Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How To Go From a 10k to a Marathon in 8 Weeks (high level of stupidity required)

*this post is more for me so I can remember why I never want to a marathon again. You all will probably find it dull. No worries :) You can skip it.

Early November I thought it would be fun to run the Turkey Trot. I had only been running about 3 miles and I asked my sister to do it with me to help motivate me get up to a 6 mile run. The farthest I had ran in my life was 5 miles, before I had a kid, when I was training for a triathlon. The turkey trot was my pr for distance.

My Big Sis had finished her first half marathon with amazing success and said we should do a full marathon.

I told her no way.

I'd train for a half with her, but a full marathon was too much.

She didn't want to do another half because she had just finished it. Then she started in with her trade mark enthusiasm, contagious venom that it is.

So we scouted for marathons online. I refuse to race on Sunday so that nixed several races Part of this could be from watching Chariots of Fire too much in my impressionable years. Most of it is due to a fairly superstitious belief that I will absolutely die or get horribly injured if I do race on the sabbath.  I have absolutely no problem with anyone else racing on Sunday though. I fully admit to being crazy.

I wanted to do a race in March so my type A self could have plenty of time to follow a prescribed training plan.  Big Sis didn't want to think about a race for months. Our options narrowed down to one in Sedona or Surprise. We found the Desert Classic Marathon was on a Saturday, didn't require a hotel stay, didn't have hills, and the real deciding factor: $40.

I know it goes to charity and whatnot, but dude, the price of optional painful experiences is steep these days. $40 is a smokin' deal for a full marathon. So we signed up. Well I signed up. Big Sis was pretty dang close to bailing on me 4 weeks later, but by then I was committed enough to go solo.

So if you are feeling rather stupid, here is my training plan (not endorsed or recommended by anyone, including myself)

Each week go on one medium run 3-5 miles, one short speed run 2-3 miles, and one long distance run. Attend one yoga class (mandatory)

Week 1: Turkey Trot! Hooray for 6 miles

Week 2: 8 mile long run. How can I be ready to quit at 4 miles and feel the same amount of tired at 8?

Week 3: 10 mile run. So really this is all mental game. I thought my lungs were what would make me need to stop. Huh.

Week 4: 13 miles. Oh my Lord, I can't walk. I'm going to die on the marathon. My fall back plan was to walk if I needed to. I can't even walk right now. And maybe Christmas Eve wasn't the best day for this run.

Week 5: 15 miles. The only way I am even getting myself out the door on this run is to walk WHENEVER I feel like it.

Week 6: 18 miles: I should probably try and run more miles before a walk break, but I just can't motivate myself to. I really shouldn't have ditched yoga these last couple weeks.

Week 7: 20 mile run. God bless Tina Fey and her audio book Bossy Pants (she narrates it). I am now the jogger who is laughing to herself and scaring pedestrians. I can't believe I ran to my parents house and back. Well, I walked the last 2 miles (and plenty in between) because my left calf was feeling hot, like muscle strain hot. I blame my inconsistent yoga during Christmas time.

Week 8: Should have been a 10 mile run to start out the tapering. I felt I should rest the my calf more so I skipped it. It was liberating. Unofficial poll of friends and family says it is still an achievement to finish a marathon even if you have to walk parts of it. Finally got around to buying the new running shoes I meant to get 4 weeks ago. Freak out about them not being broken in.

Week 9: 8 mile run on Monday. Right calf started hurting. Total freak out for the marathon 5 days away. Late night internet research and a heart to heart with the good Lord have me set on trying a run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute idea. I vacillate between wanting to puke every time I think about the race and being giddy that I won't have to think about it anymore in a few days. I find out the course is only open 6 hrs instead of the 7 hrs I was banking on. 6 hrs was my goal to finish since I'm a slow runner so I had a total freak out. Thankfully I was still able to sign up for the early start which gave me full 7 hrs and the mental time cushion I needed.


It was still dark so we started running under the stars in the beautiful desert. The early start was extra awesome because it meant one less hour of running under the energy-sapping sun. I had a terrible stomach ache the day before and couldn't eat much. It didn't feel like a nervous stomach though, but I assumed it was. I felt nauseous the morning of the race so I didn't eat anything. I actually threw up at mile 6. Then I felt WAY better and happily ate a goo immediately after. The first 13 miles Big Sis and I stayed together. We cheered for people and talked and made friends and had a grand ole time. My calf felt a little hot at mile 8 but didn't get worse for the rest of the race. It started to get less fun at mile 16. Mile 20 it got down right painful. Mile 23 I tried to make myself push it a little. I failed. I ran solid from mile 24 on though. Mile 26 I could finally see the finish and picked up the pace. I'm not sure when my hips began punishing me for my craziness, but I'm still trying to get them back on my good side two days later. I'm still waddling like I'm 9 months pregnant. I also have a couple sweet bruises on my legs from some muscle tears. I felt super sick to my stomach after the race but figured it was because of my delicate blood sugar. Sunday I still went to church but didn't feel great, despite sleeping as much as possible. My stomach was still giving me grief. Ends up I had a mild fever. Now, I can't decide if the fever and whatnot was caused by the marathon or if I caught a bug and just wrote it off as nerves the entire time. I suppose it doesn't really matter.

Here are a few things I learned:

1) The first mile and last mile always suck, not matter how far you are running. Big Sis told me this and now I believe her. I think the first 2miles you run consecutively are the hardest in life. 

2) The metallic "I want to throw up" feeling you get when you start a running program does go away! You just have to keep running three days a week. It goes away about run #5.

3) It really is mental after 6ish miles. And by mental, I mean you muscles won't give out. Your lungs aren't heaving (if you run slow like me). It's your brain that gets tired of pushing. To overcome this, I recommend an awesome running buddy. Or some ACDC. Highway to Hell got me through mile 18.

4) I swear anyone can do it. If you think it would be cool to do, just go for it. You don't even have to like running. I never really did, just liked how I felt after. But I do give you fair warning, your body may get a little hooked on it.

Now I am going to go take yet another nap.


Emily Z said...

I'm super proud of you. Even though you say anyone can do it, I legit don't think I could. But, I have messed up hips and knees that killed me after just doing a 5k.

I will not blame you if you never do it again. :)

Marilyn said...

Wow Geneva, you did it! I'm amazed that you ran a marathon with such little training. I didn't know it was even possible. No wonder you've been so sore and sick. I've run only a half marathon and that was one of my hardest races ever. Maybe that's because I have runner's pride and wouldn't walk and wouldn't slow down my pace even though it was very hilly. I ran it in just over 2 hours though! Not sure I can come close to 4 hours on my first marathon. Anyway, congrats to you and amen to needing a running partner. Yea! Now you never have to go through it again!

Lauren said...

I really want to be able say I ran a marathon... but I'm not sure I actually WANT to run a marathon. You are awesome!

ACW said...

It's crazy, isn't it? I'm proud of us.

Daniel Quillen said...

They only paid you $40 to run in that silly race!? You should have held out for more....

Congrats on a great accomplishment.


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