I did something crazy…

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.)

What I think of living here. Major B-face. (Photo taken in our wonderful Houston apartment. The digs here? Less nice.)

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).

Hey look! It's me and tinyjenna in Philly!

See! I was there!

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.)

Get ready for an onslaught of photos like this.

And this.

And THIS! (Post-race Mexican food OMG!)

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?

Happy running.

17 Responses to “I did something crazy…”


  1. 1 Heather C September 29, 2011 at 5:48 am

    This is only *slightly* crazy, but a runner’s standards – and its the Best kind of ridiculous, so there’s nothing to do but stare down that training plan and think “WHOOP!”đŸ˜‰ Whatever motivates you, and gets you back in the states for a few – dooo it!

    • 2 Moacir January 27, 2013 at 6:29 am

      My fiance and I do this- just never had a name for it. We love it! We rcelntey went to Chicago for the half marathon having never been to Chicago. Every year we go to DC for the Marine Corps marathon. We’re already planning our next trip- NYC and maybe Seattle! Running in different cities keeps running interesting and makes training more than just training… it’s a countdown not just to the race, but to a vacation!

  2. 3 meganmnelson September 29, 2011 at 7:12 am

    whoop whoop! We’re running a marathon together! Crazy it’s taken this long for it to actually happen. Here’s to a crazy quick eight weeks and seeing you so very sooooooon!

    • 4 Kavya November 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Ah ha ha ha ha ha, you were right, I didn’t believe it. I’ve been siittng her all morning trying to think of a good one myself. I have two friends who have birthdays today so I guess I’ll just text them a happy one.~Bliss~

  3. 5 k r i s t a (@krittabug) September 29, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Aw yaaaaaaay, this is exciting! You go girl.

    • 6 Wejdan January 25, 2013 at 5:23 am

      With the exception of Marine Corps, all the mtahraons I’ve done have been at a location I wanted to visit great excuse to get to go somewhere and see a new city!San Diego, San Francisco, Nashville, Twin Cities and my big trips: Dublin and Athens.I like when the race is right away and then I can kick back and enjoy the rest of my vacay without stressing about how much I’m walking around or what I’m eating and drinking. All have been really cool experiences!

  4. 7 Katie September 29, 2011 at 9:47 am

    FIERCE, girl. I am so pumped! See you there!!

  5. 8 Alishia September 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

    So happy for you friend!

    • 9 Amra January 27, 2013 at 6:01 am

      John, this was my first year volunteering, and so I’m not surpebly qualified to give an answer, but I can think of a few things. One is that the amateur radio operators operate as a team. There is a coordinator who listens in on all the radio operators along the route, and communicates directly with Marathon management and emergency services. At each post, the amateur radio operator is known to and coordinates with the volunteers performing other services. Also, cell phones operate one to one, but amateur radio is one to many and so it is possible for the coordinator to broadcast a message to all the operators along the route, or to the attention of a subset of them for example, one I received and passed along: the route in Wellesley will close at 2:30 PM. The radio traffic is routed through repeater stations, which operate like cell phone towers except that the signal they send out may be heard by all of the radio operators along a segment of the route. Any individual amateur is transmitting to a number of others, so each one is keeping abreast of developments all along that segment. There are several repeaters on different frequencies for different segments of the route, reflecting the coverage of the repeaters and the need to avoid having too many messages clog any of them. Of special importance in case of emergencies, there is no dial-up delay communication with the coordinator and with other amateurs nearby along the route is immediate and in the event of a real emergency along a route with tens to hundreds of thousands of spectators such as the Marathon, cell phone communication is likely to be confused and may get tied up as the number of available channels becomes overloaded. We are called amateur radio operators, but we are operating at a professional standard, with an established protocol as to how to identify our location, and how to report emergencies. Finally, while the communications burden at the Marathon is rather light, such events provide practice in case of a real emergency when two-way radio may be the only available means of communication. This has happened repeatedly in the case of earthquakes, ice storms, hurricanes etc. when power lines were down and land line communication were disrupted, and also for people stranded and in need of rescue. Now, maybe another amateur with more experience can chime in and fill in for what I didn’t know enough to say. John Allen, AA1EP

  6. 10 Taisuke January 25, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I have 3 older sisters and we all live in difenreft states, but we have a runcation every year, I just got back from this years. My one sister runs the full and my other two sisters run the half marathons. I flip between the half and full. Its a great way for us to get together somewhere new each year for the weekend. Examples of some of the cities we’ve done are Chicago, Memphis, Cincy, Tampa, Ocean Drive Marathon in NJ and Green Bay, WI. Two of us will be running Philly this year.

    • 11 Citra November 12, 2013 at 7:25 am

      i agree,The first man across the line shloud be the winner of the marathon and not some super team of two elite duo of half marathoners.Half marathoners and relay runners shloud leave 1 hour after the main bunch.this would prevent the usual messy relay changes of runners, taking up the road trying to see their team mates.A bit of “support” along the way by relay runners watching and not obstructing would add to the occasion.Bicycles shloud be strictly banned from the course.Water stations need to be reassesd.This is genuinely not a rant and not any kind of “snobbery” to relay runners.its great to see the city centre full of runners at the finish line.Its just a hard marathon to run with so many distractions on the day.

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