Marathon Update – Less than 80 Days to Go!

With less than 80 days to go until the big day, I thought it was time for a Grandma’s Marathon training update.

14 miles

Two weeks ago, a friend and I completed our 14 mile run in the snow. The snow began shortly after we started running, so that we were being pelted in the face by snowflakes almost the entire time. By mile 11, our clothes were soaked, we were numb, our gels were frozen, and our water was slushy. At that point, we stopped for a not-so-quick potty break in the porta potty. We briefly considered quitting, since we were at the parking lot where our cars were, but ultimately decided that we needed to just get the miles done. We slogged through the remaining few miles, then quickly said our goodbyes so we could get warmed up in our cars.

I changed my outer layer to a dry fleece, threw on my winter coat, and cranked the heat in my car. On the way home, I ordered pizza so I could eat ASAP. When I got out of the warm car to get my pizza, I started shivering worse than I have in a LONG time, which is saying lot considering I love being outside in the Minnesota winters. On the way home from the pizza place, I called my husband and asked him to turn on the heat fan in my bathroom so that it would be toasty when I got there.

As soon as I got home, I trucked downstairs to my bathroom, keeping my winter coat on until I got into my toasty warm bathroom. Then, I took a hot shower, staying there until I no longer felt frozen. Then, I bundled up in warm sweats, a hoodie, and my warmest socks. Next, I ate half a large pepperoni pizza. As soon as I was done eating, I snuggled into a blanket and lay on the couch, counting down the time until I could go to bed at 9:00. Yes, I realize one CAN go to bed before 9:00, but I didn’t want to wake too early the next morning and throw off my entire schedule. I was drained. However, I felt pretty good the next morning when I woke up. And, I felt pretty badass for running that far in the snow!

15 miles

This weekend, I met up with five other ladies for our 15 mile run. This one was definitely less eventful. We had good conversation and it really did feel like our three hours on the pavement went quickly. I felt surprisingly good – much better than I did during my 14 mile run – and had fun. What? Who has fun running that far?? Who am I?

The weather was much better this time around, with the weather being around 40*F and overcast, with just a light breeze. No precipitation of any kind this time. The footing was good, being all road, sidewalk, or bike path. Overall, I just felt strong, like I could have run another mile or two had I needed to.

I think another component of success was that I fueled sufficiently during this run. During the 14 miler, I only took one gel because they froze during the run. This time, I took four gels total – one at 45 minutes, then every 30 minutes afterward. I also took Stinger Energy Chews right before running.

So far, I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of gels, because I find I don’t care for chewing while running (other than gum). My favorite gel up to this point is Accel Gel in Strawberry Kiwi, with Powergel Pomegranate Blueberry Acai in second place. I’m finding that I prefer a thinner consistency gel over a thicker one. While GU has some good flavors, I find their consistency to be too thick for my liking. I have a few more varieties to try, but I think I’m close to narrowing down my favorite for the marathon!

The next day, I had some calf tightness and ankle fatigue, but all else felt good. I’m still shocked at how well my body has been handling these miles and I certainly pray it continues to be this way throughout.
This coming weekend is a shorter mileage week, with a long run around 6.5 miles, then we hit 16 miles the weekend of April 8th. Here’s to hoping that 16 goes as well as 15 did!

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