marine corps marathon

To Run or Not to Run the Marine Corps Marathon

It’s been a month of uncertainty and heartbreak for me, professionally.

My husband and I had just recovered (barely) from him being laid off from his job in May when I received the news three weeks ago that our entire workforce was laid off.

It came as a shock and I scrambled to apply all over the place, reconnect with friends and former colleagues and figure out what to do next.

The first 10 days following the lay off, I was on my own while my husband (with my blessing!) hunted six hours away. So what did that mean? Well, it didn’t mean a whole lot of running since I needed to watch the kids full-time and pick them up and drop them off at school. The handful of times I managed a run, it turned to doing a whole lot of walking…and processing.

No one anticipates a lay-off and our circumstances were pretty extreme in this case.

During the day, it’s all applying for jobs, taking care of kids and finding some personal time for myself. My only rule? Don’t look too far ahead; focus on just what I can do TODAY.

…Oh ya, and then there was that time a week ago when I was rear-ended sitting at a light…

So now, I sit here nearly a month in, picking up the pieces and clutching a $214 weekly unemployment check staring a month ahead for the first time.

Ahead to the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25 in Washington D.C.; the event I’ve SO looked forward to for the past six months. Training has been BRUTAL through these intense summer months and I’ve battled to get my time and/or miles in to stay on track.

Ahead, wondering what my job situation will look like in the weeks and months to come.

I’ve always said “running is 90% mental” and this is where it truly hits. Every mile, my mind is spinning and processing. I’m unable to focus as I prep for my training run. My body craves sleep to stave off the intensity of the day.

And, I think about what is truly “wise” in this situation:

  • If we’re struggling to make sure our bills are all paid on time (they have been), then is it wise to spend such a large chunk of money and still go?
  • If I’m still not sure what my job future looks like, is it wise to plan to be gone for a week? Or, do we NEED to do it, having gone through one of the most stressful summers of our lives?

I’m not sure what the answer is at this point. Flights are booked, but can be banked for future use. My race fee is already paid and I can’t defer or transfer at this point. Half of our time in DC will be spent at a friend’s home (thank goodness! Always my preference to stay with friends anyway). I can cancel our hotel at no cost.

Not running the marathon certainly seems like the easier choice.

But, is it the right one?

marine corps marathon
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5 Things I’ve Changed in My Marathon Training

A peek into my marathon training log

It’s hard to believe that I’m now nearly halfway through my marathon training!

The Marine Corps Marathon is October 25, which may seem like a really, REALLY long way away given it’s barely August, but we are now at the critical part of training.

I’ve experienced injuries on my journey to 26.2 in the past and let me tell you, it is NO fun. I’m determined to stay healthy and safe this training season and so far, I’ve taken the important precautions to keep it that way.

Here’s a peek at my “training log” of a few things I’ve needed to tweak this time around to achieve my goals to stay healthy and strong this season.

5 Things I’ve Changed in My Marathon Training

#1 My Shoe Inserts

I started my training with a brand-new pair of my favorite Asics, the Kayanos. Known as the “Corvette” of Asics running shoes, they’re a pretty penny, but worth every cent in my opinion. This time around, however, it seems that Asics changed the heel cup a bit…they may have lowered it? In any case, I was noticing some of the tell tale signs of plantar fascitis (yup, I’ve had it before!) so I knew the first thing I needed to do was give my feet more support. Fortunately, my Powerstep orthotic inserts have done the trick, providing more support in my arch and heel.

powerstep

#2 My Supplements

Keeping my electrolyte and sodium levels stable are also top priorities for me right now. Having experienced hyponatremia too many times, I knew summer hydration would be kicked up significantly, which meant I had to figure out my supplements fast. On the advice of a running friend, I headed to REI in Tempe, Arizona and picked up Skratch electrolyte and sodium drink mixes, some new Gu Mocha-flavored packets with caffeine (heaven!) and some chews. I’ve never been one to like eating while I run, but the Skratch chews are actually pretty good AND don’t seem to stick in your teeth (bonus!)
skratch

#3 My Hydration Pack

For eight years, I’ve run with the Amphipod hydration belt, which as served its purpose well. However, I began to notice a few problems with it: 1) Not enough storage space even if I added extra pouches. 2) Annoying on my GI tract. A newer addition to the marathon and ultramarathon running community is the hydration pack, which is basically a sleeker Camelbak water dispenser with improved engineering to remove bounce, chaffing and weight. I wanted to make sure that I adjusted to a new way of hydrating early, so I picked up a Camelbak Circuit prior to my eight-mile long run this past weekend and tried it out. I also added a new Camelbak Podium water bottle with a handy twist nozzle and both seriously transformed my run. Bottom line: Change your hydration pack early on in training so you can get used to it!

camelbak-circuit

#4 My Training Schedule

The original training schedule I am basing my running off of requires three middle-distance runs (think: 3-8 miles) during the week followed by a long run on the weekend. My weekend distance runs were supposed to be on Saturdays, but I’ve found myself switching periodically to Sundays. I’ve also reduced the weekday runs to sometimes twice a week if I was experiencing achiness and increased fatigue. I’ll go on a long walk or lift weights instead unless I’m really feeling terrible. Unfortunately, this isn’t unusual when  you’re putting in the miles during the hottest time of the year. I have a feeling things will balance out better in the coming weeks as my body adjusts and I get better with my hydration and supplementation.

calendar

#5 My Thinking About Races During Marathon Training

I decided to commit to the America’s Finest City half-marathon race in San Diego on Sunday, August 16 as my official “halfway point” in training. With cooler weather and no pressure to hit a certain time, I’m looking forward to the change in scenery and seeing how my body is doing in better weather. It’s also a great way to gauge how my body is adjusting to the distance and give myself an extra motivating “halfway point.”

Americas-finest-city-half-marathon-map

So that’s what I’ve learned so far this marathon training season! After doing so many half-marathons and five full marathons, I know one thing for sure: you always learn something new every time you do it.

Happy running, friends! 🙂