The Marathon Leap

So I did it, I registered for a marathon. When I hit the submit registration my palms were sweaty, I felt like throwing up, and I was extremely excited all at the same time.

Coming into 2016 I had a goal to run a marathon and I had an idea of what I wanted to do. I didn’t tell anyone but my goal was to run the Chicago marathon for St.Jude. I have a special place in my heart for St.Jude and I wanted to be able to run for a purpose. On the same day I posted my goal on Instagram my beautiful little cousin Nikki got engaged. You are probably wondering why that is relevant. Well I’m the Matron of Honor, her wedding is the last weekend of October and her bachelorette party(in Las Vegas) is the first weekend of October. The Chicago marathon is the second weekend of October. In no way did I want my running to interfere with her wedding …and let’s be honest, running a marathon a week after being in Vegas is just not a smart decision. So I had to change my plan and I still plan to fund raise for St.Jude but not in one of their sponsored races. Timing just didn’t work out this year.


I started looking at other marathons. I narrowed it down to Detroit on October 16th or Marquette on September 3rd. I drove my husband insane talking about it and going back and forth with pros and cons for each. Here are the reasons I chose Marquette:

  1. It’s on Labor day weekend- which gives us another day to recover.
  2. I will not be training during my cousin’s bachelorette party or wedding.
  3. The course looks amazing and I got great feedback from IG friends who have done it before.
  4. My husband said he would do it too if I did Marquette.
  5. My husband’s family lives in Marquette and graciously said they would watch our kiddos while we did the race! (THIS PRETTY MUCH SEALED THE DEAL) . Since it is the last weekend of the summer I didn’t want to leave my babies at home.

So I’m going to run a marathon. I really cannot believe I’m going to do this. I still can’t believe I’ve ran two half marathons with a third coming up in May. I’m not the fastest, I’m not trying to qualify for Boston, I’m just trying to push myself to do something WAY out of my comfort zone. I don’t have a goal time in mind, I just want to cross that finish line. I’m scared of training and I’m scared of the pain- but I’m telling that little voice in my head to shut up and I’m going to put my big girl pants on and try to kick some butt this summer! e343eb65daf31a2d3922653d727bba51

I have so many questions and research to do on marathon running. I need to learn how to fuel better during long runs. I currently don’t wear a fuel belt or camel back for hydration. I also don’t use any GU’s because I have silly stomach issues. I need to be a smarter runner on my long runs if I’m going to do this.

So I’m asking for suggestions and help! What advice would you give to a first timer?





5 thoughts on “The Marathon Leap

  1. Great decision on the marathon. There is all sorts of advise one could give. Besides finding a beginner training plan and following it, you are going to need to find a way to ingest calories during your long runs. Your body can only bring along so many calories and when you run out, you are done. Start the fueling and hydration early in the run and try to find an interval or pattern that works for you. Most fuels suggest every 45 minutes. If you wait until the middle or end or your run to begin fueling when your body is craving energy, it is usually too late at that point and the stomach seems to shut down with cramps. The good news is that you have time to try different foods, gu’s, etc. to hopefully find out what works for you. I use a Nathan’s hydration/fuel belt.

    Any running shop can give you some good options on fuel. I prefer Hanson’s.

    We’ll be following your progress on Instagram. Good luck.

    @JHouz84 (instagram)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Way to go, you´ll love it. From my personal experience I strongly recommend to learn and train fuel and hydration. Start on shorter training runs already so you get used to it, because it´s not easy to fuel while running. Also, on a short run you do not necessarily need to carry a fuel belt or camel back as a small bottle will do. Could be water, tea or whatever you prefer.
    As for the GU´s science say, the slower we go the more fat we burn and the more glycogen we preserve. The faster we go, the more carbs we burn relative to our fat stores. At marathon race pace we have about 2 hours before we’ll run out of glycogen and have only fat left to burn. When we only have fat to burn, we feel slack, powerless and slow (this is a bonk!).
    The good news is that at easy pace (appx. 1 minute per mile slower than marathon race pace), most of us can go much longer without running out of glycogen.
    If running at marathon race pace for a training run, I think you don’t need gels when running for 2 hours or less.
    I have nothing against gels per se, they serve a useful purpose for long distance events like the full marathon and I have used one for the last 10k too. But even for a long training run (> 2.5-3h), I personally think you don´t need gels, because I assume your training plan will then consider a more moderate pace.
    Instead of gels during my long training runs (3h), I have arranged to get some fruits every 45-60 minutes and it worked good for my.
    Listen to your body, you have plenty of time to try and to find out during your training sessions.

    Sooner or later to most of the runner fatigue sets in during a race and then you must rely on your mental toughness to get you across the finish line.
    Reading the other posts and particular the one about your relationship with 4am, I know that you are mentally strong and this characteristic will give you that little extra boost to finish.

    Last but not least, once you´ve made it through the long and tough training period, don´t forget to enjoy your first marathon 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Herbert! Until recently I never knew you were a runner! This is all great advice and I appreciate you reading the posts! With half marathon distances around 2 hours I’ve never needed anything but now I will need to start expanding how I get nutrition to keep going 😉 Thanks again for reading!


  3. Hi Jess!

    I recently stumbled upon your Instagram and started “creeping” on your page and your journey! I love it for two reasons, 1) although I now live in Minnesota where my hubby is from, I am a born and raised Michigan girl! and 2) Although my running journey is a bit different as I have always been a “runner”, I took a year off of running last year and restarted fresh this year with a new mindset and new goals and I find your page and now blog to be just what I need some days!

    About marathon training advice… I will NEVER forget the feeling (or the fear) when I signed up for my first marathon. I, like you, had a few half marathons under my belt but couldn’t even imagine running twice the distance! I learned a lot training for my first marathon and the best advice I can give you is the fuel… learn what works for you and test things out early on. Even if you wouldn’t normally use Gu or a water belt on a 13 mile run, start using them so you can learn what you like and what you don’t, and what works for you and what doesn’t. Things that work for your best running friend may not work for you! Also learn what works for you for meals the night before and the morning of as well as how much hydration the week of really long runs you need. It is a whole different ball game when your long runs start getting into 15+ miles! There is this thing called “hitting a wall” that if you think you have experienced, you haven’t yet! It happens when your body depletes itself of any energy (calories) it has stored to use and your body literally feels like it is shutting down, and with it comes a negative mind set that makes you think you should stop. The way to not have this happen is to make sure you are properly fueled before and during your run! I did A LOT of reading about this recently!

    My first marathon training was such a learning experience… and the week of the race the weather was showing 100 percent chance of rain that day, I kept hoping it would change and checked probably every 35 seconds every day for a week. But it didn’t…. the night before I did a bunch a research on how to run in the rain etc (a little late, looking back now I wish I would have done that during the training)…. I was all ready to go with plastic bags on my feet when they delayed the race an hour, then two, then finally cancelled it. I cried so hard you would have thought someone died. My poor husband had no idea what to do with me.

    After mourning the loss of my first marathon for a few days (haha) I signed up for a trained for a second one that year. BUT I was discouraged and had a bad attitude. I half-assed my training and the only person it hurt was me. I prior to that was hoping to come in at 4 hours and 45 minutes (I said, “I just want to finish” but actually had a goal in mind) … I came in at 5 hours and 15 minutes after the HARDEST run of my life, I regretted not giving it my all during training, not pushing harder and skipping mid week runs and having a bad attitude etc. I knew I was capable of more and I screwed myself over.

    so I took a year off running, swore I would NEVER run another marathon, would stick to the half (my favorite distance).

    then a year passed and a friend of mine asked me to run a marathon…. after a lot of thought I decided to not only do it, but do it differently. I PROMISED myself I would train differently and really give it my all… when I find myself wanting to stop or skip I remind myself of that promise. I found a running partner which has helped keep me accountable and push myself and week after week, long run after long run, I find myself hitting new PR’s and feeling so much better! I no longer skip runs because I remember what it felt like to want to get hit by a car at mile 17 instead of finish the marathon (haha, a tad dramatic but seriously!)… I also incorporated yoga and strength training into my training this time… my marathon is June 5th and I can’t wait to prove to myself I can do it better!

    Long story short- thanks for sharing your journey! It really helps to motivate people!!

    Good luck!

    -Lauren Rudeen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lauren!! Wow- I just read all of this and first thank you for following me and stalking me because believe me I do the same thing with people too haha! I really appreciate all of your advice, especially about the fueling. I really need to figure it out. I started trying new things and I am going to start using a fuel belt soon too because I KNOW I need something. I really hope you do well in your marathon. I just followed you on IG so I will start stalking you now haha!!! I think you are going to do great and you have the right midset. I’m still nervous as heck to run 26 miles! AHHH


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