A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Marathon Timeline

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...This is going to sound very strange, but I have never followed a strict "plan" when training for marathons. This is not to say I didn't train. I did. It just wasn't always very purposeful or thought out. Allow me to explain...

My first marathon was Harrisburg, 2006. I did most of my long runs with Team in Training and followed whatever long run schedule they used. As for mid week runs? I barely ran at all. I used the elliptical most mornings. Granted, I had a running base, so I was still able to do the weekend runs. I bet you are wondering why I eliptical-ed my way to the start line? I was afraid I would get sick of running! It is funny when I look back and of course I would not suggest this training method for ANYONE! I finished in 4:26:54.


Wet but happy! I was running a freaking marathon!
Yes, that's a cotton zip up hoodie...

After my first marathon, I was dead set on running another. I was a little bit hooked. I did the Keybank Vermont City Marathon in 2007 and the Flying Pig in 2008. I don't remember much of my training for these races. I definitely ran more this time and shaved about 34 minutes off my time. (Vermont was a 3:53 and Flying Pig was 3:56... but the course was long due to a fire so after they adjusted our times, I got a 3:53 again!) I didn't have goals for either of these races. I just wanted to finish.


This is the only picture of my running Vermont that exists! I'm in the blue. And I wore the race shirt on race day. THE HORROR!

Having fun at the Flying Pig!
I wore the race shirt on race day for this one, too! It's under my green long sleeve. I pitched that long sleeve. I still miss it. That was a nice color.

It was some point in the summer before Philly, 2008 that I decided I wanted to BQ. This would be my first official marathon goal. A lot of my running friends were attending organized speed sessions each week so I went too. I was a little skeptical that I would actually get faster, but after about six weeks, I did notice a difference! I ran Philly with no Garmin- just a pace band around my wrist. I knocked 15 minutes off my time by doing weekly speed sessions and BQ'ed with 64 seconds to spare!


My friend Chris and I just BQ'ed!
Yes, it hurt. There were cramps, tears, and THE WALL.

Boston was next, and the plan was to run with some friends and to run for FUN. I ran long on the weekends and short during the week. I didn't follow a set plan, but did the obligatory 20 miler about 3 weeks before the race. We ran a 4:25:32 in Boston by taking our grand old time, taking pictures and soaking it all in.


With my pals being silly at the top of Heartbreak Hill!

I ran Baltimore in 2009 with the same type of training I usually did... long on the weekend and whatever I felt like during the week. I had no goals for the race, but somehow clocked in at a 3:53... again!!!! This was my third 3:53 in 6 marathons! I really think 3:53 is my "la la la" marathon where I'm just running for fun, but not stopping to take pictures and being pokey like that.


I went to this race alone, so no pictures exist. Here's a picture of my medal instead!

After Baltimore, I went to the DARK SIDE..... TRAIL RUNNING!!!! I did a couple ultras and again I followed a training plan for the weekends. Lots of double runs- 20 milers on Saturday and 12 milers on Sunday. I vowed I would never run a road marathon again unless I wanted to qualify for Boston.

Crossing the finish line with my friend Anne at the Bull Run 50 miler. Can you believe I did not chafe at all from the waist pack?

In the summer of 2012, I overhauled my whole philosophy on food and exercise. I was getting into a disordered eating and exercise spiral. It was horrible and it started ruling my life. How did I make this huge overhaul? I started lifting. Lifting was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. By lifting more and running LESS, I got a lot faster! 

I still loved running and would do long runs on the weekend. I had a hilly 9 miler and a hilly 15 miler that I would do on alternating weekends. After running these routes for about a month and a half, I noticed I was getting significantly faster! One day when I ran the 15 miler, I had averaged 8 minute miles. Since it was really hilly and I was still hitting that pace, I realized I was probably in shape to PR in the marathon distance. I signed up for Harrisburg about a month before the race. I did a 20 miler at MP on the course 3 weeks before the race. I nailed it and even had more left in the tank. The stars aligned on race day, and I ran my current PR: 3:28:07.


Mile 24. GAME FACE!!!

I love this pic because my face is like, "Did I just do that!!!!!???"

About 2.5 months before Boston 2014, I had knee surgery. I was in no shape to race a marathon and I wasn't even sure if I was in shape to run a marathon! I trained to run/walk the thing and made it to the starting line feeling good. It was rough, but I had a great time, took pictures, hit the wall at Mile 11 (HAHAHAHA!) and made it to the finish line in 4:16:41.


Look who I met on the course! I had to take a picture to show my students! Certain things give an elementary teacher street cred. Running Boston? No. Meeting Big Bird? YES!

There you have it! 2014 was the last time I ran a marathon!

One thing I noticed while doing this short little marathon timeline, is not only did I never really follow a strict plan, but out of my 8 marathons, I only ever had a GOAL for two of them- and that goal was to PR/BQ. I still think it's funny I ran a 3:53 three times.

Via is up next, and this is the first time I am following a really strict PLAN, not just a weekend long run schedule. I love it! I love that my runs have a purpose. This will also be just the third marathon that I actually have a goal for. And once again that goal is big. Go big or go home!!!
Have you run any of these races?
Do you set a goal for every race?
Do you like following loose training plans or strict ones?
Did you ever run the exact time in more than one race?

25 comments:

  1. See wearing the race shirts wasn't THAT bad..lol.

    So cool that you ran Boston with friends and looks like you stuck together.

    For my first marathon I followed my training plan to a T. I actually over trained and I became injured. The second time around I didn't follow a plan and my PT said not to run more than 18 miles during training (since I already knew I could complete a marathon, the mental part was over). Well I didn't run more than 18 miles and on race day I hit that wall at mile 20. Still, I don't think I would change my plan to run more miles cus training went perfectly and I was not injured. I'd rather hit a wall on race day then train to much an be injured at the start. Okay, I guess I got a little off topic here!

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    1. No it's not! :) Boston w/ friends was awesome. We had a grand 'ol time.

      I definitely agree with you- I'd rather hit the wall early than over train and get injured! I guess we learn a lot from trying different training plans/methods and of course just getting out there running races. I am sure if you keep at it you will find a plan that works perfect for you that keeps you uninjured AND prolongs that horrible wall!

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  2. What a fun race journey!! Love that first picture of you in the hoody. I wouldn't have even recognized you if you didn't say that was you! I have the 3:53 monkey on my back. They were my last two BQs. Gotta get 3:50!!! Solid qualifier.
    I'm a pretty strict plan follower. I'm not sure how me and Hansons will be getting along this summer when I have other things going on and it will not be as easy to fit my runs in. I'm so used to shuffling workout days around.

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    1. I know I can't believe I wore a cotton hoodie. What a newb. :)

      Girl, you will get that 3:50!

      I am used to shuffling days as well. I am going to do my best not to, but I fear my 6 days in Colorado are going to force me to do some juggling.

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  3. That is an amazing Marathon Journey! Other than the times, which Marathon did you like best? What other things did you like about them?

    What made you switch to "The Dark Side"? and then, what made you come back?

    That big bird pic better had given you a serious Kid street cred! Do you have that picture in your classroom? I met 3 of the Wiggles... I just can't use that with anybody at work... they find the Wiggle creepy.

    I am a terrible plan follower, I really just do whatever Roger tells me to do. then he gets mad at me, because I don't do it exactly the way he tells me... like I always go faster, or longer than I'm told. More than once he has told me that he is giving up on helping me train.

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    1. The Flying Pig was a FUN marathon. Vermont had lots of spectators and an awesome finish line. I tell people to go up to VT and they won't be disappointed!

      So I had a lot of friends who loved trail running and Ultras, so that's how I got into it. I got out of the dark side when I stopped over exercising, lifting weights, eating better, and just getting FASTER. I wanted to BQ!

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  4. Yay for lifting more and running less! That's been the key to my "success"!

    I always follow a training plan for a marathon. It's just too scary of a distance for me to try and wing it. I do wing anything less than that, tho.

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    1. I understand! I just always had the philosophy that as long as I was able to complete my long runs, all was good. And obviously I didn't always have huge goals so really for most of them I just wanted to finish.

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  5. I still can't believe you used the elliptical as a key feature in your first marathon training plan! WOW! That gives me hope that when I'm 90 years young that I will still be able to train for marathons! :D After the NYC Marathon last year I saw a pic of an older woman (I think in her 80s) cross the finish line and get a kiss from her husband. It made me cry and I just want that to be me and Adam so much! #MarathonGoals

    Now that you are following a strict plan I bet you will surprise yourself and run a 2:59 or something!!!! :)

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    1. That would have made me cry too!! I know the elliptical thing is so crazy. :)

      Hmmm highly doubt the 2:59!!! ;)

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  6. I love reading about your journey and I love how far you have come! I can really relate to the exercise addiction part of your story. It's such a dark and lonely place and I am so happy we have both come out of it to a much healthier life! It's interesting how you have hit those similar times w/ very different approaches. I think if I were going to run a race I would need a plan that had flexibility build in. I really like being able to make a "game day" decision on my training based on how I feel. This week, for instance, cycling has been calling to me so it's trumped running a few days. And the weights....ah yes! Weight training has become such a passion of mine this past year (I always did some but just minimally).

    P.S. Absolutely love your running attire! Obviously you are a natural runner who can kick ass w/ out a ton of training and you can do it wearing cotton!! LOL.

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    1. I will never wear cotton again!!! :)

      I am glad you are passionate about weight training. I firmly believe it's one of the best things women can do and not enough people do it. Or they don't do it correctly. I try not to be judge-y but sometimes when I see the "weight" workouts people post I think about they could get a much more QUALITY workout than what they are doing if they were doing the right exercises- and it's not like it would take a lot of time.

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  7. That's crazy about the 3:53. WEIRD. I can't believe you didn't chaff from that waist pack. That's a miracle. I also pitched one of my favourite race shirts! It was just so hot and I had no choice. :( So sad.

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    1. I knew you would have something to say about the waist pack! I used to never ever chafe but now I will chafe from the tiniest things.

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  8. No plan...I couldn't do it! And running 50 with that waist pack?! You really have some good juju on your side to not chafe! I would have a raw ring around my midsection if I tried that!!

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    1. If I tried that now I would have a chafe ring too!!! I don't know what the heck I was thinking. Oh, to be young and carefree again...

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  9. LOL...literally my first thought when I saw the ultra pic was "didn't you chafe?!"

    I love that your "la la la" time is sub-4. If I didn't know you and love you, I'd hate you haha. But in a good, jealous, running-inspirational way!

    I love the pictures from your first couple marathons. Times sure have changed! No more cotton hoodies and race shirts for you!

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    1. HAHA that is the first thought when I saw it as well. What was I thinking? I used to never chafe. Now I will chafe just from LOOKING at that picture.

      I am sorry I didn't mean to insinuate anything about being able to run a sub 4. I mean, it wasn't EASY, running a marathon never is, but I hope I didn't come off badly by saying that. Glad you still love me. :)

      Yes I was certainly a newb in the old pics! I like that! I didn't even own a Garmin until 2013. I borrowed from a friend when I ran my PR at Harrisburg in 2012.

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  10. Your marathon story is so awesome! I love that you ran ultras and swore to not run road marathons anymore. I can totally understand that. I love trail races and road marathons definitely take a lot out of you. I tend to follow loose training plans, but not this next time! I actually ran two half marathons within two seconds of each other. Pretty consistent!

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    1. Woah, that is VERY consistent! Way to BE!

      I made that sweeping statement about road marathons a long time ago... now that I am older, I have realized there has got to be "seasons" to my running. I'll be into roads, then I'll be into trails, I'll be into long distances and then short distances... it's all good, life is long!

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  11. I loved reading about your marathon history! I bet you will see a huge success with following a plan (as long we you listen to your body too!!)

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  12. That is wild you ran 3:53 so many times!
    3:28 is amazing Megan :)
    I have told Hanna before anyone in the sub 4 group of marathoners is truly a pretty gifted amazing runner! A lot of people can finish one but not many can do it so fast, sub 3:30 is even more elite :)
    I hope this training take you a new PR! but even if it doesn't still remember you are already amazing, so everything else is frosting on the cake.

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    1. oh and i love the way you chronicled that :) good read!

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    2. Thank you Karen! I am pretty proud of my 3:28. :) I just hope I can bang it out again! Although you know what I am proud any time I finish a freaking marathon whether it's 3+ hours or 4+ hours because no matter what they are HARD!!!!!!

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