Next Stop… Bad Idea Marathon

I know, I’m just as shocked as you… I’m posting AND in a few days, I’m running a marathon. Again.

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I just want to put it out there that I’ve coined this race the Bad Idea Marathon. It was a fantastic idea about 8 months ago – when my running mojo was going strong and I was high on PRs and sub-9 minute miles.

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Those were the glory days.

A lot can happen in 8 months.

I knew this marathon was going to be tough to mentally get into when I thought at mile 22 of the Chicago Marathon (aka the Good Idea Marathon) – WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR SPACE COAST?

Seriously though. WHY?

These past 7 weeks have been fraught with burn out, negativity, and unfortunately… injury. I’ve self diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis thanks to running in shoes that were slightly too big. My left heel is very tender after a shorter run — and about three weeks ago I had to stop at mile 16 (of 17 — my longest run since Chicago) because it just hurt too much to continue. I’ve been stretching, icing, rolling, and stretching again — AND I haven’t been running (instead I’ve been spinning and boot camping) — and it’s still sore.  The only thing I haven’t really tried is taping, which I plan to do — as soon as I find my tape (for realz – where did I put it??). The irony is that I felt REALLY GREAT on that run. Of course.

So given all information, am I still doing Space Coast? Yes, because that’s what runners do. I will line up at the start one race day and give it my all. I will run as far as I can and push off any pain (that hopefully I won’t have) for as long as possible. Hopefully, until I cross the finish line.

I just want to put it out there that as nice, welcoming, and fun as runners are… we are also stupid and stubborn. I mean really, REALLY stubborn. So, it should come as no surprise to you when I say I am still running this thing.

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What’s my goal? To finish. Deep down it’s to finish faster than my first full (4:33), but that’s pre-injury Michelle talking. I don’t expect to PR. I didn’t even sign up to PR. Why did I sign up? I WISH SOMEBODY WOULD TELL ME!

(OK, so the medal is pretty cool)

Space Coast Medal

That’s the Challenger

(Plus, Tyler is running his first marathon that Paula and I convinced he should run with us)

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Back in the day, when I was fast(er) and made poor decisions thanks to endorphins.

So, after I stuff my face and give thanks for everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) I have — I’m going to do some additional carb loading and I’m going to run this bad decision marathon. And I’m going to learn from it. Or realize I’m a bigger idiot than I ever imagined.

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At this point, I think a (talking) tree might make better decisions.

Either way, I guess I’m learning. And torturing myself.

*Deep sigh*

Let’s Talk Goals While I’m Still In Denial

So hey, did you know I’ll be running a God-awful amount of miles on Sunday? For fun? It’s actually blowing my mind that Sunday is October 12th. Yes, I am in complete denial.

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When will it sink in? After?

After 15 weeks of training, where I maybe only skipped out on 3 runs (impressive for me!), I’m feeling as ready as possible. Maybe?

So let’s talk goals.

My A goal is a SERIOUS A goal — 4:15. Do I think I can hit this goal? Yes. Do I think I will actually hit this goal? Umm…sure? It’s so hard to say. My (slow) long run pace averaged between 10:00-10:40. Considering the miserable (MISERABLE) humidity, I consider that decent and within goal. The last 5 miles of my 22-miler a few weeks ago I was able to maintain a 9:30 pace — which might have been a fluke, but it makes me feel like 4:15 IS possible. I’m not counting myself out.

My B goal is less serious – but still legit — less than 4:30. I know that’s a 15 minute time gap, but if I can’t hit 4:15, I would truly be happy with a PR, especially under 4:30. 4:33:XX (<– I could look it up, but I’m lazy – which is kind of ironic) is my current PR, so let’s beat that – OK?

My C goal is to have fun. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but how can I NOT have fun?? I’m running for an amazing charity. 1.8 million people cheering. Quite possibly perfect race weather. Having my favorite people there cheering for me. The C goal is HAPPENING people.

Ack – I can’t believe I’m running a marathon in less than a week! I’ll be back (before Chicago) with one more post — all about my shoes… I’m getting my Sharpie out :)

How To Train For A Marathon {When You Have A Lot of Excuses}

Since I’m two weeks away from running my 2nd marathon, I thought I would offer up some advice on how to train for a marathon –when you have a lot of excuses.. aka three kids, a full-time job, live in a swamp, traveling for work…{insert your excuses here}. I mean, everyone wants advice from a one-time marathoner on these things right? That’s what I thought.

Here goes…

1. Run.

Duh.

2. Convince yourself that you should run TWO marathons back-to-back and not just one. Because…you are smart stupid.

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3. Take a lot of pictures of your Garmin.

Isn’t your Garmin the most beautiful part of your body once you’ve completed a long run (or any run)?

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There are more. A lot more. I’ll spare you.

4. Distract your family with a vacation.

As far as I can tell, my kids have no idea that I’ll even be running a marathon. Most of my runs start when they are a sleep and then I come home all sweaty. They do, however, know they are going to Chicago and get to go to the zoo and eat pizza. It’s all about the pizza.

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5. District yourself with a vacation.

I’ve never been to Chicago (well, more than flying into the airport and out again) and I have to admit at this point the running is taking a backseat to visiting a new city. We are flying in on Thursday and we’re going to attempt to see as much of the city as we can in 5 days (I have a feeling I will see a lot more of the city than the rest of my crew).

Of course “vacation” might be stretching it. It is really a vacation when you’re not really relaxing or sleeping and you run 26.2 in one day? :)

6. Buy more running shoes than you need.

Everyone buys three pairs in three months, right?

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Just say yes.

7. Makes new friends, convince them to sign up for a marathon, and force them to run with you.

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Tyler is also running the Space Coast Marathon. It sounded like a good idea, at the time, to convince him to join us.

8. Run in pretty places. 

Sometimes they’re there and you just didn’t realize it. Sometimes you have to travel over a thousand miles to see them.

Despite this gorgeous sunrise my 14-miler (that turned into a 15-miler) this morning was brutal. #insertsomeinspirationalshithere #wooendorphins #chimarathon #teamrmhc

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Yeah, I could get used to this view. #seeonmyrun #newport

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9. Make your husband change careers.

So, this has been a lot time coming, but Chicago was a major impetus in Dan FINALLY finding a Monday-Friday job. Yes, it’s true. In August, Dan started a new job with weekends AND HOLIDAYS off.

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How did this help marathon training? I wouldn’t have been able run with Tyler on Saturdays. I would have continued running on Sundays by myself, for sure – but it would NOT have been easy. In fact, the week before my schedule changed, I ran a 20-miler by myself and I wanted to quit at 18.5 miles. I did not feel this way AT ALL when I ran my 22-miler. Also, I love getting my long run over with — it gives me more time to spend with my favorite people (and sometimes I can even sleep in on Sundays!!).

10. Bore your family, friends, and coworkers with details about your training.

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Don’t forget to pretend like you don’t feel like a badass after completing a 45-mile week.

Bonus tip: Have fun. Enjoy your life and the people in it. Remember that training is important, but it’s not everything.

Ready to Taste the Nation!! #OrlTaste

Traveling this week. I'm going to miss these locos.

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My bitches.

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Birthday lunch. Who says you have to grow up? #beergoggles

I hope Chicago is ready for us!!

So Effing Ready For Taper

I think I’ve lost track of what week of training I’m on, but I CAN tell you that I’m now less than a month away from running the Chicago Marathon. Ack! (so that puts me at week….12?)

Truthfully, I cannot figure out how I trained for 22 weeks for Savannah because 15 weeks feels ridiculously long. Haven’t I been training FOREVER??

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In the past 12(ish?) weeks I’ve run two 16 milers, two 18 milers, one 20 miler, some other long runs that I can’t remember — and on Saturday I’ll finish out my peak week with a SUPER FUN 22-miler.  “I’m so excited! I just can’t hide it!”

Thank goodness for Tyler because he tolerates my whining and complaining at end of the run — and my rambling throughout. He is training for his first marathon and every long run is incredibly motivating for him. It’s so cute. Ahhh, youth.

Had a great run this morning! Probably my best in weeks --14 miles at a 9:59 pace. It's bizarre how our 12-miler last week felt so much harder!

For the most part, I’ve hit my training schedule every damn week. There have been a few shorter runs that I skipped, but I assure you, you would have skipped them too with sick kids, thunderstorms (I draw the line at lightening), and late nights spent working. Life happens and thankfully, my body understands that.

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I’ve reached the point of training where I begin to doubt myself and a little anxiety sets in. I think – did I do enough? Did I push myself hard enough? Thanks to my previous experience, I know that race day does not boil down to one singular training run, but the accumulation of the time spent on your feet (and I have DEFINITELY spent some time on my feet this go round), but I won’t pretend I’m not feeling nervous and jittery. My mind is full of questions — will I start out too fast? Will the adrenaline hurt me in the first part of the race — or maybe carry me through those last few miles? WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE? Should I wear my hydration vest?? Will I bonk at Mile 22? Obviously, these are questions I can ONLY answer on race day, but it doesn’t mean I’m not driving myself crazy.

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Then I remember I’m running a second marathon at the end of November. What the hell was I thinking?

Yeah. I’m ready for taper. Can you tell?

Switching Shoes {A Continuation of the Mizuno Saucony Shoe Story Saga}

So, a while ago I bought and RAVED ABOUT Mizuno Wave Rider 17s.

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I loved them. I PR’d in them. They were my jam. They made my feet happy!

1:54:14 (unofficial) #bestdamnpr @bestdamnrace

And then I started marathon training.

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ugh

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Not only was I running more, A LOT more, I was running more in higher temps. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that in Florida, in the middle of the summer, that shit gets HOT and it tends to destroy things.

This did not make my shoes happy.

Or my feet.

And, especially, my knees.

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My shoes seemed to start wearing early (with less than under 150 miles). I thought, “eh, I’m sure this is normal.”

I kept running. I kept increasing my mileage.

A few weeks ago I reached a weird breaking point and I started wondering why the runs after my 20-miler felt hard. At first, I chalked it up to training just feeling tough because I was adding more mileage and feeling tired. Except, I actually took a cut week, so that didn’t make sense. Then my knees started hurting. And my feet — oh my poor feet were KILLING me. I would just wake up in the middle of the night with them aching.

Then I remembered to check out the outer soles of my shoes.

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A-ha! Parts of my heel and toe were missing – and there was a lot of mid-section wear as well.

I was sad.

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Then I calculated my mileage (I started wearing my shoes at the end of May — I had JUST hit the 2-month mark and maybe 250, if that). W.T.F???

Maybe I’m spoiled, but I’ve never burned through shoes THAT fast before. I felt like I had been cheated, especially because I really LIKED the shoes. The kicker — I didn’t even RACE in those shoes.

So, I did what every person would do when they are angry at a brand for reducing the quality of their product… I found another one.

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Meet my new shoes — Saucony Ride 7s.

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I did a lot of research on these things. I needed shoes that could carry me through the next 100+ miles of training and 26.2 miles on October 12th (OMG, THE MARATHON IS IN 6 WEEKS).

My verdict, so far, is that they run a little shorter than the Wave Riders – so I have to half-size up. BUT, I don’t feel like an old lady after I run. In fact I had one of my best long runs in MONTHS last weekend.

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They are the weirdest shoes in the best way possible – if that makes any sense. They are cushy, but not too cushy. They are light (around 8.5-9oz), but feel substantial. The outer sole is solid and from all of the 90878291 reviews I read – really hold up. I wear custom orthotics, so I can’t talk about the inner sole – but the one time I ran in them without my inserts, they were comfy and didn’t bother my ankle.

I’m hopeful. Which is a good thing since I just ordered another pair that will (if all goes well) be my Chicago Marathon Shoes, next month.

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Imagine these shoes with a TON of names written on them. Can’t wait!

TL;DR version… the running shoe love story saga continues because companies keep changing designs and quality. Or they just like to piss me off and keep things interesting (verdict is still out).

Will I switch back to Mizunos when I’m running half marathons?? Will I try Brooks again? Will Saucony become MY SHOE? Only time will tell.

Shoe love/hate… Which brand has disappointed you the most?? Which brand did you not expect to love/wear?