The Takeover

This week officially kicks off my marathon training program. From now until December 13, I will be running more than I ever have, and I am excited to have finally started this 16 week party!

I’m feeling pretty good as I begin training. I maintained a solid base this summer and I have been really healthy (knock on wood). I got my miles in early last week so that I could take a mini-break this weekend before running takes over my life. While I was visiting my best friend in Portland, OR over the weekend, I went hiking instead of running. There were some pretty spectacular views along the way!

I traded running for hiking along the Oregon coast last weekend

I traded running for hiking along the Oregon coast last weekend

As far my training program goes, I researched many plans and then chose one specifically geared toward first-time marathoners. I intend to follow it for the most part. The biggest change I made to the plan was how far my longest run will take me. While the original plan recommended doing three 20 mile runs before race day, my longest run will likely be in the 22-24 mile range. The reason: I know that I would have extreme anxiety getting to mile 20 on race day and think to myself, “I still have a 10K to go and I’ve not done a step longer than this in the past.” For my own sanity, a 22 or 24 mile run is necessary. I am well aware of arguments against this, but I just have to go with my gut on this one!

I also have a few other races mixed in to help me get through some of those long runs. This weekend I am doing The Atl 20K.

My main goal for my first marathon is just to finish. Depending on how I feel on race day, I have two targets in mind for a finish time – one for if I am feeling pretty good, the other if I happen to feel fantastic.

I’m open to any and all marathon tips for first timers! Leave a comment, or send me a tweet!

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Ready to Live, Love, Run as a J&A Racing Ambassador!

There is some news I’ve been dying to share for about two weeks now… I have been selected as a member of the 2014/2015 J&A Racing Ambassador Team!

J&A Racing is a road race company based in Virginia Beach, which just so happens to be my hometown. They put on several great races every year, one of which is my favorite race of all time… the Shamrock Marathon & Half Marathon.

Smiling at the 2011 Shamrock Half Marathon

Smiling at the 2011 Shamrock Half Marathon

My first experience with J&A was in 2011. I picked Shamrock as my first half marathon because it was flat and would be a great reason to visit the family. Little did I know what a fabulous time I would have conquering 13.1 miles on that course!

From the expo to the actual race to the post-race party, everything about this experience was a blast! I found the entire weekend to be extremely well organized and there were a lot of great little details to enjoy throughout the event. This course features awesome crowd support, a finish on the boardwalk, and TONS of swag. I can’t say enough about it… J&A Racing treats runners right!

Then in 2012, I ran the Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler (which will be a nighttime 5 miler this year). Same thing – very fun and festive! I even brought my sister along for the ride – she ran her first 5K.

Me and my sister, Surf-n-Santa 2012 finishers

Me and my sister, Surf-n-Santa 2012 finishers

I was planning on returning to Shamrock in 2015 regardless, but I am so excited to do so as a racing ambassador! I’m adding the Surf-n-Santa to this year’s race lineup as well. You’ll hear much more about J&A events in the coming year!

Terrible picture of me, but so happy after finishing my first half in 2011!

Terrible picture of me, but so happy after finishing my first half in 2011!

Consider Yourself Judged

I recently celebrated my 33rd birthday. One of my lovely gifts was a two-year subscription to Runner’s World from my sister. She notified me of the gift with the following note:

“Congrats! You get to read about running for TWO WHOLE YEARS!!… You’ll think of me each time there’s an article about how to keep toenails from falling off.”

My sister then informed me that she believes toenail salvation is the only topic running publications write about. I had a good laugh over this, but then started thinking: what else do non-runners really think of runners?

I decided to do an informal survey of family, friends, and co-workers. (A few of them were all too eager to share their opinions…) Some of the comments will make you laugh, some will make you cringe, but all of them have some element of truth to them. Here are some of the responses I received:

“NEVER ask a runner if they are ‘going for a jog’. You may as well have called them a retard. ‘I don’t jog…I RUN.'” 

“God forbid you go 24 hours WITHOUT running. If this happens, just keep your batsh*t crazy @ss away from me. You’re the equivalent of a heroin addict… and I ain’t sellin’.”

“Well there are the runners who are really only doing a trot/walk but think moving their arms like a runner makes it officially running. Skinny running girls who have fabulous posture and bouncy ponytails with absolutely no speed… The blowfish – usually older, out of shape males with puffy cheeks while breathing. But hey at least they are out there trying!”

“Men’s shorts are WAY too short. Complete ball-busters in my opinion. Oh, and when (runners) gather as a group outside of a (running) store, they seem to forget that they are standing in an actual parking lot where cars are driving.”

“Masochists.”

“When I see a runner – I think man they are focused, dedicated, work-out-aholics & amazing bodies (envious!) As well when they run up behind me unannounced I think jerkface – as they scare me half to death!  A nice on the left warning would be nice ever once in a while…”

“Running trumps all: family, spouses, career, food. Your best friend needs help moving tomorrow morning? Apparently not from you… there’s a half marathon coming up.”

Okay, so maybe we can be a little obsessive...

Okay, so maybe we can be a little obsessive…

“Obsessive: Runners are obsessive about running. They spend thousands of dollars on ugly clothing and ridiculous shoes… And check their bookshelf: book after book about running not to mention the dozens of issues of Runners World strewn about their residence. They aren’t just obsessive about running; they’re obsessive about letting YOU know they are a runner.”

So there you have it – what people really think of you when they see your finish line photos or as you pass them in a park. But I promise, those surveyed really do love us… I think…