26.2 in 8 weeks
So I finished the race in New Orleans thinking wow, I am never, ever, EVER going to try a full 26.2 mile run, my GOD, no WAY—then two days after I got home I signed up for the Eugene marathon. Which is, um, in 8 weeks.
It’s a little hard to explain, but here’s my thinking:
• Right now, I’ve got about half the training done. If I look at one of Hal Higdon’s novice training plans, I can sort of put myself in Week 10. Now, I haven’t been consistently logging the weekday miles he recommends, nor have I been running that exact schedule of long runs, but . . . well, I’m close. If I want to check MARATHON off my life list—and I guess I do, otherwise what the HELL is this all about?—this seems like a good time to go for it, because I don’t have to start out at the beginning of a long training schedule.
• The bad news is it’s in 8 weeks. The good news is, it’s only eight weeks of hellish training, one big awful day, and it’s DONE. DOOOONE. I can finish training while the weather’s still cool, I don’t have to have this goal looming over my head for months on end (like if I chose the more sane date of the Portland marathon in October, say), I can do it and spend the summer on my bike and kickboxing and doing things other than running all the damn time.
• It’s in Eugene, where we have lots of family who will come out to cheer me on (or watch me die!). It’s a flat course. It shouldn’t be too hot, hopefully. I won’t have to fly anywhere or stay in a hotel.
If I was nervous about the half, I’m absolutely terrified about the full. Mostly because everyone who runs a marathon goes through hell, no matter what kind of shape they’re in. Wasn’t it Lance Fucking Armstrong who said his NYC marathon was the hardest physical challenge he’d ever done? Sure, he ran it in like three hours or whatever, but still. THIS IS GOING TO SUCK, A WHOLE LOT.
I’m not 100% sure I can pull it off, to be honest. I ran 15 miles a couple days ago and I was extremely slow and very sore afterwards. My knees, hips, and quads all registered complaints on a brand new level. I’m guessing my marathon time would be around 5 hours. It’s very, very hard to imagine running for two more hours past what I did on Friday.
Still, I’m going to give this a shot. When I started training for the half I couldn’t see myself running for 4 miles, much less 13. I’m trying to trust the training and remember how far I’ve come.
About that training. It isn’t going to be easy, not just from an oh-god-this-is-awful standpoint, but because of how time intensive it will be. Once I got in something close to a 13 mile run during my New Orleans training, I figured everything else was mostly gravy—if I missed a run here and there, no big deal. This is different, in that I can’t afford to slack because it’s going to take every single thing I’ve got in me and then some to finish those 26 miles. My longest training run will be 20 miles, so no matter what that feels like (presumably TERRIBLE) I won’t know what 21 will feel like. Or 22. Etc.
My plan to adapt the Higdon Novice 1 schedule as follows:
• Monday morning short run
• Wednesday morning sorta-long run
• Friday long run (these are my days home from work, and I will plan to have the kids in school during the first part of the day; the idea here is to minimize how much my training impacts our family life on the weekends)
• Saturday: light cross training of some kind
• Sunday: recovery short run
Yoga and stretching when I can do it.
It’s the same number of runs as the Higdon schedule, but not in the same order. I don’t know if that’s okay or not, but this is what I can do given the constraints of work/parenting/school/weekends I don’t want to sacrifice to the running gods/etc. I’ll be listening to my body and will back off and re-evaluate the goal if it seems like I’m heading towards injury, of course.
So . . . yeah, that’s the plan. Oh god! I’m totally freaked out just describing this to you. I don’t even really know what this is all about, except I can’t stop thinking of the possibility of actually finishing. Actually running a goddamned marathon. Can I really do this? I have no idea. But I’m going to try.
From those with experience, any advice for making the most of these 8 weeks is more than welcome!