Planning to train for a marathon

I know that training for a marathon will be exhausting. But planning the training makes me want to puke.

A week after registering for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, I slipped on the ice and threw out my back. I finally got permission to start running 1-2 miles a couple times a week and then Friday I slipped on the slushy snow as I was getting into my car and sort of tweaked my left ankle/calf/IT band/leg/etc.

CAN A GIRL CATCH A BREAK?!

Tonight I mapped out my training plan, starting with October 7, and working backwards for 30 weeks. I am merging three different Hal Higdon plans.

I have also realized that I can’t safely train for the Wisconsin Half Marathon in May, as I was planning to do, so I’m pushing back my first half marathon of 2012 to the Summerfest Rock ‘n’ Sole (Plus, the week before, I’ll run the equivalent of a half marathon during Ragnar).

Then, in July it’s the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon… followed by possibly the Madison Mini Marathon in August.

Enter the most hellish month of my life ever:

Followed by a marathon and epic rest week. #dontdie

I can’t be the only person who freaks out and requires insane planning before a race… What do you do to plan for a race?

Decisions are hard

It would be so much easier to let someone else make decisions for me. Decisions are hard. Sometimes I have deep heart-to-hearts with myself. Sometimes I talk things out with a friend. I always pray for guidance. But no matter how you go about it, actually pulling the trigger on a decision is scary!

And so, I sit here at a cross roads.

Do I do it? Do I give up on it all together? Do I put it off?

And after a lot of soul searching, praying and talking things out with a close friend, I’ve made a decision. I’ve said it out loud and I’m surprisingly at peace with my decision.

And yet, I’m still hesitating pulling the trigger and making it public to family, friends and the Internets.

Here goes.

I have decided not to do the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon this year.

I’m just not where I want to be physically, to even consider doing a marathon in less than 10 months. It would be different if I wasn’t 80lbs overweight. It would be different if I wasn’t just now building myself back up to running a 5k distance without stopping to walk. It would be different if I wasn’t recovering from a nasty bout with plantar fasciitis and dealing with a pesky knee that decided to start acting up this week. It would be different if I had been injury-free for the past year and ran the two half-marathons and countless 5ks I registered for.

The deck has been stacked against me. And I’ve got to play with the hand I’ve been dealt.

There is a very good chance that when I do run Lakefront, that it will be the only marathon I ever do. I don’t want to half-ass it. I want to run the hell out of that race. I don’t want to be satisfied with finishing before they close the course. I want to have a time goal and I want to beat it. I want to be smart. I want to train smart so I can run smart.

So I’m giving myself another year. Honestly, the thought of doing Lakefront was starting to give me stomach problems and panic attacks. If I was closer to my goal weight, I wouldn’t be doing this. I know that even at my current size, if I followed a training plan, I could do the race. I just don’t think it would be a good experience. The toll running that far during training would take on my body – my knees, ankles and feet especially – could possibly affect future fitness goals. I need to drop more weight before I should train for something as big as a marathon.

So, 2011 will be a year focused on having fun, working hard and losing weight. Oh, and there’ll be a couple of half marathons and maybe an extreme/adventure race thrown in there.

And, as long as there isn’t an apocalypse, I’ll run the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in 2012.

Spirit of the Marathon movie fundraiser

Have you heard the hype surrounding the upcoming Lakefront and Chicago marathons? Here’s your chance to learn more about marathons, while enjoying a movie and helping a group of local runners raising money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Team Challenge of Wisconsin presents a special screening of Spirit of the Marathon, “The first film to capture the story, drama and ultimate essence of the legendary 26.2 mile running event. As six unique stories unfold, each runner prepares for and ultimately faces the challenge of the Chicago Marathon. More than a sports movie, Spirit of the Marathon is an inspirational journey of perseverance and personal triumph; a spectacle that will be embraced by runners and non-runners alike.”

What: Spirit of the Marathon movie fundraiser
When: Saturday, October 16th at noon
Where: Times Cinema, 5906 W. Vliet Street in Milwaukee [Google] [mapquest]
Tickets: $20 in advance or $25 at the door (includes movie, soda and popcorn)

Click here to purchase your tickets now!

Watch the trailer:

Do as I say, not as I do

I’ve been struggling with something for awhile now and I can’t keep it bottled up anymore. I’ve tried to be upbeat and positive about this whole sprained foot fiasco. Oh wait, you don’t know about this do you?

Yeah, that’s right. I never blogged about it. Why? Well, I kept putting it off… and off… and off… until I started getting bitter today about he whole thing. Sure, I tweeted about it and made posts on DailyMile, but I never really blogged about how it made me feel. Here goes.

I was scared.

My left foot pain is getting worse, not better. I’m so scared something is wrong that will knock me out of training for Napa. Please send some healing thoughts/prayers my way. Pretty sure I’ll be going to the doctor today. 🙁

I was relieved.

FOOT UPDATE: It’s a sprain of sorts. I have to take it easy and I should be able to still run/walk the Wine Country Half Marathon. Basically, taper is starting a week early. 🙁

I was sad.

feeling like I won’t get to RUN a 5k… ever. #jth says I can jog or walk SLOWLY on thurs. #fitmke #sadmke

I was bitter.

all of you running the storm the bastille tomorrow can suck it.#bitter #sadface #norunningtilnapa

Last month, I had to “take it easy” for the Great Milwaukee Race. I wasn’t supposed to run. But, I didn’t want to let my teammates down so I ran a bit (this was before I knew the foot was sprained). Then I had my long build-up run/walks for training for the half marathon. I did 8 miles… then almost 9… then just over 10 miles. All on a sprained foot. Yep. I am pretty badass. Or stubborn. One of the two.

Luckily, the diagnosis came a week before my taper was to begin, so instead of doing my last long run/walk of 12 miles… I started taking it easy and tapering back early. On the one hand, awesome. On the other, crap.

I had a “come to Jesus” conversation with my trainer via text message the day I went to the doctor. Here’s how it went:

Me: This sucks.

John: Why? It will be fine!

Me: Because I want to do it all 🙁

John: U will just not this week, u wanna be fit for life, not just a couple of months, right?

Me: Yeah. You’re right. I know I need to listen I just don’t want to. Haven’t had an “easy” week since I began training for the half

John: That could be part of the reason u are hurt at the moment.

Me: Prolly. Guess I’m just afraid of going back to my old routine of nothing. Know what I mean?

John: I will drag ur punk ass out of ur house and make u workout if u do!

Me: Deal.

I have tried to accept the fact that I had to stop running. I have tried to accept the fact that I had to drop out of a 5k two weeks ago. I have tried (and failed) to accept the fact that I can’t run the Storm the Bastille 5k tomorrow. This race is especially hard for me to miss because back when I decided to start this journey, my goal race was to run the Storm the Bastille on July 8. Sure, I am freaking doing a half marathon next week, but I can’t help but feel like a complete failure. My one, measly goal – Run the Storm the Bastille – #amyfail. Yes, my goals have changed. I can do 3.1 miles in my sleep. But I haven’t actually RAN a full 5k yet. This has been a psychological barrier for me and I have been eagerly anticipating the chance to show myself I can RUN a 5k.

Then there’s this whole all-these-people-donated-money-for-charity-because-I-said-I-would-do-a-half-marathon-and-I-went-and-overdid-things-and-may-have-put-the-whole-race-at-risk factor. Yup. I’m doing this whole get healthy journey for me. And I am worried about what my family and friends will think if I fail miserably next weekend. When I started training, my goal was to be at a solid 15 minute mile pace (4mph). I’m quite certain if I was able to run more, I would have no problem maintaining this pace. However, due to all of my training setbacks (including the knee problems a few months ago), I have been logging a solid 16:30-17:30 walking pace. So now, my new time goal is in the 3:30-4:00 range. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others… but I have friends who are in the sub-4:00 MARATHON time range. And I’m just praying I can do a sub-4:00 HALF MARATHON. It’s a kick to the ol’ ego, that’s for sure.

I need to stop putting myself through this, but I can’t help it. There was a time (just months ago), where I couldn’t understand why some of my friends were working out ALL the time. They were running 7-8 miles FOR FUN. My idea of a good time was ordering a pizza, drinking a 6-pack of beer and watching basic cable Law & Order: SVU marathons. My idea of a good time was certainly not training for a HALF MARATHON. SVU Marathons are much more entertaining.  Now, ordering a pizza, drinking beer and watching SVU Marathons is still high on my list of fun times… but the times I’ve been able to run – actually RUN – I can’t describe the feeling as anything short of euphoric. It’s amazing what the human body is capable of. And I know mine is capable of running.

I know I need to listen to my trainer, my coach, my doctors… but I can’t help feeling like I’m a failure. I feel like giving up. I feel like putting on my fat pants. I feel like burying my sorrow in peanut butter M&Ms, fruity cocktails, microbrews, high-carb, high-fat meals… (and trust me, I have done this in recent weeks). But I know that is giving in. I can’t fall back to the old Amy. I can’t let the old fat girl win. The new fat girl is so much more fun. She feels better. She can walk up flights of stairs without losing her breath. She is 10 days away from completing a half marathon (at 250 lbs, none the less). She needs to get over herself, put on her big-girl underwear and stop being such a baby.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… don’t be stupid like I’ve been. Be smart. Accept your setbacks. Grow a pair.

Someday, that will be me

I went with some of my DailyMile/FitMilwaukee/Twitter friends down to Kenosha early Saturday morning to cheer on the bazillion people I knew who were running either the half or full marathon.

I can’t adequately put into words what Saturday was for me. I saw friends complete their longest runs ever. I saw my friends triumph. I saw children looking at their parents with such awe, you’d swear they thought mommy or daddy was a superhero. I cried watching people I didn’t even know cross the finish line. I cried when my friends turned the corner for the last 30 yards to the finish. I cheered for people who struggled to finish the race. I cheered for people successfully completing their races. But most importantly, I saw what hard work and determination can produce. I could see on all my friends’ faces the pure euphoria they enjoyed when they finished the race. I’m no where near the end of my own personal race. But, step by step, race by race, pound by pound, inch by inch, I’ll get there. I’ll cross that finish line. And I’ll be thinking of how lucky I am to have people in my life who pushed me to finish this journey to a new me.

And now, a few shout-outs:

  • Krista, the way you run looks effortless. It looked like just a quick jaunt in the park for you. You are going to be absolutely fabulous at your upcoming races. You inspire me.
  • Tracey, you are a rockstar. You came floating down to the finish line with such a beautiful smile on your face. The fact that you didn’t even look tired is baffling to me. I can’t wait to cheer you on in Rockford! You inspire me.
  • Rochelle, I am so proud of you for rocking this half marathon. You’ve bounced back from your knee injury and showed that setbacks won’t keep you down. You inspire me.
  • Anne, I know I’ve told you this a million times, but you are such an inspiration. Your journey, your story, pushes me. I know that if you can run half marathons for fun after having been overweight, that one day that WILL be me. You make me want to push harder, go faster and be a rockstar. Because that’s what you are. You didn’t let your knee injury take you out. You showed it who’s boss. #lovefest You inspire me.
  • Sarah, I am so freaking proud of you. You bolted down to the finish line like a fiend. Your focus, your determination and your drive make me feel fortunate to call you a friend. You inspire me.
  • Cheryl, you were so determined to finish strong and I’m so proud of you for that! You are setting such a great example for your kids. They’re lucky to have a mom who’s so dedicated to staying fit! You inspire me.
  • Tony, you finished so strong! I know you’ll do many more of these in the coming years. You and Rochelle are so lucky to share something like this! It was great hanging out with you today. You inspire me.
  • Lindsey, I could see the pain in your face as you turned the corner. I admire your determination and the fact that YOU DIDN’T GIVE UP. You finished what you started, and even though you didn’t get the time you wanted, you finished with a great time. Didn’t you JUST start running like 3 days ago? 😉 Take care of your knee and rock it at your next half. You inspire me.
  • Marty, I am so lucky to call you a friend. Your determination, your speed and your smile at the end of the race were so inspiring. I’m so proud of you for crossing that finish line and showing it who’s boss. You inspire me.
  • Mike, your smile at the end of the marathon was infectious. You looked so happy and so proud of yourself for what you were about to complete. I’m so proud of you for rocking this race. Your hard work paid off and now you’re a marathoner! Your journey encourages me to push myself to one day run 26.2 miles. You inspire me.

The people listed above (plus the ones I know I’ve forgotten – Joe, Erica, Matt, etc) showed me what is possible if you work hard. For some, it was their first long race. They made the race their bitch. I’m lucky to call these people my friends. Seriously, I thank God I have them in my life – to inspire, to push, to encourage.

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