Monday, December 30, 2013

Marathon Success: Week 28

My training is coming to a blessed close. I can't help to look back at Week 3 of training and remember that running 10 miles was a big deal. For each mile I conquered since those early weeks, I am so very thankful. Here's my recap of my first 21-miler. 

The Day Before 
• We are still organizing things at our new home so that's what I did pretty much the day before my longest run of the season. The kids and I had a great day! 
• My husband and I had a date the night before my run. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, 'sit somewhere.' I wasn't going to do any extra walking on my 'rest' day. We went out to eat and then we went somewhere else for dessert and more conversation. 
• When I got home I looked at the weather forecast and so I could get my clothes ready for the next day. I was excited about wearing a new hat (after Christmas sale!) and new water bottle. My Nathan belt was actually impeding my progress quite a bit. I was dropping my bottle several times and the velcro was wearing out. The belt also got too big for me so I couldn't wear it with 4 bottles because it would constantly fall. I know that's a great problem to have tough. 
Training Day
My alarm clock went off at 3:10 a.m. I set two alarms just to be sure I got up on time. Preparing everything the night before is a time saver! I had my traditional pre-running food and off I went to meet with my running group. 
We started at 4 a.m. which meant I was there 10 minutes before for our meeting. The coach usually goes over the route, gives announcements and off we went.
I decided to run my own race this time. I usually run with friends but because I felt like I was still recovering from some leg pain I decided to follow what I would most likely do on Marathon Day. 
I started feeling a bit of discomfort so I stopped and stretched. I think it worked cause I was able to go on without that much discomfort afterwards. This time instead of a huge loop we had a 10-mile loop and an 11-mile loop. When I got to the end of the 10-miler I was getting through the ups and downs of the sidewalk pretty well but I missed a last one and I fell. I fell on my side and I even screamed, which scared three runners who were in front of me. They were very helpful and checked on me. I was totally okay, especially when they said "we've all fell. The good thing is that you're all covered so, no scratches!" Couldn't agree more. There you have it friends: my first epic fall right in the middle of my 21-miler. I got up and walked to the nearest restroom. I know that I run happier if I'm comfortable. 
The second loop went by pretty quickly but I noticed that I slowed down a bit. The discomfort I was feeling pretty much disappeared. I credit that to the prayers that were going up for me: I looked at my watch and I noticed my friends were probably waking up and praying for me when I needed the most. 
When my phone's battery went down I was okay because of all the training I went through without earphones. I prayed, made a to-do list and spoke to whoever was passing me. When I was getting to mile 17 I made up a game (thanks for the idea MTA) that really helped pass time. I would add 1 point to every person I saw in the park. I gave myself 1 point to everyone who passed me and if they spoke back to me, I gave myself 2 points. I ended up with 52 points. Ha! Another thing I did was to practice visualization. I visualized myself finishing the Houston Marathon. I'm a believer that "you have to see there before you can go there." I saw myself training for this marathon 4 and a half years ago so I am a believer that if I can tell my mind that I can do it I most likely will.
I was really getting close to the end of the run but I was not there yet. That's when I saw a bunch of running club folk who had nothing but encouragement to give me. Thank God for them. Soon I was finishing up a 21-mile run feeling strong. Thanks be to God!
I thank God for giving me the health, endurance and ability to run 21miles for the first time. There were no medals, no t-shirt, no cheering crowds or loud music. More importantly, there was the assurance that I have completed most of the training for my first marathon. I posted this photo online shortly after I got home:
Now that we are done with a super long runs we go into something called 'Taper.' Tapering means that you are cutting down on the miles so your body can be rested and refreshed to run 26.2 miles.
I am very aware that my "natural" when enhanced with God's "super" brings about marvelous results. I am depending on Him every step of the way and I will not let go of my faith in Him to help me finish this journey.
I appreciate your prayers and I ask that you continue to pray that I will finish the Houston Marathon strong and injury-free. Have an amazing week!

Previously in this series:
Marathon Training Basics (Video)
Weeks 1-10
Weeks 14-20
Week 21
Week 22
Week 23
Week 25
Week 26
Week 27 

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