So back in 2009, I ran the Philadelphia Marathon. It was my first ever, and it didn’t go anything like I planned. In the two years since then, I like to occasionally go to their website, ponder registering, and then not do it. (Last year I had just run Chicago…this year I live in a remote third-world country.)
Still, my habit of going to their site every now and again and thinking longingly about making that final stretch to the art museum strong, puke-free and smiling has stuck with me. Last Friday I decided to navigate over, fully expecting to see SOLD OUT sprawled across the homepage (it sold out in August the year I did it).
Only those words weren’t anywhere to be found. Hmmmm.
More clicking confirmed there were indeed spots left.
A look at the calendar told me that race day was 8 weeks away. I’ve been maintaining 25-30 miles per week…it’s not much, but it’s enough base to tackle a modest marathon plan, I thought.
A quick search told me I could fly there and back for a very reasonable price, which, if you have to ocean-hop to get where you’re going, is totally unexpected.
A quick call to talk through the logistics with Mr. Engineer and confirm the money for this was in the budget, and my mind was made up. I registered, booked three separate flights (Port Moresby –> Brisbane, Brisbane –>LA, LA–>Philadelphia) reserved a hotel, and pulled up a calendar.
And made the first training plan I’ve needed in six months. (I’ve been gone SIX. MONTHS.)
And then I emailed Megan and asked her to come to Philly and pick me up off the pavement afterwards. And you know what she said?
That she’d run it with me.
(I have the very best friends a girl could ask for.)
So I know it’s nuts, and I’m going to have to do some serious strange-sleeping the week ahead of the race to get myself pre-adjusted to the 16 hour time difference. But I have a plan (and I travel a lot these days…i.e. am accustomed to the suck that is being stuck in a plane foreverrrr) so I feel like it’s a manageable risk.
On the running front, like I said, I feel my base is enough…just enough. I can tackle a modest plan that will get me across the finish line uninjured, I think. My only real time goal at this point is to do better than I did the last time I was there. And I think that’s realistic.
But you guys, I’m training for a MARATHON again! I have something to train for! A reason to get on the damn treadmill and run! And run farther and faster than I would otherwise! That’s something I’ve found that in the short week since I made this crazy decision was really lacking for me. It’s hard to love being a runner when being outside is INCREDIBLY restricted (and frankly, unsafe.) Now, daydreaming about finishing number four is my constant companion when I’m staring at a wall putting in the miles. And you know what? That makes it a whole lot better.
So on to the numbers! I’m totally lost on how to train at this juncture, and I’m CERTAIN I have no speed in my legs (on account of the total lack of speedwork of late) so I’m making it up as I go. I laid out approximate mileage targets for the weeks to come, and about how long I though long runs should be, but that’s it. Here’s where I sit after (most of!) week one:
Monday: 15 minutes elliptical + 40 minutes weights
Tuesday: Step-up tempo run based on heart rate zones (that probably need to be reassessed but whatever). 9.5 miles.
Wednesday: Slooooow 7 miles. Recovery for this slow girl, yo.
Thursday: 4 x 7 minute intervals. I managed to eek out just better than 8-minute pace for the intervals (told you I’m slow right now…) 6.4 miles.
Friday I’ll rest, and either Saturday or Sunday I’ll do 17 (I did 14 for my LR last week with no soreness, pain or discomfort, so I think 17 is doable.)
So there you go. This might be (slightly) nuts. But I’m rocking a runner’s high right now and it’s been a hot minute since I’ve had one of those…so humor me, ok?