My Race Training Progress — 5 Weeks Until My First Full Marathon!

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I can’t believe how time flies! Yesterday, on September 22, 2013, I ran the “Run for the Grapes” half marathon, held in cooperation with the Niagara Wine Festival. This race was a good indicator to gage how my race training progress is going as the date draws closer and closer to the Niagara Falls International Marathon. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and a runny nose, which as any mother with a child in daycare knows, if they catch it, YOU will catch it! I felt defeated even before I started. I did this course last year and I knew how hilly it was. The perfect battleground for any race training program. However today was not the day for challenges — or so I thought.
With a tissue in hand, I set off on the course to run the 13.1 miles (21.1 km), with the hope that I may not beat last year’s time of 1:44:07, but still hoping to place in the top 3 in the 35-39 age category. Whenever I run a half marathon I don’t fully relax until I see the “14km” sign marked. It’s usually at that point that I know that I will accomplish what I set out to do. Everything until that point has my mind in hysterics with “will I make it?” thoughts jumping around in my head. Anyhow, something happens to me when I run in that everything that my body is feeling simply shuts off and I zone out. The last kilometer in the “Run for the Grapes” is 80% uphill and, quite simply, it is hell. When I saw the finish line in view, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, next to when I ran the “Around the Bay” 30KM, the “Beamsville Bench” 5K and giving birth to my son — which, ironically, will come up in this blog in a moment. When I touched that mat with a chip time of 1:42:05 I was ecstatic! I not only beat last years time by 2 minutes and 2 seconds, but I did it while sick. I placed 52/213 overall, 8/90 females and 2/17 in my age group. I received the finishers medal, plus a silver medal for placing in the top 3 in my age group after all (my ceremonial car photo with my medals from this race is the featured photo in this blog).
This run gave me enough confidence to know that along with physical race training for the Niagara Falls International Marathon, that part of the training progress in running a marathon is also equally as mental as it is physical. You need to have that confidence and willpower to get through it. Think outside the pain, illness or any existing injury and just know that you can get through it. That faith in myself is something that I am pleased to say that I have when I run, and I think most runners that train for a half and/or full marathon will agree with me when I say that you reach a point in a long-distance run when physical becomes mental — which I compare to childbirth. The pain gets so bad that it doesn’t hurt anymore. I came across this blog last week that made me laugh called “10 Reasons Why Running a Marathon is Like Having a Baby“. I can think of a few extra additions to this list, but the comparison really is incredible! If you are a runner or training to become a runner, I really enjoy following Check out her blogs!
race training
In my last blog post “My Marathon Running Progress — 7 Weeks To Go!”  I mentioned that I was trying to incorporate more morning runs into my regimen than my usual evening runs. I will admit, I failed that one miserably lol. While I do enjoy getting the workout out of the way, I can’t seem to get past the routine that turned into evening runs that I’ve been doing more 2 years now. I like the stress release that it gives me after a day of work and my muscles don’t feel that “morning ache”. I’m not saying that I’ll never do morning runs again, but I cut them down to just Sunday mornings for my long, slow distance (LSD) days as part of my race training.
Now, how many runners out there have entered a race and struggled with the “where will I put my car key while I run?” question. I know I can’t be the only one. Most of the time when I enter a race I don’t take anyone with me so I never know where to place my car key when I start the race. I do own a couple pairs of winter pants from the Running Room and Lululemon, as well as Winter running jackets that have zippers specifically for keys, but in the Summer and part of Fall I always find myself in the position of shoving my car key into my sports bra — and it hurts. I can finally say that I dropped $6.99 at Sport Chek and purchased the NiteIze Key Rack & Bottle Opener. It’s a key ring specifically for clipping onto your pants/jacket or wherever you see fit — with an added feature of a bottle opener to celebrate finishing your marathon by opening a beer lol! Go figure, such a simple purchase, but essential as part of my race training.
race training
If you are currently training for a marathon as well and have some tips to share, I would love to hear from you! This will be my first full marathon and I would appreciate any advice that you care to share. Please write a comment in this blog and please feel free to share my blog with any other new runners. I’m looking forward to tackling this stepping stone in my race training and I’m ecstatic that I will be doing it in my home city of Niagara Falls with the Niagara Falls International Marathon!
Christine on race training

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