As I mentioned Tuesday, my new job is keeping me really busy. I am very thankful that my commute is short (less than a mile and a half), and I get to come home most days to see the fur kids at lunch. I have a fancy new “business-world” wardrobe, and I work consistently from 8:00 – 5:00. It’s a huge change from my last position, but I am really enjoying it in ways I didn’t think I would.
But while my hours are consistent, I lost the flexibility of working from home. All of the little things (laundry, dishes, running errands, etc) that I used to be able to work in throughout my day now have to get done in the 5 hours I have in the evenings from the time I leave work to the time I fall into bed at night. Let’s just say I have learned to overlook dog hair and dust. :)
With a huge career transition at the end of August, you would have thought I had enough on my plate last fall, right? Well, most sane people would say yes… but those of you who have known me for any length of time, or anyone who has just read over a few of my past posts, will tell you I have never claimed to be a totally sane person. So, right when I was completely rocking the boat by changing careers and adding all new scheduling challenges to my life, I decided to train for my first full marathon.
But first, some background info: I was on the cross country and track teams for a couple of years in high school, and I ran for exercise throughout college, but I never really ran consistently until we moved to Portland and I finished my first half marathon. After that, I was hooked, and ran any small race (distances less than 13 miles) that my friends wanted to do.
Once we moved back to NC, I convinced my mom to run a half marathon with me in February 2013, and then I ran the Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon here in Durham the following October. Eventually it got to the point that I wasn’t finding the half distance all that challenging. Sure my speed was getting consistently faster, which always gave me a new goal to work for, but the actual feat of “finishing the race” had lost some of its wow factor for me. And as running a full marathon had always been on my bucket list, I figured it was now or never.
In late summer I signed up for the full marathon in Richmond, Virginia which was to be held on November 15, and joined a training program through my local running store. The training program met twice a week, Tuesday nights for speed workouts and Saturday early mornings for long runs. I soon fell into a very strict regimen of running; I added miles, stressed over my pace, and became a bit of crazy person. Looking back now, I see that. But at the time, I was in uncharted water, and terrified that the slightest divergence from “the plan” (my training schedule), would throw me for a loop and destroy my ability to finish the marathon. I spent a large majority of my free time either running, thinking about running, or planning my next run.
Although an emotionally and physically exhausting time, compounded with the stress of learning my new job, a really cool thing happened a long the way. I made new friends: some really great people who were by my side on this scary little adventure called marathon training. Training buddies who understood the feelings and physical pains I was experiencing. We suffered through hours of training together, celebrated with brunch, then planned out the next week of training. Soon the slightly-awkward and forced conversations of our first runs together turned into deep stories and emotional confessions. If you ever want to become really good friends with someone, run for three hours together at 6:00am on a Saturday.
As part of our training we all ran the Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon a few weeks before the full marathon. As an old veteran of this course, I warned my training buddies to take it easy and just enjoy the race. The course has some mega hills and we were all a little nervous about injuries so close to the marathon. Of course, I didn’t listen to my own advice and shot across the start line like a jack rabbit. I finished in 1:40:20, taking over 7 minutes off my last personal best for the half marathon distance. It was a nice confidence boost to show me my training had worked, and I was ready for the Richmond marathon!
The next weekend we accomplished our longest run before the race, peaking the training cycle at 22 miles with a run along the entire length of the American Tobacco Trail. It was a really cool feeling, running through 4 cities and 3 different counties over the course of a Saturday morning long run.
Exhausted from weeks of building, with a half marathon PR built in, we gave ourselves two solid weeks of tapering before the race. A couple of last minute anxiety-filling training sessions with friends were thrown in, but days flew by and it was race weekend!
Stay tuned for a full Richmond marathon recap over the weekend!