Wednesday, March 16, 2011

marathon flashback ...

Three years ago today, I ran my first marathon - Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA. (Yes, I know I look strong. Trust me. It's an illusion.)

I was completely unprepared. I had only been running for seven months. I had never raced a half marathon. I knew nothing about nutrition. I didn't respect the distance. I was injured. It may have been the stupidest thing I have ever done as a runner.

Looking back on my training and comparing it to my current marathon cycle, all I can do is laugh. I can't believe I made it across that finish line. But, I did - in 5:06:36. And despite how horrific the experience was, I decided to try it again. And again. And again.

In 10 days, I will run National Marathon. Marathon number four for me. And honestly, the first one I feel truly prepared for. I am 100% relaxed. I feel confident that I can shave 30+ minutes off my current PR. And I know (not think) that my ultimate goal is completely attainable. I am excited and "taper madness" is nowhere in sight.

So, how did I get here? What was so different between that first training cycle and this one? Well, let's see.

For marathon #1, I ran four days a week and peaked at 36 miles.
For marathon #4, I ran five days a week and peaked at 60 miles.

For marathon #1, my long run peaked at 18 miles. And I ran that once.
For marathon #4, my long run peaked at 22 miles. And I ran 20 or more, three times.

For marathon # 1, my average training pace was 10:35.
For marathon # 4, my average training pace was 9:14.

For marathon # 1, I had seven months of running under my belt.
For marathon # 4, I have three years and eight months of running under my belt.

For marathon #1, I had no race experience. I had previously raced two 5Ks, one 8K and one 10K.
For marathon # 4, I have a lot of race experience. I have raced one three miler, seven 5Ks, one 4 miler, four 8Ks, seven 10Ks, one 15K, one 10 miler, one 17.75K, nine half marathons, three marathons and three sprint triathlons.

For marathon #1, I thought that 26.2 miles was ONLY 26.2 miles.
For marathon #4, I know that 26.2 miles can fly by or feel like an eternity. I know that A LOT can go wrong over that distance. Or everything can be perfect. I know that preparation is key, but sometimes, luck makes all the difference.

For marathon #1, I underestimated the mental strength and determination it takes to you run your best race.
For marathon #4, I know that my mental strength will be tested. I am ready for that test. And 10 days from now, I will prove it.

50 comments:

Little Miss Runshine said...

I love this flashback!
Good luck at the DC National!! I ran that last year!! :)
I definitely was a dork and went to check out the Real World DC house!!

Beachgirlrunning said...

You've come a long way!! Congrats!

MCM Mama said...

You are going to be amazing! I can't wait to see just how big your PR is!

HEATHER @ runfastermommy! said...

you are going to kick that races butt! Can't WAIT to hear about it! I'll be cheering you on from down here in SC!!! GO T GO!!!

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh I love this. Remember all of these things as you are racing on marathon day - they will carry you through and keep you mentally strong and positive. You will rock it. I am so excited!!!! I will be along the route cheering - make sure to post your race day outfit so I can find you :-)

Jogging with Fiction said...

This is awesome, it makes me think I'm on the right track for my marathon training this year. I am still slightly terrified, but excited! Good luck with #4!!

Carly said...

I'm started to get excited about this marathon for you. :-)

Erin said...

You are tougher now mentally than you ever were in the past. Parenthood does that to a person. You are going to do awesome!

Jen said...

Awesome memory. I cannot wait for your marathon recap (oh and a chance to meet you).

I hope I can have just as good of a memory after I have done my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Looking for do #2 and #3 this fall... #3 being Richmond.

BTW: my first marathon time 5:03... and I trained for 7 months. I did not respect the distance and the mental game totally got to me.

juddfam said...

Thanks for the insight. I'm preparing for my 1st, and I can see some similarities in things my preparation & your 1st! I can tell I've really got to try & prepare mentally.

BeePieRuns said...

You are so totally right about the marathon being a mental challenge and very dependent on your mental strength. I'll be doing #7 this fall and that's gonna be the hardest part - preparing mentally! Good luck to you and GREAT job on all your hard work!!

Michelle said...

Great flashback! You are going to do great - can't wait to hear about it!

Courtney said...

I know you're going to rock that marathon, T! :)

Kovas said...

Great comparison, amazing the progress even with the kids getting older!

Deanna@MilesToRun said...

I loved reading your comparisons. Amazing how far you've come over the past years. Good luck at your race! You will do awesome!

Mamarunsbarefoot said...

Ok WOW what a quad muscle you've got!!!!!!! Can I borrow those??

chloƫ. said...

I can relate to SO much of this! My first marathon was Shamrock last year (great race, btw), I was poorly trained, never ran a half, and finished in 5:13. You're definitely an inspiration that my time can get significantly better, with proper training and the correct mindset! So excited to do things WELL next time around, once I'm no longer pregnant. :) Any advice as to when to plan on no. 2 post pregnancy? I'm due May 4th, and can't wait to get back into racing and marathoning, but don't want to kill myself either!

Rachel McPhillips said...

That's awesome! You have come SO far. You are going to rock it!

Katie said...

You are goint to do GREAT at the National. I am running the National as my first and I am nervous, as my training has been similar to your first training expect I did two 20 milers (and I have been running for almost two years). I am really hoping that my first won't be horrible!

Marlene said...

GOOSEBUMPS!

You've soooo got this, T! Stay healthy and that finish line is YOURS.

Cat B. said...

Experience counts! Dont' underestimate the power of just 'been there...done that'
Good luck!

danny said...

FYI: Reason #4 you had no control over :)

Leah @ Chasing Atalanta said...

Good luck! Sounds like you're going to kill marathon #4!

Runners Fuel said...

Congrats in your improvments!!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

What a great first marathon photo!

This is a great comparison post. Those 10 days will fly by and you will be out there proving that you laid the ground work to have YOUR marathon. Yeah there will be others around you struggling, cheering and sweating but it's really your day and your race. I look forward to sharing in your biggest running victory to date!

Rachel said...

Hmm, can't decide how I feel now about National in 10 days. It's my first and I feel like respect the race. I only ran 20 once (missed a 21-miler because of sickness), but I did 18 and 19. We'll see. Slow and steady is my mantra for National. See you at the finish!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

10 days!! Go get it you are READY!! Believe and make it happen.. Enjoy that victory lap.

Meredith said...

Love this post! I'm beyond excited for my 1st 26.2 in June and have been reading Hal Higdon's, Marathon. Having a hard time telling myself my goal is to just finish and not have a time goal, but your post is helping. I have NO idea what to expect and I think I kind of need to be open to the possibility of all the many things that can happen. So excited to hear of you totally rocking your 4th marathon!

Stefanie D. said...

Good luck at National! You are going to kill it. I just know it. :) So you have the nicest looking quads I have ever seen. I can't stop staring.

SupermomE12 said...

You are going to do AWESOME!!! Doesn't it feel great to be going into a race so well prepared and trained and just primed to PR? My race is a few weeks behind yours but I feel so good about it.

Can't wait to see how much you smash your PR by!!! :)

irunyourun said...

If my schedule works out, I'll go cheer for you! I heard it's a tough marathon, not pretty (it goes through Anacostia, the most dangerous part of this area), but hope your experience is wonderful anyway!

Have you ran the MCM? Now THAT I HIGHLY recommend!

Emily said...

you've come a LONG way. super excited to see you rock national!! remember we need to do an outfit update so I know what to look for!

longlegsontheloose.com said...

I'm so excited for you!!! can't wait to see your finish with your kick ass time!

Elena (Running in Heels After Child) said...

I just ran my 4th marathon, I am not as smart as you, I think I was just as unprepared for my 4th as I was my 1st. I did over 20 miles for my long runs but I have not managed to up my weekly miles.

Hopefully I will get there for my 5th.

Best of luck on the marathon.

Happy Running,

Elena

Lindsey said...

Fab post!

Good luck for the marathon, though it looks like you won#t need it!

Lindsey

Aron said...

SO excited for you!!! You are going to absolutely smash your marathon :) cannot wait to read all about it!

Karen said...

I am pretty sure number four will be a much better experience! Good Luck!

Char said...

You are so ready for a PR. It'll still hurt but for less long than ever before.

Elizabeth said...

awesome post! and agree-awesome pic-you look great! can’t wait to hear about #4!!

Rae said...

You are going to do awesome! You are very prepared!

That would be totally awesome if you run the Presque Isle Half! I would love to meet you!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Anxious for you Tonia!! You have some so far which gives me hope. I love the comparisons between 1 & 4. My fav: how 26.2 can feel different depending on the day. With only 1 mary under my belt and #2 coming up in 2 months, I am well aware!!

Cynthia said...

Awesome! I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to read all about it.

Twila said...

You are so ready! You will do awesome.

I am running Virginia this weekend : )

Beth said...

There is just no comparison, really. Your progress and dedication are awesome!

Wells L said...

That was a GREAT post comparing your first with your most recent. That really taught me a few things by learning from your experience.

I almost didn't recognize you since marathon 1 photo was without knee socks . . .when did those come into the picture? SMILE!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i know i don't always comment, but truly reading over the last year has been soo fun to see your continued progression and definitely inspiring!

Samantha said...

Just found your blog and loving it so far. Good luck at National! I'll be there too (running the half).

Courtney @ I CAN DO THIS said...

Awesome post. I love this!!

Colleen said...

You've come a long way my dear! :)

TutuRunner said...

go tmb go! you're gonna rock it! i need to do one of these comparisons.... three years from now. =) it's incredible to see how far you've come in such a short time.