My First Marathon Journey

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I’ve been slacking on my blogging. I’ve actually been working on this one for about a week now- a little bit at a time! I haven’t blogged about any of marathon training so one big blog post will have to suffice!

To say that this marathon training has changed the way I look at running is an understatement. I’ve learned so much while training for my first marathon so I thought I would share them with you.

  1. It’s HARD to stay healthy and not injured all the time. I haven’t posted much on Instagram about my injuries through this training. I started training with peroneal tendinitis in my left foot. For the first couple weeks I thought I would never get over it. It hurt to walk on it flat so running was hard. I started going back to my chiropractor two times a week to have active release therapy done and it helped and gradually went away. A couple weeks later I started having pain around my ankle- turns out my posterior tibial tendon was flared up as well and was causing spurs around my shins. I taped, iced, elevated whenever I could and little by little it healed or started feeling better. Then all of a sudden my right hip started hurting. My hips hurt every once in awhile after a long run but this was different. My hip hurt so bad I couldn’t sit down and still for more than 20 minutes without stretching it out. Back to the chiropractor I went for ALL the treatment he could possibly give me. My hips were very twisted from the trails I’ve been running on my long runs. My last peak week long run of 22 miles was also at the peak of when my hip was flared up. I was in so much pain the night after the run I couldn’t sleep. More stretching and tapering my miles helped though and now my hip is feeling more normal again. I’m not even going to start on the blisters…the humid summer has not been kind to my feet by any means. The point is, running is hard on the body and learning how to treat it and how to pace yourself and NOT change your gait to compensate for an injury is even harder. With a week left, I am focusing on letting my body heal before the marathon.
  2. There is never a right time to train for a marathon. I think I picked one of the busiest times in my life to run a marathon. I’m at a crucial point in my career and my job has been overwhelming this summer with SO much activity. My cousin is getting married and I am planning a trip for us at the end of September. My kids are busy little bees and I am trying to make time for my husband in there too. 🙂 We have had something planned every single Saturday after I have to long run so really I only have an hour of downtime before I have to get ready and go. This has also been one of the hottest summers- training in the heat is hard but it will be worth it if the weather breaks. What I’ve learned for this is to cherish the rest days and honestly just relax on those days.
  3. ALL THE FEELS. I cry a lot lately. I cry for no reason at all. I cry because I’ve made it through training, I cry because I feel lucky to be able to run, I cry because I never thought I could do something so big.
  4. Pacing for a marathon is so different than pacing yourself for a half. For the last year my goal was to get a sub 2 half marathon. With this training I’m training to run so many more miles than I have before, so to risk not getting injured more(see point 1) I’ve kept my paces pretty even, I haven’t pushed for fast runs and I’ve focused on the long run. This took some adjustment in the beginning to my mindset. I felt like I was going backwards with running instead of forward but once I realized that I have to run smart to get through the long runs it allowed me to relax more into the runs.
  5. Find your plan and stick with it. Everyone wants to give you advice and like when I was pregnant I listened to everyone but I have picked out a few things that have worked for me. Everyone is different and I can’t run 6 days a week and 80 miles per week. I just don’t have time. Also fueling has been important for me on long runs. I bought a Nathan hydration vest and have worn it on every long run. It’s the lightest vest they sell but still with 2 liters of water it adds weight and a little discomfort with some chaffing on my collar bones. Some people can carry a water bottle, use a belt…but I can’t and I needed water on those long runs. There are so many factors but find your groove and go with it! 
  6. Your support system has to be great and you find out who truly supports you. I can’t stress this one enough! I do most of my runs while my husband and kids are sleeping so it doesn’t really affect them during the week but my long runs on Saturday have left my husband getting the kids up every Saturday this summer and taking care of them until I’m done and then after as well while I shower and decompress. But let’s talk about emotional support! I’ve spent countless Fridays stressed out about the long run the next day. I don’t know how I would have got through some of the days without messages with friends and loved ones that support me, text messages or emails that I would get after the long run from people who knew I was out and just wanted to say “they were thinking of me” or “you can do it”, my husband dealing with my schedule and emotional craziness some days, and the Instagram community. People may think the IG running community is crazy but I love all the support and virtual cheers that I get on IG, I honestly do think about a lot of the comments when I’m out on a long run. My parents think I’m crazy but have been huge cheerleaders for me the whole time and helped any time Justin was traveling so that I could still get my scheduled runs in.Finally my kids are my biggest supporters- it’s hilarious to hear them talk about me running and just knowing that I am setting a good example for them keeps me going as well.
  7. You are stronger than you think. I never thought I could run a 5k. Then I did, then I ran 13.1, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22…WOW. How I did that, I’m not sure. Your body is capable of amazing things, if you push yourself, tell yourself not to quit, and just keep going. The pain of quitting is way worst than the pain you feel when you are in the run. I wanted to quit so bad on my 22 mile run, it was pouring down rain, muddy, and the hottest day. I was a little delirious and did not feel good. It was such a new feeling and it scared me. I thought of every inspirational thing I could think of to keep myself going and when I finished I was so thrilled to be done but also did not feel great. I sat at my car for about 45 minutes before I would drive. I could really go into that story more but it’s done and I’m happy that it’s completed. Some mornings I wanted to sleep in but knew I couldn’t because with marathon training skipping a run is not an option for me. I had to do it even if I hated every minute of it. It’s all mental strength and yes I’ve had to turn down some Friday night plans because I was running the next morning but this is what I want right now so it’s worth it for me. 

I could go on and on because this has been an eye opener for me as a person and a runner. I have an A, B, and C goal and the C goal is to just finish the marathon. Conquering the distance is what matters to me right now. I’ll worry about speed on my next marathon 😉

September 3rd is right around the corner! Ahhh! I feel ready for you Marquette! 

#runhappy 

– Jess 

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