Yesterday, June 4, was every runner’s favorite national holiday that in my opinion should result in federal closings so everyone can go on a long run, National Running Day! Admittedly, over the weekend, I wasn’t feeling the running thing. Don’t get me wrong – my mind was motivated to run. Both Saturday and Sunday I laced up, got the watch beeping, and headed out the door for what I intended to be a good 10 mile long run. Both times, my body was like “girl, no.”

I don’t know what it was. My mileage goal for May was 80 miles. Before my ankle injury in March my monthly mileage goal to meet my Run This Year 1,400 mile goal for 2014 was to average 116.67 miles per month. I got close in January, fell a bit shorter in February (shorter month!) and then really fell off in the last half of March and first half of April, when I wasn’t allowed to run. (Except when I cheated and ran Cherry Blossom anyway.) Filling up my spring dance card with race after race was fun when I had visions of medals rolling around my head, but I wasn’t thinking of the possibility of needing injury recovery time when I hit the “register” button. So while I am so happy I can check off Nike, Frederick, and Brooklyn from my bucket list (although Brooklyn I would absolutely do again), I think in the future I’ll be spacing races out a little more.

Because it’s been nice to just go running. Which is why, when my feet were like “ha, bitch no” on my attempted long runs over the weekend, I was so frustrated. I was so motivated to go out and there and log miles again! I wanted to feel the breeze on my skin, smell the trees, hear my neighbor’s giant dog roaring at me when I pass that same spot near his fence! I wanted to be 5 miles from home on foot with no car and no money and feel awesome! So why wasn’t my body coming with me??

Sunday's weather was to die for and this was the best I could do in it.
Sunday’s weather was to die for and this was the best I could do in it.

So I didn’t run on Monday or Tuesday. For various reasons I didn’t have time to go to the gym and cross-train, either, so I just counted them as rest days. But yesterday, I knew I had to run. I had meant to get up early and celebrate National Running Day by doing a morning run for maybe the first time ever in my life, but of course all that did was result in me hitting snooze twice as many times as usual.

(Oh, PS, keep in mind when I use Fitsnap and post these pics to my blog, they include a 5 minute warm-up walk. I’m not a fast runner, but I’m a BIT faster than my average pace suggests. In my hilly neighborhood when I’m running I am usually at a low 11 pace, mid to low-10’s on a flat course, depending on the length of the run. I just include the 5 minutes of walking in the overall duration of my training run logging.)

At work, my cubicle walls are surrounded in images that motivate me or make me happy, or both. So during some down time at work, I knew it was time. Time to post the marathon training schedule to keep me honest and motivated to get off work and RUN instead of get off work and nap.

My first marathon - a modified 18-week novice/intermediate training plan.
My first marathon – a modified 18-week novice/intermediate training plan.

Previously I’ve been quite unconvinced there will be a day where I am not in a race I’ve paid for and yet still log 20 miles. I don’t know how Saturday, October 4th, when I do my final 20-mile long run in preparation for Marine Corps Marathon, will happen the way I plan for it to, but it’s going to have to. I’ve committed. The 26.2 is happening. This year, I’m running a marathon.

I’m running a marathon.

Really, I am. Somehow.

Enough of that. What else did I do on National Running Day? BOUGHT STUFF of course! Not like I have rent to pay and student loan bills to pay off or anything – Run Rock ‘n’ Roll was having crazy discounts!

Coming this November...
Coming this November…

I have been meaning to go out to Las Vegas for quite some time. Why? No, I am not a party girl. Far from it. I like books a lot more than clubs. Do I TOTALLY want to see Britney’s Planet Hollywood show?! YES! But that’s not why. My grandparents live in Las Vegas. It being a 5-hour flight, my being historically poor in my young adulthood, I’ve kept most of my traveling to the east coast, but I have had this nagging feeling of guilt that I never see my grandparents. They don’t do much traveling anymore, certainly none that requires a plane, so it’s on me to go to them. And I just hit the 6 month mark at my new job, so I didn’t exactly have all the paid time off stored up in the world to head out to Vegas to see them.

But by November? It’ll be perfect timing. I did the math, including the time I’m taking off to run Disneyland (I know, I know, I’m bad, I’m all “I don’t see my grandparents because they live on the west coast” but I’ll use Labor Day weekend for a long trip to Disneyland to celebrate *knock on wood* finishing grad school), and by November I’ll have enough time to go out there and see them plenty. And what happens in November in Vegas? The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon of course! I can’t wait to run the Strip at Night. I’m doing the half, of course, as 3 weeks after MCM I’m certainly not setting myself up to run another full. Why would I sign up for another full before I’ve even completed my first full and lived to tell the tale?

Rock 'n' Roll St. Jude Country Music Marathon here I come!
Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Jude Country Music Marathon in Nashville here I come!

Oh wait. I did that. When else is a Rock ‘n’ Roll race series full marathon going to cost as little as it did yesterday?! Never, except on National Running Day. See, I may not know how Marine Corps is going to go, but I do know that I want to love the marathon. And how better to increase my chances of loving the marathon than to do one named the COUNTRY MUSIC MARATHON?! Since country music (good country music, that is. Go home Luke Bryan, not just because you’re drunk. Because you’re awful) is my heart, soul and lifeblood, I’ve had my eye on the Nashville St. Jude Country Music Marathon that Rock ‘n’ Roll sponsors since I learned about it a year ago. I’ve read reviews, and I know it can be a really tough, hilly course.

But if any girl is willing to destroy some hills in the name of country music and to wrap her sweaty hands around a medal dedicated to country music paraphernalia, it’s this bitch.

So I’m really glad I sat on my hands when WDW Marathon Weekend opened registration. I’m really glad I decided to do my first full marathon close to home this fall. Because both of those things are allowing me to give myself the perfect amount of time between my first full marathon and my second, and allows my second to be a racecation in a city that calls my name every day.

I got so excited I started already drafting up a training plan! I Googled “how to train for your second marathon” and found a challenging 20-week intermediate plan that incorporates hill repeats. For Nashville? I’m gonna need hill repeat training. And the best part?

You guessed it! ANOTHER Rock 'n' Roll race!
You guessed it! ANOTHER Rock ‘n’ Roll race!

The plan lines up perfectly for a 12-14 mile long run the weekend of Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans! So as a warm up for Music City, I’ll be hitting up the blues and jazz of the French Quarter for the half marathon. When I admitted my addiction to races to my friend Ali and mentioned I had signed up for RnRNOLA, she was all, “I’M COMING WITH YOU.” I thought she was joking, but THEN SHE DID IT. I’ll actually be running New Orleans with a friend! And hopefully we’ll actually stick together on the course instead of like when I do races with my friend Alan and he leaves me in the dust! One thing’s for sure – I know Ali and I will be getting our SPARKLE on for a NOLA half marathon. Whatever we wear, it will be fabulous.

Soooo I spent some money. But look – we know I was going to sign up for races for these time frames at some point. Why not do it when they’re the cheapest they’re going to be? I love me some discounts. Time to start saving for, you know, transportation, lodging and food. Oops.

I decided to make up for all the money I spent, I had to actually run. But I was so jazzed up (no pun intended, but you know what, no pun avoided either) about New Orleans, Nashville and Vegas that I knew it would be music that got me through a truly decent run. Whereas I’d been hitting a mental block every time I set out for a run over the previous weekend, I just reminded myself of some of the most very basic things I learned to do when I first started out and felt like 2 miles was the hardest thing ever. One of these things was “if you feel like you need to stop, keep running, but go as slow as you need to. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and don’t care how slow it is.”

Of course I rocked my RNRUSA shirt that afternoon.

So I did. I just kept running. Switched from 10:1 intervals to 15:1 and ended up with a faster overall pace and went a mile longer than my head would let me go over the weekend. And I would have kept going to, if the skies hadn’t opened up just as I was turning back onto my street! The early drizzle was fantastic for cooling me down on a humid run, but it really started to pour by the end.

That said, it got me really really excited about my next run, and my next run after that, and to start checking off those days on the marathon training calendar!

Happy running y’all!

How did YOU celebrate National Running Day?