Marathon Week

Hey y’all!  Wow, where has the time gone?  It seems like just yesterday that I was signing up for the Flying Pig Marathon and making it known to the world that I was going to begin my quest to finish 26.2 miles.  Ideally I would have liked to have blogged the entire process.  I know that personally I would have loved to be able to look back and see all of my thoughts on my training and just the process in general.  But unfortunately life got in the way.  I know that is no excuse but I began a new job teaching 11th grade and I just didn’t feel like sitting down to type out my thoughts.  Not that anyone cares about my marathon training but I still wish I had actually blogged about it.

Regardless, here I am.  Just three days away from a marathon.  It is mind blowing to think that this day is finally here.  I always said I would never do a marathon, but I’m glad that I will (hopefully) be able to say that I’ve completed one just once in my life.  I know that it is impossible to sum up so many weeks of training in one blog post, but I’m going to share with you some of the highlights of training.  Please excuse the random pictures I throw in here with captions explaining what aspect of training I was in.  Consider it a photo journal.

getting in a group run with some of the KTC team

getting in a group run with some of the KTC team

taking our long run to the mountains on MLK JR. Day

taking our long run to the mountains on MLK JR. Day

I loved eating a banana and a recovery shake after tough long runs.

I loved eating a banana and a recovery shake after tough long runs.

Bryan was my “coach” so to speak and kept me up to date with what I should be doing and what kind of miles I should be logging.  I was able to do most of my long runs on Saturday mornings with the Knoxville Track Club which was great because it kept me accountable and gave me some company.  Most of my long runs were done at a run/walk interval where I would run for 5 minutes and walk for 1.5 minutes.  This was so helpful to me in terms of getting it done both mentally and physically.

Saturday morning group runs

Saturday morning group runs

Thankful to have my friend Kaycee along for many of my runs

Thankful to have my friend Kaycee along for many of my runs

I was able to get most of my mid week runs on our school’s campus since it has a 1.5 mile loop around it. That was fun and there were even times when kids would take pictures of me out the window of the school and put it on social media with captions such as “Ms. Godfrey is escaping” which was always fun to come back to.  Marathon training allowed me to be a healthy role model to my students.  There was also a period of time where we had terrible snow storms (terrible for Tennessee, anyway) and our school was shut down for more than 2 weeks.  That made it hard to run at all since there was about 10 inches of snow on the ground and no power.  But hey, life happens.

Still getting in some miles during a major snow week

Still getting in some miles during a major snow week

My longest run was supposed to be 20 miles but I never made it there.  I ended up doing four 16 milers.  The first two 16 milers were amazing and I did them solo.  The weather was perfect for them and I kept a good pace then entire time.  Of course the last couple of miles really hurt and my run/walk intervals started spacing out as I added in even more walk breaks but I was still able to do them.  I learned when to take gels and when not to take gels.  I learned that you can never have too much Body Glide and that sometimes major debilitating chafing has to occur before you learn that lesson.  I learned that I have an awesome support system.  My sweet Momma got in her car and followed me at various points during one 16 milers.  She took photos of me, brought me water, cheered for me, gave me new pieces of gum, and just kept an eye on me.  My friend Lindsay sent me an awesome care package that had some cute socks and a new marathon shirt in it.  I’ve just felt so much love during this long process of training.

Major salt deposits were usually on my face after runs.

Major salt deposits were usually on my face after runs.

Major chafing.  You have no idea how much this hurt

Major chafing. You have no idea how much this hurt

Elation after completing my first 16 miler solo.

Elation after completing my first 16 miler solo.

I’ll be completely honest and say that I probably won’t ever do another marathon.  The training has burned me out and I started feeling mentally defeated several weeks ago.  I don’t look forward to my long runs because they are so long.  Here’s something funny: I read in so many books and magazines that you gain weight while marathon training.  I read it all as blah blah blah blah because I sincerely thought I was going to be *that* person who loses weight while training.   Combine that with a brand new job and other life changes and I totally failed at that.  I’ve gained several pounds during training and some of my clothes don’t even fit.  I won’t blame marathon training and I’ll save my weight struggles for another post but let’s just say this cycle has slimmed me down any.

I enjoyed using races for long runs if it fit in my schedule

I enjoyed using races for long runs if it fit in my schedule

Something else I had to get used to was slowing down.  It devastated me to do slow midweek runs and I was constantly complaining to Bryan about how slow I had gotten but he had to continually remind me that after the marathon was over that I could focus on speed and short distance again.  I can’t wait for that to happen because I’m so sick of long and slow miles.

I would like to say that I’m confident going into marathon weekend.  I’ve definitely skipped some runs and there were times that my runs were a failure and had to walk the majority of them. It happens.  I’m comfortable saying that I completed about 85% of what Bryan asked me to do.  If all else fails, then I can walk it. They are predicting hot weather and the Flying Pig directors have added water stops to where there will now be water available every single mile of the race.  My biggest fear is severe cramping or muscle fatigue and getting sick.  My belly doesn’t respond well to long distance especially when I”m fueling with gel so I often experience terrible stomach pain.  There were some Saturdays where I spent the remainder of the day in bed thanks to stomach issues.  Let’s be positive and pray that this is not an issue on race day.  I’m thankful to have my mother going with me to cheer me on at the race.  No one is more proud of me than she is.

You can sign up for text alerts from the Flying Pig website if you want. I would love to have some virtual cheers and good vibes my way.  Realistically, I think I will finish in around 6 hours.  It could be more and it could be less.  My only goal is to finish the race and that’s what I intend on doing.

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10 thoughts on “Marathon Week

  1. Hiiii! Welcome back to the blogging world. I missed you.

    Second, don’t feel too down on yourself. Marathon training is HARD. A lot of the challenge is mental. I have SO much faith in you. You’ll get across the finish line. You’re too determined not to. I think the run/walk method you’re using is a great plan, and if I ever trained for a marathon again, I would use a similar method. One suggestion I have is to run the 1st mile and/or set your run/walk interval to something that makes it difficult to do the mental math so you have to listen to your watch to know when to run/walk.

    Finally, this is a big freaking deal, and it’s a huge challenge, but you’ve done the hard work. You know how to push through pain. I wish I could just reach through the screen and give you a high five and a hug to cheer you up. You’ve got this!!!!

  2. I am so excited for you!!! I remember training for my first marathon and feeling the exact same way toward the end. In fact, I still feel burned out and ready to do short stuff at the end of every training cycle (8 times over!). It is very normal!! I hope you have so.much.fun. on race day and you savor the finish! Good luck!!!

  3. You got this girl! I had plenty of the same emotions/feelings/experiences when training for my first marathon. There truly is nothing like your first marathon experience. Just remember to trust your training and to enjoy it. You’ve put so much time and work into it, you should enjoy the result. It’s cheesy, but all the hard work is done…training…now you get to the good part, the race! I know it’s too late to try now, but did you ever try the salt tablets? I’ll be rooting for you via social media and in my thoughts! I can’t wait to read your recap! xoxo, ganeeban

  4. Oh this is so exciting! Your first marathon is something you’ll always remember! Just try to enjoy it as much as possible, even the sucky parts! Nothing can prepare you for those last 6.2 miles so just know it’s going to be terrible, but you’re a champion and you’ll make it through. It makes crossing the finish line that much sweeter. During the last mile, soak it all in. That’s when you move from “runner” to “marathoner”! Congrats on all your hard work!!!!!!

  5. I’m so excited to read this post and can’t wait to read about how it goes! Something tells me you’ll be awesome! Wishing you all the best this weekend…and an extra wish for cooler weather. 🙂

  6. Hey there! Good luck this weekend!! I am a Cincinnati resident and am doing the half Sunday. Originally I wanted to do the full, but winter! I didn’t make it through winter. 🙂 So good for you! It sounds like your training has been great, or at least has you well prepared. And since you live near mountains I hope the hills won’t be a big deal! 🙂

    By the way, I found your blog because you liked a pig illustration I did and my painted nails on Instagram. Ah social media.

    Anyway. My first marathon was Columbus. And I remember someone telling me before the race: Pain is temporary, pride is forever. That phrase gets around. But it really was true on race day. I wish you the best of luck and am excited for you! Running a marathon is pretty amazing.

    – Steph

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