Marathon Training February Update

17 miles too long…

My friends and I are training for the Tobacco Road Marathon on 17th March 2019. For many of us, it’s our first full marathon. This post will bring you up to date on events since my last update.

Well, things have not gone as planned. Let me start way back where I believe my problems began…

I predominately run in the same brand of shoes — for the last 2 years or so. I’ve never had an issue until recently, when a new order of two pairs arrived at my house. I opened one of the boxes, tied up the laces and away I went.

I know how these shoes feel when they’re new and these seemed to be lacking that cushion I was accustomed to. My feet were making slapping noises on the pavement.

They were the same shoes as I always wear. It must be all in my head, right?

I kept on running in them, thinking I would break them in soon. After one of my recent long runs my right ankle felt a little sore, like I’d rolled it a couple of times.

I ignored the pain and continued to run through another week. At that week’s end I had 18 miles planned, with the potential of a couple more if I felt good. I was a little nervous going into it because the twinge in my ankle kept nagging at me.

I should have listened to my body. It was one of my worst runs on this training cycle. By mile 9 I had all sorts of new pains in that leg and by mile 14 buzzards (I may have been hallucinating) were circling above, waiting for me to collapse. I deviated from the planned route and arrived home with 17 miles.

The next couple of days my calf muscle was tight and sore, and the more I thought how unusual this was, the more I started to link my shoes to it. I decided to write to the shoe company and tell them of my experience. They immediately agreed to allow me to exchange them — even with 100+ miles logged.

Before I decided whether to return one or both pairs. I opened the second pair from the same order to try them out. I managed a short 3 mile run mid-week, and in my head, this pair felt more like they should have.

So good news — I don’t have to change shoe brands so late in my training! But I wish I hadn’t waited so long to sort it out.

Recovery Time

3 miles to try out the shoes was all I managed to run this week. I made the hard decision to not run this weekend and instead cross train on my bike. While it was fun to be still out there with my running buddies, I was wishing the whole time that I was running.

I cycled 6 miles on Friday and then 14 on Saturday. As well as trying to support the guys putting in the real work, I took the opportunity to record some video of everyone running on the Tobacco Trail.

The video was shot and edited completely on my iPhone.

Even in mid February, the Tobacco Trail is a lovely place to run. I keep looking at the new housing developments going up near the trail and thinking how nice and convenient it would be to live so close to it.

It’s not too late to sign up for the marathon!
Use code TRMRAVE19 to get $20 off.

I am hoping to get back out on my feet tomorrow for a short run and see how it goes from there. I am supposed to run 22 miles this coming weekend, but I’m not sure whether I just need to push that out a week and aim for the 14 I skipped this weekend.

The only (big) drawback with pushing out the 22 miler, is that weekend I’ll be in Ireland without my running crew to support me.

Marathon Training January Update

I have only 7 weeks left until my first full marathon at Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, NC. I’m using the Nike Marathon plan and in short, training has been going well.

At this stage I have confidence that I’ll complete it. But will I walk away with a great result? Will I walk away at all?

I know a lot of runners aspire to quality for the Boston marathon. I’m not shooting for Boston — not this time.

But my heart is not set on running Boston. In fact, there’s many other marathons I’d love to run first — Big Sur! New York City! Missoula! Honolulu! Chicago! Check out the BibRave 100 for more ideas!

BTW if you do wish to qualify for Boston, the Tobacco Road Marathon is one of the best marathons to qualify with. It’s a fairly flat course and helps send many runners to Boston.

On race day I’m hoping for as close to 4:00 as possible, which would mean a pace of 9:05/mi or faster for 26.freaking2 miles. I’m not there yet. Not for that distance. I do have some encouraging news to share though.

Upon examination of my last few long runs, I’m seeing progress. Even though the runs are getting longer, I am running them faster! I just need to shave off another 15 seconds per mile, which I think is doable.

Long runs are scary.

Just writing this post is making me think about my next long run and freak out a little.

I’m still experimenting with fueling, not having gone this kind of distance before, and it’s been hard to get it right. At the moment I’m using a combination of gels and granola bars.

I do know that Chicken Biryani the night before is a bad idea.

So while I have 7 weeks left until the marathon, the hard work is nearly over. I have really only 2 super long runs left. 18 miles again this weekend, a drop to 14 the week after and then the big one — 22 miles! 😨

There’s still time to sign up. At the time of writing, both the half and the full marathon have slots available. Use code TRMRAVE19 to get $20 off registration.

Review: Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon

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Disclaimer: I’m promoting Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I had such a great time at this race, it just didn’t seem right to review it like every other race I’ve reviewed. So, I decided to write a little poem that covers my race experience from start to finish.

Tobacco Road Half Marathon 2018

I went to bed early
To get plenty of rest
My wife was so supportive
There’s no doubt that I’m blessed
(Love you Lizzie!)

The morning arrived in no time
Long before the promised sun awoke
It was freezing bloody cold outside
But I had no plans to wear a coat

After multiple trips to the toilet
It was time to lace up and go
If I still need to empty my bladder
I’ll make the trip to porta-potty row

With a van full of MRC runners
We traveled to the Tobacco Road race
I munched on my energy gummies
Hoping I could stick to my target pace

The participants all began to gather
Three-thousand, two-hundred and fifty two
Nine-hundred and seventy-five the full
I’d be running my first Half with my crew!

The gun give a blast and off we went
Passing under a huge American flag
I tried to keep up with the one-fifty pacer
But very soon I started to lag

As the road leveled out the crowd opened up
And I managed to catch my pacers
There up ahead was one of my friends
She’d passed me and I didn’t see her

After two and a half miles of pounding the road
The Half went left and Full went right
There were plenty of water and Gatorade drinks
If I partook every time, need the toilet I might

The trail was cozy for an out-and-back
The lead pack were returning at my mile five
As runners flew past they were followed by a breeze
The atmosphere was electric, I felt so alive

I was still feeling fresh at mile marker nine
By mile marker ten I was feeling half dead
The energy gels had lost their effect
My legs felt heavy, a battle ensued in my head

Was the last stretch and the finish was close
But again my pacers had gotten away
Determination kicked in and dragged me along
This race won’t beat me, not today, NOT today

Downhill to the end is a wonderful thing
I knew I had it in the bag
Crossing the line with my arms raised high
An eleven minute PR! I know, I brag

 

Last Long Run Before Tobacco Road

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Disclaimer: I’m promoting Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

On Sunday past we completed our final long run (8 miles) before we run 13.1 miles on the American Tobacco Trail on Sunday, 18th March (which is also the day I can finally place a 13.1 magnet on my car — it’s the little things).

I have regained a lot of confidence that was lost during one of our recent long runs. This Sunday’s run covered a lot of the same route and terrain as before, plus it rained constantly, and it was still a much better experience overall!

This week, training will be lighter and my focus will be on hydrating and sleeping. I want to go into Sunday as fresh as possible. I’m only planning to run on Wednesday (6 miles) and Friday (3-4 miles).

Weather conditions look good for the race, around 50-60°F with a slight chance of rain. I’m not planning to carry any water – I will manage with the water/nuun at the aid stations. I will carry some Honey Stinger gummies though!

On my Athlinks profile I’ve listed 1:55 as my goal, which includes a little bit of buffer. If I’m being honest, the goal in my head is actually 1:50, which means a pace of 8:25/mi is required.

The Race Expo is on Friday and Saturday so we’re planning to visit it on Saturday afternoon to pick up our race bibs and shirts.

Check back for a race report next week!

Added: Tobacco Road Half Marathon

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Disclaimer: I’m promoting Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Here’s me and my running buddies on Sunday past, training for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 18th in Cary, NC. We’re putting on our best smiles for the camera, but this was probably one of our toughest runs in a while.

Tobacco Road will be my first official half marathon race and I’m already suffering some pre-race nerves. Does anyone else get these?!

Continue reading “Added: Tobacco Road Half Marathon”