Marathon Training: Plan vs. Reality

It’s been 10 days since the marathon, and I finally feel back to normal. I’ve been on three runs since the big day.


I’ve now had some time to reflect on my marathon training. It’s interesting to me to look back at the differences between my plan, and what actually happened.




I only had scheduled up to a 20 mile long run. I later added in a 22 mile long run, which I am really glad that I did. My weekly mileages were higher in the original plan.






Total Mileage: 440.2 miles

Average Weekly Mileage: 24.5 mpw

Max Weekly Mileage: 35.2 mpw


I had not planned on taking time off for illness, or toe surgery, and I know that set me back a bit. I remember FREAKING out that I would not be able to run the marathon if I took two weeks off training mid-season.


Guess what? I still finished!


Granted, if I had been training for a specific time goal I may have not been able to meet that due to setbacks. Lesson Learned: It’s good to be flexible.



What would I do differently next time?


1. Add Running Variety: I would add more speed work and tempo runs to my training plan. I got really, really, really bored towards the end, slogging out 7.0 miles on a random day. I think it would help me to pass the time, stay motivated, and run a speedier race.


2. Fast Finish Long Runs: This is something I learned from Megan. The last 4-6 miles of your long run are done at goal race pace, which I think would help me in achieving a better marathon time.


3. Core Strengthening: My abs and back were ridiculously sore after the marathon, and I think it’s due to the fact that I rarely do any core work. There’s always room for improvement!



What tips do you have for a well-rounded marathon (or other distance) training plan?


❤ MegaNerd

Pain is Temporary, Quitting is Forever

Yesterday, I ran the Walt Disney World marathon with my best friend. 


It was my very first marathon, and one of the most memorable experiences of my entire life!




Back up to Saturday night… We headed over to Caitlin’s for our pre-race dinner.


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She made veggie lasagna and other people brought some dishes for sharing.




I had one of the brownies that I brought for dessert.




Once we got to the hotel, Debbie and I laid our things out, so that we wouldn’t have to worry to much in the morning.




check out our matching PJ pants…




We actually got hungry again, so we ordered a pizza! I had one slice and then crashed.




My alarm was set for 2:30 am, since we had to be on board the bus by 3:30 am. I woke up at 1:45 thinking I slept through the alarm, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was SO excited about the race!


I packed Bagels and Almond butter from home, along with bananas to eat right before the start of the race.




Once we bundled up (it was 26 degrees) we headed to the bus stop.


Debbie and I were worried that we wouldn’t be able to find Kelly, but somehow we found her. We had plans to stick together for most (or the whole) race.




After 18 weeks of training, and running 440 miles, I finally made it to the starting line of my first marathon.




The race started just outside of EPCOT. We were only REALLY cold for the first two miles, so we quickly shed our top layer of clothing.




We ran through each Disney park, and spent a lot of time on the stinky back roads.


The first seven miles FLEW by! We were all so excited and generally really happy and things were going great! We had no trouble maintaining our goal of 10:00 min/mile pace.





My favorite part of the course was running through the Magic Kingdom. It was great to see all of the fans along the course cheering us on, and getting to run straight through the castle. I also felt my best at this point in the race, which I think has a lot to do with it.




It actually worked out great having Kelly and Debbie to run with. We all pushed each other for the first half of the race. At the halfway point, we were predicted to have a 4:22 finishing time based on our current average pace.


Little did I know things were about to go downhill.


My stomach started hurting a bit at this point, and I was getting a bit worried. Then, Kelly tripped on a road reflector, and took a little tumble. It shook us all up a bit, but she was tough and popped right back up and kept going!




Around mile 15, I knew that I had to use the bathroom ASAP or I would not be finishing the race. I started to speed up in hopes that I would be able to get in and out without making too much of a dent on my (or Kelly and Debbie’s) time.




Somewhere in the mid-teen miles (15-19) I grabbed a banana at one of the water stations. I figured some potassium couldn’t hurt, but it might have hurt my stomach more. 😦





Not much later,  we all started to feel the marathon taking a toll. We switched from talking to each other to zoning out with our head phones on.





This was probably the last time that I felt good during the race, around mile 18. At this point, my stomach was in excruciating pain. I thought that I was going to explode and I knew that I had to stop again.


I felt really bad for asking Debbie and Kelly to stop and wait, so I told them to go on ahead without me. They were feeling good and I knew that I was only going to feel worse.


Shortly after they left me, around mile 21, I started crying. I thought that finishing seemed impossible. I had already stopped four times to use the bathroom and I was not feeling any better.


I passed a few medical tents and SERIOUSLY considered stopping. Every time I tried to run, my stomach would hurt worse. I would take a quick walk break, but when I tried to run again, my joints just locked up. It was mentally and physically challenging because I knew that I was trained well enough to finish, but that my body just couldn’t take it that day.


I made a video around mile 22, where I was basically just pouring my heart out and crying about how I had to finish this for myself. As soon as I thought this was the worst I have ever felt in my life, I realized that I had to make a choice to stay positive. I trained hard and did NOT want to give up!


My favorite Disney Character EVEEEERRRRR, Mr. Incredible, was right around the corner. I decided to stop and take a picture with him! It instantly brightened my mood! 😀




I realized that I could make this race fun, even if I was alone.


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The last three miles were the toughest. I had never run past 22 miles in my life, and I was now alone. I felt like my legs would not move forward anymore, and my stomach was still feeling bad. I ended up stopping at every single restroom from mile 23 to the finish. (Total of 7 times!) 😦


I could think about nothing else but finishing the race. When I came around the corner and saw a huge crowd of people cheering and the finish line, I burst into tears. I ran strong through the finish line (ok… really slowly) and felt a huge wave of joy come over me.




Never in my life, have I felt so many things at one time. It was mentally and physically the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life.




My parents met me at the finish line, and I pretty much collapsed on the pavement. I knew I would be in pain, but I never expected my body to hurt THIS much.


I feel like I really fought for this medal.




Mile Splits:

Mile 1: 10:33

Mile 2:  9:47

Mile 3: 9:45

Mile 4: 9:40

Mile 5: 9:54

Mile 6: 9:50

Mile 7: 10:08

Mile 8: 9:53

Mile 9: 9:58

Mile 10: 10:03

Mile 11: 10:02

Mile 12: 10:24

Mile 13: 9:49

Mile 14: 10:08

Mile 15: 10:26

Mile 16: 10:33

Mile 17: 10:44

Mile 18: 11:10

Mile 19: 11:09

Mile 20: 11:14

Mile 21: 11:11

Mile 22: 14:12

Mile 23: 13:52

Mile 24: 15:35

Mile 25: 13:50

Mile 26: 13:47

End 0.51 mile nubbin: 5:52


Total paused time: 14 + change minutes.



Official finish time: 5:08:09

I didn’t do nearly as well as I wanted to, but there was no way that I could have planned for, or trained for my stomach issues. All things considered, I am very proud to have just finished. I considered quitting so many times, but never gave up.


Michael (my little brother) asked me if he could have a medal like mine. I told him that in 10 years he can run it with me and get one of his own. 😀




Congratulations to all my friends and blog friends who ran this weekend!


Big thanks to everyone who came out to support me at the race, my family, and to Ryan for the amazing photos!


❤ MegaNerd


PS- Marathon recap video is coming soon!!

Runs in the Family

This morning, I got in my very last run before the marathon. I ran an easy 3.0 miles, without too much concern for pace.




I can NOT believe that in less than 48 hours I will be waiting at the starting corral. I can’t wait to see all this hard work pay off!



A couple of weeks ago, while in North Carolina, I took some time to check out my mom’s marathon medal collection.




My mom has actually done 5 marathons! She isn’t doing them anymore, but I think doing even one is pretty cool!


She ran my first ever 5k with me back in May 2007!




In fact, she completed the Disney marathon back in 2002!  Check out her medal:




I honestly think it could have been my mom that inspired me to race! She has done COUNTLESS races of all different distances in her lifetime. She got to a point where she had SO many t-shirts, that she made them into a quilt!




Check it out! Disney marathon, woot! (Back in the pre-tech Tee days!)




I can’t wait to get MY marathon tee and eventually (after crossing the finish line) that medal! 😀


What can I say? My love of racing runs in the family!

I feel like I still have so much to get done before the race! I start school Monday, and I haven’t even thought about prepping for that since I’ve been so focused on the marathon. OOPS! Better get on it!


❤ MegaNerd

One Week Left

One week from today, I will be running the Disney Marathon!


I can’t believe it is almost here! I apologize in advance if I talk non-stop about the marathon for the rest of the week. I am really getting excited!


Yesterday morning, I set out to do my last double digit long run before the marathon. Tapering is strange. It seems odd to me that I would go from running 22 miles, to 13 miles, down to only 10. Whatever, it is supposed to work!


I ate a quick breakfast before I left for my run. Everything bagel + Veggie Cream Cheese. It’s quickly becoming a staple in my diet.




It was only 41 degrees F outside, but felt like 33. It was cold for Florida standards! I bundled up, and went for my run. I almost prefer running in the cold than in the heat.




Run Stats:

  • Distance: 10.0 miles
  • Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Average Pace: 9:01 min/mile
  • Average HR: 167 bpm




It was a great run!


Everytime I thought about the marathon, my heart started beating faster and my stomach felt crampy. I had to tell myself to calm down a few times. I am getting so anxious!! gaaaaah!


When I got back, it was already almost noon, but I didn’t feel like eating lunch food. So I made second breakfast!




My fridge is PACKED with yogurt…




I had to use up the rest of my free coupons from Stonyfield, so I’ll be eating tons of yogurt in the near future.


I combined blueberry OIKOS, granola, and fresh blueberries. YUMMMM.




I also ate a Clementine… times four.




In Other News….

Jason got a new camera, the Nikon D90!




That means I get to use the D40 for now. HOORAAAAY!


He wanted to test out the new camera, so I let him snap some pictures of me:


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Fun stuff!!!


I only have 3 more runs before the race! Yikes!


❤ MegaNerd

Only One Long Run to Go

I can’t believe that in 8 more days, I will be running my first marathon! Pure craziness.



I’m a smidge dramatic. 😉


My long runs started so small. I remember back in June, 6.2 miles was my longest run in months, and I felt so accomplished!



Slowly, but surely, my long runs increased each weekend:


Tough Twelve: 12.0 miles Ran with Meghann, but no Garmin. It was SO hot out, I thought I was going to puke.


Friday the 13.1 Planned on running 12.0 miles with Caitlin, but ended up running 13.1. It was extremely hot out that day!!


My first ever v-log happened this day as well. 😀



My Longest Run Yet! 15.0 Miles : Clearly, I was super excited. This was the first time I had ever run more than half marathon distance in the 2+ years I had been running!





Sixteen Point Five: One of my toughest runs ever. I literally cursed for the entire last few miles.




Epic Eighteen: For some reason, it felt much easier than the 16.5 miler. Caitlin and I got crazy, and jumped into the fountain afterwards.




Turkey Twelve: Set back a bit by my toe surgery, I ran 12.0 miles with Debbie in New Jersey. It was a great confidence booster!




Epic Twenty Miles: WOW! I thought I was going to cry tears of joy after this run. Seriously?! Did I just run 20 miles!!? I complain about DRIVING that far!





My Longest Long Run: 22 Miles:  Pure. Insanity.

Caitlin made me do it. We eat 4.0 milers for breakfast.





And then the tapering began…


Thirteen Miles Alone Ran a super fast 13.0 miles alone. It’s the only long run I’ve had to do without a buddy!




I have one more double-digit run to get in today. It’s all downhill from here.


Time to trust my training! I’ve got this.


❤ MegaNerd

Frozen Solid

Brrrrrrrr. It’s SO COLD outside here in Ohio!


I had plans to run yesterday, but it was just “too cold”. It was around 18 degrees for most of the day, and I was being a wimp. The weather channel said that it was supposed to get up to 34 today (heat wave!!!) so I decided to wait until today.


When I woke up this morning, it was only 21 degrees… feels like 14.


I was determined to run anyways. I fueled up with a banana




…and bundled up! I put on just about every layer of clothing I own. 😉


I am not used to this at all!! It is so much harder to breath when the temperatures are below freezing!


Jason promised he would keep me from getting lost  company on the run. He ran the first 4.0 miles with me! New PDR for Jason!! 😀


We met up with Jason’s stepmom, MJ, and we ran another 1.5 miles after dropping Jason off.


Running in the cold is very different for me. I find it hard to maintain any kind of decent pace. I managed to run 5.5 miles in 1 hour, 1 minute, and 24 seconds. That works out to a 11:10 min/mile pace. Really slow for me.


After my first really cold weather run ever in North Carolina, I knew what I was getting myself into. I’m just glad that I didn’t slip on ice or anything (knock on wood!) before the marathon. That’s the last thing I need!




How does a Florida girl bundle up for a sub-freezing run?


Here’s how: (Sorry I’m so sweaty and bright red, pics taken post-run!)



Layer one:  Sports bra, tank top, and stretchy pants.




Layer Two: Warm long sleeve turtle neck thing. (Haven’t worn a turtle neck since I was about five years old.)




Layer Three: Fleece Jacket, second pair of sweat pants (good idea BFF Debbie)  fleece headband, gloves and fluffy scarf




Oh yes, I wore two pair of gloves!




Layer Four: Last but not least, I topped it all off with a windbreaker!




As soon as I got back to the house, I made myself a big bowl of oatmeal.



I used:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • brown sugar
  • blueberries
  • mixed nuts


It was so warm. I scarfed it down! I also had a large cup of chocolate milk that was supposed to be Jason’s but I drank it. Oops.


Phew. I am pooped




How do you deal with cold weather workouts?! I find them so challenging!


❤ MegaNerd

I Crush Soles

I’m officially at the point in marathon training of tapering.


My long run lengths are decreasing, weekly mileage slowly decreasing, and my focus on taking care of my body (sleep, food, water) are becoming more important.


I got a brand new pair of running shoes for Christmas. (Thank you so much, Jason’s mom! ) They couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.




These new shoes are the exact same as my old ones, Brooks Adrenaline, size 7.5, Narrow. The only difference is the color.


I feel like I just bought these shoes! I’ve only had them since the last week of August. It’s amazing how much marathon training can destroy shoes. I have put almost 500 miles on them since September! Wow!




Remember how pretty they once were?




I crush soles…




According to my marathon training plan, I had 13.0 miles on schedule for my second to last long run. Next week, I have 10.0 planned.


I’ve been feeling a bit unmotivated lately, but the new shoes, and the fact that the marathon is in 14 days (!!!!!) is a pretty big motivator.


I fueled up with a Blueberry Crisp CLIF bar before I left. It tasted so final-exam week-ish. (Probably because I ate 16 in a one week period.)




I brought a pack of sports beans with me in my new Ampihod belt.




I then hit the road for my run! I have never attempted a long run alone. The longest I have ever run alone before today was 8.0 miles. I ran all by myself, and did just fine!


It was actually nice to see how I could run alone. Running for 26.2 miles poses a real possibility of having to run a portion alone. Although I have plans to stick with BFF Debbie (don’t know if she knew that, but now she does…) nothing is for sure. I needed to make sure that mentally I can do it alone.




I set a goal for myself to finish in two hours or less. Having a goal like that helps me to work harder.


I finished my 13.0 mile run in 1:58:29, or a 9:06 min/mile pace. Boo-yah! It was awesome. I feel confident about the marathon!


When I returned, I made a big bowl of cereal and yogurt. It’s a great post-run snack! I saved dishes by using the rest of the yogurt straight from the OIKOS tub.




I added in to the tub:

  • (Vanilla Oikos)
  • Banana
  • Kashi H2H
  • Almond Granola
  • Flaxseed




Nom. Nom. Nom.

Good luck BFF Debbie on your last long run of 20.0 miles! (She was supposed to do it last week, but it Snowed!)



❤ MegaNerd