Marathon on the Horizon

I’ve written this post 1000 times in my head. I’m not sure which version is going to come out tonight, but getting it out there will be a big relief for me.

Training for a marathon the second time around is SO completely different from the first time.

There’s a lot of ways you can spin it. The ways going through my mind are:

#1: You’ve got one marathon under you belt with no time goal, let’s try to get faster and break 4 hours for the next one.

#2: You enjoy running, so just run with no time goal. Run for fun.

#3: Let fear of getting injured a second time around get in the way of running and defer your entry to next year.

I think I’ve got a mixture of all three going on now. At the beginning of marathon training, the goal was more similar to #1. I incorporated speed work, tempo runs, and I obsessively checked my pace on my Garmin.

couchnap

After about 4 weeks of that (the beginning of August, not even a third of the way finished with training) I could tell something was different. I blamed it on the heat and the humidity but honestly, I don’t know that I really like being a slave to my Garmin. Do I like having a goal to work toward? Yes. Do I love the feeling of a bust-your-ass workout?  Of course. But as the days turned into weeks, even though I saw improvement, I wasn’t in love with running this way.

earlyworkout

Some of the problem could be that I don’t really like my training plan this time. Another reason is that I can’t run on the treadmill. I know the treadmill has a bad rep, but it’s perfect for those days when it’s too dark or hot to get some miles in.

Mentally, I’m just not where I was last year. When it’s your first marathon, every week you’re reaching new PDR’s (personal distance records) and that’s exhilarating to see IF you can do it. Then when you do, you’re pretty freakin’ proud of yourself.

18miles

I would say training for a second marathon is above and beyond harder than training for your first. That’s my experience at least. I’ve toyed with the idea of not running the marathon because I’m afraid I’ll injure myself again. But.. I think that’s just a cop-out. I’m big fan of finishing what you start, so quitting really isn’t an option.

I was burnt out after racing the NYC Half Marathon this past March. I took 6 weeks off of running. SIX. WEEKS.

In that time though, I really got into weight-bearing exercise like circuit training. I’ve been a runner for 9 years; I want to explore what else my body can do.

The icing on the cake though was Brandon getting pneumonia 3 weeks ago. I did everything I could to not catch it. I didn’t end up catching it, but I did have some pretty crummy feeling days. All I wanted to do was come home from work and sleep or drink hot tea. Turns out I have an upper respiratory infection and it’s been making it hard for me to breathe.

When you can’t breath normally and drive to work, it makes running such a silly thing to think about. I am on antibiotics now and am feeling better but it’s really taken a toll on me over the past 2 weeks. I ran tonight for the first time since last week and it felt good to get out there again.

So, as it stands now, my mind is somewhere between  #1 and #2. Instead of racing the marathon to beat my time, I’m thinking I may just take my time and run with my friend that is running her first marathon that day. (Yay!)

I’m entering the last 6 weeks of training and while I can’t say I feel as ready as I did last year, I can say that this training cycle has taught me a lot about myself as a runner and as an individual.

Do what makes you happy. If you don’t like something, change it.

This post wasn’t meant to be all woe-is-me, but getting it out there always makes me feel better. With my lack of posting this time around, you can begin to see why.

The marathon distance is a distance to be respected. It can make you feel on top of the world or suck the life right out of you. I fully intend to give it 110% on October 28th, but what my 110% will be that day has yet to be determined.

I’ve always said a half marathon is the perfect distance… I think 2013 may be the year of half marathons!

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