Well, look at me writing again so soon! I know it’s been two months since my last post, but whatever. Thank you for the kind comments on my last post both here and on Facebook – y’all sure know how to make a girl feel loved! I decided to write a little update post today about the past couple of months and what my first month of training for the Mississauga Marathon has been like. Let’s see if I can keep this going on a monthly basis, shall we?
Shortly after posting my last blog post, I found I got into the Berlin Marathon for 2020! Not only that, but my friend Bobbi (who ran New Jersey and Prague with me) and her husband Chuck also got in – it was literally a Thanksgiving miracle! AJ will be coming with (although not running, obviously – perish the thought), and we’re looking to make a fun trip out of it. This is literally the only reason I would ever again train for a marathon in the South Carolina summer, but hey, it’s Berlin!
AJ and I traveled all over the place during the holidays, and we never spent more than about 36 hours in any one location. We celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his family, then drove down to the west coast of Florida to see my parents. Next, we popped down to Miami for a friend’s wedding before heading to the Bahamas for a very short cruise! There has been talk of possibly going on a cruise in the future with my parents, but we needed to do a test run to see if AJ would survive. He gets motion sick in pretty much every possible situation, so I figured we should try a 2 night cruise before committing for 2 weeks. Thanks to a prescription patch, he was only minimally nauseous and we survived. We got to take a super fun bike tour of Nassau, as well, making the Bahamas the 37th country that I’ve visited!
I can’t say what exactly made me decide that I wanted to run another marathon, but I’d been feeling that itch since running my first half marathon in 18 months back in the fall. After getting back from the holidays and seeing the colossal amount of weight I have gained over the past few months, I decided it was time to get serious. Bobbi has been looking for another BQ opportunity, and the Mississauga Marathon seemed like the perfect opportunity. The race is run in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It’s a fast course and it’s held the first Sunday in May, and temperatures are usually ideal. We’ll be training through the winter (our favorite training season) and taking on the race in cooler temps after things start heating up here in early April. We won’t be running this race together since Bobbi is trying to BQ, but we’ll travel together! To be honest, I’m a little worried about running on my own – it’s been a long time since I’ve done that.
Anyway, I officially started training on January 6, but the lifestyle change and activity level increase began on January 1. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve gained a lot of weight – we’re talking 14 pounds since the fall. I’d say I don’t know how, but like…the 6 homemade chocolate babkas I made during the month of December alone would suggest otherwise. Anyway, I weighed myself and took measurements on January 1, and I’ll only be weighing in once a month to keep myself from going crazy. I’ve set some very basic “rules” – no food after 8 pm unless scheduling requires it, no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per week (preferably 1), and no sugary treats except for a small dessert after dinner. That’s it! It’s pretty simple, and I’m definitely feeling better already. Anyway, the extra weight literally felt like it was weighing me down for the first couple of weeks this month. Last week, I finally felt like I had a breakthrough and runs were starting to feel not completely horrible. Hopefully there are more good ones in my future!
A big part of why I think I’m starting to feel better is that I decided to join OrangeTheory as part of my marathon training. Since we moved, we live way out in the country, and I’m not close to very many gyms or fitness studios. I was doing hot yoga back in Greenville, but the drive got to be too much. OrangeTheory is still about 20 minutes from my house, but it’s for sure the closest option! I wanted something that would help me improved my speed and endurance while also balancing things out with some strength training. Since my shoulder surgeries, I no longer do any type of serious weightlifting, so what we do at OTF is the perfect balance. I’ve been going 2-3 times per week in addition to my weekly mileage, and I can already tell a difference in my speed and endurance, which is super exciting! We recently did a 1-mile “benchmark” run where we tried to run a mile as quickly as possible, and I did it in 7:55 (on the treadmill). While I know I could not come close to that on the road, it is still really exciting to see after just a few short weeks.
Perhaps most significantly, I finally decided to join a running group. I live about halfway between Greenville and Spartanburg, but traffic is less in the Spartanburg area, so I joined a group based there. While I’m only doing my long runs with the group, so far, it’s been awesome. The Hub City Runners made me feel like part of the group right away, and after years of doing most of my long runs alone, it’s been really nice to have people to run with and talk to. I’ve done several 10 mile runs so far and am bumping up to 12 this week!
I really have no idea what I will be capable of doing in the marathon, but as of right now, I’m setting my goal to run under 4:30. My last marathon in New Jersey was 4:34 and some change, so I feel like 4:30 is doable – if I can get this extra weight off and most importantly, keep my back healthy. Right now, I am feeling really strong and excited about the progress that I’m making, but time will tell!
Are you training for anything? Leave a comment and tell me about it!