Monday, September 20, 2010


The final week! I ran a 5K on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I did yoga on Thursday and Friday. Took the day off completely on Saturday. I started feeling quite anxious about the marathon on Thursday. The anticipation was brutal! Plus it was hard because I couldn't run to burn off the anxiety. The fortunate thing was starting on Friday I was busy visiting with my sister Nicole (veteran marathoner) and friends Ashley and Kris (first-time marathoner) who were in town for the marathon.

Marathon Eve- Saturday September 18th. Molly and I picked up our race packets then hung out for a while discussing our race plans. That night we had dinner and Ashley and Kris- pasta, bread, salad, oatmeal bars. I was feeling more relaxed because having company took my mind off the marathon. Went to bed about 10:30pm and actually slept well surprisingly.

Marathon Day- Sunday September 19th. Woke at about 5:45am after getting a good night's sleep. Breakfast was one-half each PBJ, protein bar, banana plus water. Our ride (Molly's parents) picked Nicole, Kris, and I up at 6:45am and we arrived at the start about an hour prior to race time. We found a spot to sit (close to the bathrooms!) and try to relax. Ten minutes before gun time we ventured outside to the start line. The weather was perfect- just under 50 degrees with a partly cloudy sky and no wind. We started near the 4:00 group. Nicole decided to run with the 4:00 pace group as she was trying to PR at under 4 hours. The National Anthem was sung and before we knew it we were off!

Miles 1-9 (Easy): I considered these "warm-up" miles. Our legs were fresh and it was hard to not run faster than a 9:00 pace. These miles flew by and were quite easy. Saw Peter, Eleanor, my parents and brother, Molly's parents, and my co-worker doing the relay marathon along the way.

Miles 10-19 (Fun): Quickly used the porta-potty around mile 10 then around mile 11 realized I dropped my Tylenol and Shot Bloks in there. Bummer. But Molly was generous enough to share her Tylenol with me which I took at the half-way point. Ate two gels and started stopping for more water. We put our music on. My feet were doing fairly well. Still stayed at a consistent 9:15 pace. This part of the marathon was not easy and not hard, just moderate. These miles flew by as well, was really in the groove, kind of zoned out of most of these miles, in fact frequently didn't even know which mile we were at! Saw lots of familiar faces in the crowd- my parents and brother, Peter, Eleanor, Ashley and her dad, Molly's husband and son, co-workers, etc.

Miles 20 to 26.2 (Hard): Molly started to have some issues around this point. We agreed that if it didn't improve I should keep the planned pace and move ahead. This was a bummer to separate.

Ate a gel, part of a bagel, and Gatorade during these miles. I thought I was around mile 18 but learned that I was almost at 22! I think knowing that I was in the "20s" caused me some mental stress and I immediately felt tired and a little panicky knowing that I had ran further than I ever did in training.

I would totally agree with the saying that "the race starts at mile 20." Miles 23-25 were just plain hard, physically of course I was tired- legs were heavy, etc, but I found these later miles to be mentally exhausting. I was almost on the verge of falling apart, I had to take it second by second, keeping myself together. Spectators were talking to me and I just kept staring ahead, completely focused on not falling apart. I repeated the words of Deena Kastor, "Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us" over and over. My pace went down to 9:30-9:45 but I felt like I was sprinting.

I was telling myself that where I was at, exactly in this point of time, was why I ran hundreds and hundreds of training miles and worked so hard over the past 17 weeks. I did not see my family during these miles and kept scanning the crowds in search of some encouragement.

When I reached mile 25 I knew I would make it. I kept just putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over focusing on my music lyrics, "sometimes you feel tired, feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength and get that motivation to not give up and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse."

I made the final turn and saw the finish line, probably a quarter of a mile away. "You better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go, you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime." The finish line was getting closer and closer. I saw my sister, who had already finished, about a tenth of a mile from the finish. She was yelling and screaming for me and ran me in to the finish and got me yelling and screaming too. Finally my feet struck the last timing mat. I had made it. I was now a rare breed- a marathoner. A 4 hour 7 minute marathoner!

Nicole guided me to get my medal, blanket, shirt, and water. I couldn't really comprehend much for a few minutes after I stopped running. My friends, family, and co-workers came over to congratulate me.

Shortly after, we watched Molly come into the finish. Even though she experienced some unexpected issues, she looked great at the end and had a good time for anyone, much less for not feeling well the last ten miles.

Nicole's goal was under 4 hours and she achieved 3:51. I was so proud and happy for her. Amazing! Kris met his goal of about 3:40. Unbelievable!

Final words: I really never thought I could do this. In three years, I went from a non-runner to a 7 time half-marathoner to a full-marathoner, plus I had a baby there in the middle. I am no great athlete by any means. All you need is a little fitness and a lot of perseverance.

I would highly recommend doing this. It will make you a better spouse, parent, sister, daughter, friend, and employee. You will be an active participant in your own life. You will realize what you're capable of.

"Once you cross that finish line, no matter how slow, no matter how fast, it will change your life forever."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 17

The last long run week! Molly and I ran a measly 8 miles on Saturday. Fine run. I ran 24 miles this week.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week 16

I was REALLY sore after the HM last week. My quads were killing me which hadn't bothered me prior in marathon training, even after the 20s. So I took it easy running-wise the first part of the week. Ran with the Pacesetters for the 12 mile run on Saturday. We ran our marathon pace- 9:10. The weather was nice and cool (upper 40s-low 50s) which was fantastic.

Week 15

35 miles this week. For the long run, ran the Cheesehead half marathon in Hilbert. We wanted to get extra miles in so ran 3 miles before the race. It was a warm, very sunny, very windy day which made this a tough race. My half time was 2 hours 29 seconds, which is my slowest half time ever by 3 minutes. This was kind of frustrating.

On the positive side, my feet were doing better this week, probably because I have really been working on landing on my midfoot/forefoot. In fact, one runner during the HM even commented that I have a great running form :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Week 14

Went to sports med on Tuesday for my feet pain. xrays normal. Exam normal. Differential diagnosis: achilles, plantar fasciitis, tarsal tunnel, stress fracture- nothing seemed to fit. I am wondering if my insoles I bought from Fleet Feet last year are part of the problem. The underside of the insoles are quite hard. My doctor said to consider PT and custom-made orthotics but I am wary this close to the marathon. I may consider it after the marathon if my feet are still bothering me.

I concentrated this week on using more of a shuffling stride, landing on my midfoot instead of my heel.

I did my second 20 mile run with Molly and Friday. Time was about 3 hours 10 minutes. It went much better the second time around! I felt strong. Had a side ache around mile 19 and had to walk a block or two but finished strong. My feet weren't too bad afterward. My calves did hurt for a few days after I think because of the new stride.

Ran 40 miles this week. My second highest mileage week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week 13

This was easy week. Which was very fortunate because my heel pain seems to be worse. I did all my running on the treadmill because my feet feel much better when I don't run on the roads. I have also been taking naproxen almost daily. I am getting a little nervous about being able to finish my training properly because of my feet pain. It is mainly my heels, the left is worse than the right. Sometimes if feels like the soles of my heels have a dull ache , other times I have a sharp shooting pain in the mid of the left sole. Then sometimes, I have a burning pain along the medial aspect of my heel or the back of my heel.

It is getting very frustrating, because otherwise I am feeling great from a cardiopulmonary standpoint. Also (knock-on-wood) I have no hip or knee pain.

I ran 29 miles this week. The long run was a half-marathon on the treadmill, which is my longest TM run to date.

I am going to see my sports medicine physician this week and hope to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan to get me through the marathon!

I am going to make an appointment

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Week 12

This was the biggest running week of my life! My first 20 miler was done on Friday August 6th. Ran with Molly and Nicole out and back to my parent's house with an extra 4 mile loop thrown in the middle. This was my longest and also my hardest run. Around mile 11 started having some stomach cramps and needed to make a pit stop at a gas station bathroom about mile 13 or so. This really got me down mentally. Also, I waited too long to fuel up so my energy got low. Didn't really take in much sugar until mile 17. However, we maintained a great 9:03 pace for 20 miles for a total time of 3 hours 1 minute! Total miles for the week was 42! My first 40 mile week!! Overall, feeling pretty well. My feet hurt pretty bad after the 20 miler but today (2 days later) able to do a 10K on the treadmill no problem. Now I get to say hello to easy week. Long run will "only" be 13 miles! :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week 11

Good running week. 33 total miles. Long run was again another mileage milestone- 18 miles! We ran with the Pacesetters group. Our time was 2 hours 48 min which is a 9:20 pace. I ran outside for most of my runs this week and I think that caused my feet to hurt a little worse than usual. I got through the run just fine. My energy level was just a tad lower from the week before. The weather was great for running- overcast, cool, with a light mist. We were SOAKED at the end. I enjoyed talking with some of the other runners, most are also training for FCM. I received a lot of positive comments about my pace for this being my first marathon.

Week 10

This one one of my strongest running weeks, perhaps because of coming off of easy week. Ran 35 miles. The long run was scheduled for 16 miles but Molly and I were feeling good so we did 17 miles in 2 hours 35 minutes which is a 9:07 pace. We were planning on running on Saturday with the Pacesetters, but there was rain/storms that morning so we pushed the run to Sunday. We ran from my house to my parent's and back. My energy level was fantastic, which I attributed to a high carb dinner the night before, which included sweet potato fries. It was such a great feeling hitting a new mileage milestone. Besides my feet, I was not sore the next day! I think alot of that is from doing yoga on a regular basis.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Week 9

This was a tough week. It was an "easy" week running wise because of less miles, but I had my two upper wisdom teeth out on Monday on an urgent basis because of pain. I ran before the appointment and then took Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off. I had a tough time keeping hydrated and eating well because of pain and nausea so had absolutely no ambition to run. Started up again on Friday and did an 11 mile run on Sunday.

Did the 11 miler with my sister, Nicole. Her plan (she is also training for Fox Cities Marathon) called for 11 so that's what we did. We were thinking we would have to take shifts on my treadmill to get this run in because the forecast called for storms. But in the morning, it was clear so we started out running outside. Soon, it started to drizzle and that lasted for about five miles then it completely dried up the last six. Literally, as soon as we finished it began to storm- thunder, lightening, and down-pouring rain. We felt so lucky to be able to run outside together and have great conversation!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The love/hate relationship with training for a marathon

1. Obsessively checking the detailed hourly forecast on Intellicast, over and over, hoping this time that the temperature/humidity/wind/precipitation forecast will have changed to more favorable.
2. Prepping the night before a long run- laying out all running gear/making sure the Garmin is charged
3. Going to the store specifically to purchase Gatorade/Shot Bloks/gel/bananas/protein bars
4. Planning the route with running partner.
5. Planning where to drop water with running partner.
6. Convincing self that 12 miles is really more of a short run that a long run, after all, it's easy week!
7. Reading Daily Mile 5 times per day.

Week 8

Strong running week- 36 miles of running. Long run was 16 miles. Molly and I ran from south Neenah (my house) to the Town of Menasha (to my parent's) and back.

When I first started training for HMs, I remember the trek from my house to my parent's house (8 miles) seemed REALLY long. I remember thinking, "if I ever train for a marathon, I will not only run TO but BACK as well." That always seemed like a far-off possibility. Until now, when I accomplished the out and back.

We ran on the morning of Friday July 11. Started out about 7:15 and it was already pretty warm. Molly dropped water at about 5 miles which was much needed. We also got water at my parent's. Used gel about mile 10.5 which gave me a nice burst of energy. Mile 14.5 felt like I was fading so ate some beans. The last mile felt like it took forever, the last half mile an eternity. When my Garmin hit 16 miles we celebrated with a high five.

The 16 miles were run in 2 hours 23 min which is a 8:56 pace.

I felt as great about finishing this run as any HM I have ever done. What a great day!

Injury-wise, doing well. Heel pain diminishing and knee pain gone (knock-on-wood)).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Week 7

My feet started to feel better this week. This was a milestone week for me- my longest run ever! Molly and I ran 14 miles on Friday June 25 on the Wiouwash trail in Greenville. It went well but the last two miles were especially tough because of the 3 large hills. We ran the 14 miles in 2 hours 6 minutes which is a 9:00 pace. Molly dropped some water along the course so we had plenty of water, I brought Gatorade which I drank the last 3 miles which helped give me more energy.

Weekly mileage was 33 running miles, 36 miles including walking miles.

On Saturday I took the day off from running to recover from the 14 miler the day before. Unfortunately, I tweaked my knee a little, I think when standing up with Eleanor. I will take it easy until it's healed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Week 4

Our first double digit long training run- 10 miles! Had a great run! Perfect weather for running- overcast and cool.

Week 5

This was an 8-miler run at just under a 9:00 pace. Easy week came and went quickly!

Week 6

Ran with Molly on Friday June 25 around Neenah. ( I have to work the weekend so that's the reason for the Friday run.) I took off from running the day prior so I had nice fresh legs.

We ran our longest long run yet- 12 miles. Our time was 1:52 which is a 9:20 pace. It was a warm, humid, sunny day so we had several stops in search of water to refill our bottles. It made me appreciate the training runs that have water and Gatorade throughout the course.

My heels have been bothering me for the last couple of weeks so this week I did two of my runs on the treadmill -the softer surface seemed to help. I also bought some gel heel cups to put in my running shoes and have been icing. I'm being really careful to wear comfortable shoes in my non-running activities.

I have been cross-training with yoga one to two times per week which I have really been enjoying.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Week 3

31 miles of running this week. Long run on Saturday with the Pacesetters group-9 miles. Ran with Molly and Nicole. Good run. Need new shoes though. So far, so good!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Week 2

Pretty relaxed running week; weekly total was 26. Long run was 8 miles, ran with my training buddy on Friday instead of the Saturday group run. The weather is heating up but I feel I am slowly adjusting to it.

The bottom of my heels are bothering me a little, have been since the Cellcom HM. After doing some research, I think it is "heel fat pad syndrome" where the fat pad of the heel becomes bruised. I am going to the Good Feet store this week to buy some heel inserts for my running shoes. Other than this small problem, I am feeling great!

This week I also created my online fundraising page. My goal is to raise $1750 for God's Littlest Angels, an orphanage in Haiti.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First week

This week was my first week of marathon training. Overall it was a little strange because I ran less than I have been lately because I am coming off of running some HMs. It gave me the feeling of the first week of a new semester in school and feeling frustrated because of the slow start. I actually ran a little more than my plan called for out of habit.

First group run 5/22/10: Met Molly and Amy a little before 7AM in the Pick and Save parking lot. There were more runners present than I expected- about 60. Promptly at 7AM we were off. The six miles went by quickly and were pretty easy. We ran about a 9 minute mile. The weather was overcast, in the 60s, no wind (perfect running conditions).

One week down, 17 to go!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tomorrow is the big day

Tomorrow is the big day- my first of 18 group training long runs! I have been looking forward to this day since last fall. Tomorrow is the day I can finally start preparing to become a marathoner.

Here is my running history: While I have exercised almost daily for over ten years, I started running seriously three years ago. The reason was not because I wanted to, but because my elliptical was back in our old house, and we didn't want to buy a gym membership. So I started run/walking in our neighborhood for three miles. At the same time, my sister who has ran several marathons, talked me into training for a half-marathon. I trained for about three months and ran my first half-marathon September 2007, which was also my PR at just over 1:50. Fast-forward three years, and I now have five HMs under my belt. I even ran until my 7th month of pregnancy (speed-walked the remainder)and started running again three weeks after my c-section and competed in a 5K five weeks postpartum (and beat my husband)!

My daughter, Eleanor, will turn two a month before the marathon. I enjoy being a "mom on the run" and run more now than before she was born. Running gives me energy, a positive outlook, balance, clarity, happiness, a healthy body and mind, and friendship. I do 85% of my running before my daughter wakes up in the morning. That way, my running has very little negative impact on my family. My husband has graciously agreed to watch Eleanor every Saturday from now until September while I do my long run.

This is how I will become a marathoner: I developed this plan by researching several programs including Hal Higdon's. Being a working mom, I need flexibility so here is what I came up with.
  • Monday-Thursday: will run 3-4 times depending on my schedule. Will do: One to two "regular" runs of 4-5 miles. One "hill" run alternating weeks with one "speed" run of 4 miles. One "mid-week long run" of 5-8 miles.
  • Friday: rest/walk/yoga
  • Saturday: The Long Run! Will range from 6-20 miles, based upon the Pacesetters training schedule. (
  • Sunday: rest/walk/yoga
Minimum mileage: 19
Maximim mileage: 43

Some may wonder why I want to run a marathon. So why do I? That is a hard question to answer. Curiosity, I suppose is the main reason- to test myself, to see if I can do it, to see what the training feels like, in particular to see what a 20-mile training run in August feels like, to see what race day feels like, to see what crossing the finish line will feel like.

It is hard to explain how amazing even running a half-marathon feels like, so I can only imaging what training for and running 26.2 will feel like. Here is my journey, enjoy. I know I will!