Post Marathon Musings

Of course I’ve been reflecting on my first marathon and what I’ve learned. It’s true what they say in that it is a life changing experience. I’m sure as time passes more things will come to mind, but here are few post marathon musings:

1. Training for a marathon is not only getting you ready to run the distance but to train your mind to know you can run the distance. 

I feel like I let my mind take over the last 6 miles when the marathon really starts. I felt like I couldn’t give any more and I don’t know, maybe I could have. It’s easy to say that now that it’s over because at the time, you really feel like you can’t. I think this where my mental toughness weakened. Every one hurts. Every one is struggling. The last part of the race is the really challenge–more mental than physical–and I think this is where I need to tell the negative thoughts in my head to take a walk somewhere else.

2. There will be good runs/races and there will be bad runs. Don’t compare them. 

When I ran my 20 mile training run I felt great. I even said that I wished the marathon would’ve been that day because of how good I felt. But, it wasn’t and I need to forget about that training run. Sometimes, when I start to get upset about how I didn’t make my 4:30, I think about that 20 miler and how smooth it was. But then I snap to reality. Twenty miles is not 26.2 and like I said before, those last 6.2 is the real race.

3. A goal is good but not the end all, be all of life. 

If you haven’t noticed, I’m super competitive. Not so much with other people, but more so with myself. For some reason, I don’t get upset or jealous when other people get better times than me. I actually get super stoked for them. Heck, my best running buddy is Salt and she’s super hardcore. I do however, get upset when I feel I could have done better. My husband has been getting on my case about how when people ask how I did on my marathon, I preface my response with, “Well, I didn’t meet my goal but…” Why do I do that? People don’t need to know my goal or that I didn’t make it. It doesn’t lessen the awesomeness that was my time. This is something I want to work on. Focus more on the positive and not get so down on myself when I don’t reach a goal–and in this case, it’s even more silly because I did reach my goal. I finished a freaking marathon!!

4. People who have run a marathon know what they’re talking about.

I love hearing about people’s marathon experiences. I learn so much getting different perspectives. I filter the information I want to keep of course 🙂 But one of the most common pieces of advice I got was to not start out fast. Time and time again, this always came up.

I felt like at the time I wasn’t starting out too fast but in retrospect, I definitely think I did.

I originally had a plan of starting with a 10:10 pace and taking that for the majority of the race. But at the start, I hooked up with the 4:25 pacer and the first 4 miles were more of the 9:45-50 pace. I was reminded about the inexperienced idea of wanting to “bank time” by my pal piratebobcat–it doesn’t work and don’t do it. I think this is something I’ll for sure take with me to my next marathon and what I would share to new marathoners.

5. Running is addicting. 

It was not even an hour post marathon that I was already thinking about the next one.

I’m not kidding when I said I was in super pain when I finished. I couldn’t even walk at the end. But there I was, thinking of when the most realistic time to run another marathon would be. Runners are a unique bunch. That’s all I really got to say about that.

6. Rest. Rest. and Rest.

I think I was still on the adrenaline of having finished a marathon that two days later I ran. And then I ran again. And then I ran again.

I felt okay and made sure I wasn’t go out too fast but I seemed to have forgotten that I had just ran a marathon!

I went to bed last night after a 5 mile run and told my husband, “I’m tired. Like really tired.” Saying those words out loud seemed to light up something in my head. Helly, you need to rest!! So, my running this week will be postponed. I’m resting these legs. I know they’re tired and I can feel them telling me they want a Spring Break.

7. Being a marathoner is pretty awesome. 

Yes, I’m one of those who bragged and showed off my medal any chance I could the week following the race. I wore my medal to sleep that first night and wore to the Wal-mart the next day. I wore it to the park. I wore it running errands. It didn’t come off at all that Sunday post-race 🙂

I love the look on people’s faces when you tell them you’ve run a marathon. I love that they think I’m crazy. I love that I’m in this unique club of people who enjoy doing things that are crazy.

You bet I will! :)

You bet I will! 🙂

Or I’ll probably just drop it in a conversation nonchalantly like it’s no big deal 😉

–What advice would you give a first-time marathoner?

–If you haven’t ran a marathon, would you? Why or why not?

–What are some things you’ve learned from a race (of any distance)?

Back on the Trail

It’s been one week since my first marathon and it’s crazy how soon you itch to run again.

I’ve forced myself to take it easy and probably should take it more easy–and I plan too.

This is what last week looked like:

Sunday: Rest and recovery
Monday: Rest and recover
Tuesday: 4 easy miles
Wednesday: Core work
Thursday: Hip, legs, and glute work
Friday: Rest and recovery
Saturday: 6 miles @ 9:30/mile
I made sure to ice, stretch and foam roll throughout the week as well.

Sunday, yesterday, I really wanted to head to the trails with my run club. There’s a place they like to frequent that has a 3 mile loop, a 7.5 mile loop, and a 10 mile loop. I figured if I was going to drive the 30 minutes to get there I should eliminate the 3 mile and do either the 7 or 10 to really enjoy it. Since it’d only been a week out from my marathon, I went with the 7.5.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. Perfect for a trail run. I was so excited!

All distances started together which I liked. A few of my buddies were doing the loop I was so I decided to hang out with them since I didn’t really know where I was going.

We took off and at about mile 3 reached this picturesque spot. Since it was my first time on this trail, I found it necessary to take a picture 🙂

and this is why I love trail running

and this is why I love trail running

We started to separate soon after this spot as people gained/lost speed. I hung around a friend with a similar pace for a while until we parted around mile 5.

I was on my own and just relishing the views and fresh air. There was a slight wind cooling me as I went and I couldn’t help but just soak everything in. No pressure about time, no pressure about anything.

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It made me really start to look forward for the Canyon in May.

It’d been years since I’d been trail running. In high school, a looong time ago, that was all we trained on. I’m from in-the-middle-of-nowhere Arizona, so we always ran in the desert. I loved it and when I moved to the city, didn’t make an effort to drive the distance to make it a trail.

But it was like I had never left. There is nothing like breathing in the fresh air and hearing the sounds of the desert 🙂

–Do you like trail running?
–Is there a place you especially like to run at?

 

The Next Big Thing

Well, there’s a few…

I’ve hinted at having some pretty awesome things coming up. My marathon was a big, big race but it was only the beginning 🙂

1. I’m finally going to see my family in Ohio. My mom, brother, and sister live in Ohio and it’s rare when we go visit them. Luckily, one of them manages to make it down here to Arizona–my sister not so often as she’s got her clan to travel with. My husband, Ben, was the one who suggested us making the trip up there this time and he had zero reservations from me 🙂 We’ll be heading out there in a few weeks and it just so happens to be right before my little girl’s 2nd birthday. So, she’ll be having her birthday party with her cousins; I’m we’re so excited!!

Of course, I thought about whether I could squeeze in a race while I was there. I found a local 5k close to my sister’s place and signed Ben and I up. My sister is a runner so it wasn’t too difficult to get her to join in as well. But guess what?? My non-running, 6’2, 280 lb brother signed up too!!!! This will be his first race and our first race all three of us have done together!! I’m so ridiculously pumped about this.

He texted me this yesterday: “3.5 mile fast walk done!”

I had the biggest smile all day from reading that.

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2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Madrid, Spain anyone?

Ben and I were looking at spring/early summer races and considering Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego in June. We looked at the website at what other RnR races there were around the time frame we wanted and we saw Madrid. What if we did something crazy like that? We are not very spontaneous people and doing things like just isn’t normal for us. But, we were in a moment and we decided to go for it! We’ll be taking a week long trip to Europe late April starting in Spain, then going to Italy, and going home from France.  I don’t think it’s fully registered that we’re doing this.

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3. Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim

Living in Arizona, going to the Grand Canyon is a must. I went with my family when I was 6 and don’t remember a thing 😦 It’s been on my to-do list for quite some time and when my run club told me they do a yearly hike in the canyon I jumped at the chance. There was a pretty long waiting list but after a few months of waiting, I made it!

I’d be doing it alone with my club though and hiking the canyon was something I would have loved doing with my husband. But, this was an opportunity I wasn’t sure I’d get again. The dates to hike are mid to late May and since I’ll be going back to work (more about that another time), those days are blackout days. I couldn’t pass this up.

So on May 17th I’ll be making a 23 mile hike down the canyon and then making a 25 mile return back up. Sounds like fun, right? I’m so freaking excited about this!!!

Now that my marathon is over, I’ll be doing a lot more trail running and branching out a little from my usual pavement/treadmill runs. I’m looking forward to doing different things and can’t wait for this challenge.

Want more info on this? Go here to read about this awesomeness that is Rim to Rim.

So there you have it! I have other races sprinkled in between, but these are the next big things 🙂

–What’s on your race radar?

–What are some cool races you’d want to do? (I still have quite a few things on my wish list lol!)