.

What’s your summer fitness plan? Are you training for anything special in the fall?

What was or will be your first full marathon? How did you feel about it before you started training for it? 

What training plan did you follow or plan to follow? How did you like it?