Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Marathon Training and Running Outside

I have successfully completed two full weeks of marathon training!  Can I get some streamers and balloons here!?!?!  But, seriously, I have done two weeks of my training plan and I feel great.  I am feeling so good that I was able to shift last week's PT appt to this Friday so I can maximize my time with Dr. Pete (that's what I like to call him!)

I had already been running about 12-15 miles per week so I felt that my base mileage was decent going in to the training program.  If you will recall, I am doing the Higdon Novice 2 - 18 week training plan.  I like to affectionately call it - "please just let me cross the finish line on both feet training plan". 

The first week of training I completed 18 miles.  Tuesday and Thursday are what I refer to as my "shorter" days, Wednesday is the mid mileage day and then Saturday is my long run day.  So, I am running about 11 miles during the week and then adding the long run on Saturday.  I wasn't sure how I was going to like the three days in a row of running - but so far so good. 

I have been running on the treadmill a lot more than I had anticipated.  Some things have happened that have derailed me from the early morning outdoor running.  First, my early morning running partner, Jen,  had some major surgery and she is starting from scratch on running again so I am on my own in the AM.  My friend Melissa has offered to run with me but because of our schedules we would have to go even earlier than I was already going and I am having a hard time figuring out how to swing that.  I am already not really getting enough sleep as I typically do not go to bed until after 10PM, sometimes closer to 11PM and then having to get up 5.5 to 6 SHORT hours later is just HARD.  It's plain old hard, and I realize that this is a form of an excuse but I also have to remember that training for this marathon is not the only thing I have going on in my life. 

I wanted to conquer this marathon now because I felt that the older I got and the older my kids got it would just be that much harder.  Trying to shuffle schedules around to make sure I had time to run, get the kids where they need to be, etc.  Right now they are young enough and sleep late enough that my early morning trips to the gym/outside before work don't interfere with their lives - and that was the way I intended it to be.  My Saturday long runs cut in to some of that time - but they are home with their daddy, I am not having to put them in daycare on the weekend to accomplish what I need to do.  Geez, can you say mommy guilt, yes, I suffer from it, A LOT! 

I also have a full time job that requires me to be conscious while I am there - I know, the horror, Right!  The best part is that I actually feel so much better on the days when I have been to the gym or got a good run in so I really think my training helps with my energy level - as long as I get sufficient sleep!

The other thing that has thwarted my early morning (in the dark) outdoor running is safety.  I had been going for my morning runs with someone until the winter hit.  Now I am on my own.  In the dark, on decently lit pathways, but still alone.  I don't know if you have heard about Sherry Arnold, she is a 43 year old wife and mother, who left her house at 6:30AM on Saturday January 7th to go for a run.  She never came home.  She was abducted and killed while out for a run in her small town of Sidney, Montana.  All they have found of her so far, is her running shoe.  I am going to do a full post about this story today - Sherry's cousin is actually a well known blogger that I follow and she has put together a virtual run to honor Sherry on February 11th.  I want to dedicate an entire post to this - because I feel very strongly about the importance of this topic. 

I can honestly tell you that since I heard about Sherry Arnold, I have not been able to go running by myself in the AM again.  I don't know if it's fear, common sense or what.  I know plenty of people that run alone in the morning darkness.  I just have not been able to bring myself to do it since January 8th.  I don't know if it's because I now realize that this kind of sick and twisted thing can happen ANYWHERE and to ANYONE and I don't want to become a statistic.  I don't want these evil men that did this to her to scare me out of doing something that I love, but I want to be safe too.  I want to be able to come home to my kids and know that I will get to kiss and squeeze them again. 

I have been thinking a lot about this lately - and keeping it mostly to myself.  It's hard to talk about what scares you sometimes.  And to admit that you are scared.  But it definitely is affecting my training - as I had hoped to be outdoors for the majority of it, instead of just Saturday mornings.

Some final thoughts on marathon training - my second week I ran 20 miles total for the week, putting my two week total at 38 miles.  Now, when I was training for the 10 mile and the half marathon I didn't keep very good training logs - but I am pretty sure that I was not running that kind of mileage.  I am just overjoyed that my legs are feeling good and that this third week of training has started off strong as well. 

My biggest challenge right now is figuring out a way to get the majority of my runs done OUTSIDE!  If anyone has any tips or advice about running in the morning dark I would greatly appreciate it.  I have a headlamp to help with being able to see.  My fear is not related to not being able to see where I am going - it's being vulnerable in the dark, morning quiet air. 

Be happy and healthy friends!

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