“No matter how much experience you have, there’s always something new you can learn and room for improvement.”

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
  • 3+ months of training
  • 5 pairs of shoes plus 1 pair of race shoes
  • 550 miles
  • Three 20+ mile long runs
  • 1 marathon

It had been a while since I had done winter marathon training and Michigan ended up having a pretty mild winter which was beneficial for training. I eased into training after a week in January in Florida/Disney World and juggling training and being on my feet all day. There was only 4 days of treadmill running and maybe 7 days total of snow affecting my outside training. I cannot complain about that. I felt good for most of training. For some reason after my first 20 mile run in my training block which I nailed by the way, I spiraled into issues recovering. I never felt refreshed, sleep was awful, had gotten a cold, multiple car issues, high stress, and hit my first “Strained” training status on my Garmin. I have the Garmin 965 so there was a lot more data than I usually had especially with the HRV and it went into the low status. I think life stresses and still trying to push through training really knocked me down. I couldn’t hit paces on my 21 mile run and dragged myself through the second half of that run. Then my last 20 miler I took it easy instead of attempting to hit paces due to being tired and maybe Mother Nature stepping in and giving us snow and slick spots making it too hard to attempt pace safely. I ended up hitting 58.6 miles for peak week which is the highest I’ve hit in marathon training so far! Once I was in taper it was night and day different in how I was feeling. I finally felt refreshed and hit a solid 10 mile workout to build my confidence. I wonder if knowing the end was in sight was the perk I needed to finish up this marathon training. Overall, my marathon training went well and I was hitting paces I haven’t seen in years and felt so strong. My Garmin watch predicted I could do the marathon in 3:19 and I honestly would be happy with that time to be back to pre-kid finish times but I was really itching for a PR and envisioned the possibility (3:12:32 PR I have been sitting on since Indianapolis marathon in 2015).

With all this promise I decided to check out my local running store, Gazelle Sports, to look at race shoes. I had many pairs of Saucony Endorphin Pro 2s that I love but they are on the Endorphin Pros 4 now and wanted to try the Saucony Elites. The manager let me try on 6 pairs of racing shoes that might work but I never felt the pop or magic. Some I thought would be good speed work shoes, but they were just okay. She was able to transfer over the Saucony Elite to try so I came back a week later and I felt the magic as soon as I put them on! I haven’t loved a shoe so much! I very much appreciate the time she took with me and all the possible shoe options they had.

Now my coach, Elevate Your Running, had sent me my race plan and she envisions a 3:10 which I honestly felt fit enough for and ready. I really studied the paces and tried to imagine where I would be on the course and how I would feel. The week before the race I had visions of 8 hours of sleep, comfortable easy runs, eating all the carbs…but that proved to be otherwise. I had an ache around the joint of my 2nd toe that felt really flared and I believe started during peak week and I help running through it hoping it would go away. I was using toe spacers, metatarsal orthotics, and rolling my feet to try and heal it myself. I asked my PT husband about it the weeks before and he told me to just rest. Definitely not something I wanted to hear because I only had a couple weeks left and plan to rest after…the week of the race proved I really needed to rest it. I did reach out to a couple other PT running friends (thank you @refinephysicaltherapy and @run_dr.c) for their advice and they also recommended rest. One was willing to see me to calm my nerves. I knew it wasn’t a stress fracture (always use the jump test and I never had any sharp pain, just achy and inflamed), but I like to know what is going on and to do anything to help it. Well hubby finally had some time to work on my foot Wednesday (and Thursday) by dry needling around the joint. It did provide relief, but I still needed to rest. He said no running until my race. So that would be 4 days of no running! I did have a race in 2014, the Marine Corp Marathon, where I had severe IT band pain where I did take the full week of the race off before the race. Let’s just say it wasn’t my best race but I still finished!

The difference between this race and that race though is I can see a PR. I trained so hard, my body is fit, the course is flat, weather is looking pretty good, and I just wanted it so bad. It was more that I’m upset I’m seeing my dream slip away. It was the ugly tears about it! I know it is just running and it won’t change anything or my relationships or coaching. Oh and my SI joint was flared up from my day trip to and from Chicago the Saturday before the race. Sitting in a car for 9 hours did NOT go well. I didn’t sleep the 8 hours I predicted all week, I was lucky if I even got 7. One night (Tuesday) was barely 5 hours because I was freaking out about my injuries and family/work stress piled up. I woke up in the middle of the night to try on my race shoes to see if it bothered my foot. That was the only promising thing that my foot didn’t hurting wearing the shoe but who knows how 26.2 miles in them will feel. I have been warned I am going to really hurt afterwards though. And my HRV put me back in the Strained condition that did not help my mentality.

My family and I arrived in New Jersey on Friday, April 12, after a 6AM flight (again not enough sleep that night but I did nap on the plane). We were lucky to stay with friends who live in the area. They loaded me up with the best NY/NJ bagels that made carb loading so much more enjoyable. Not that I don’t enjoy my Costco bagels I was prepared to eat over the weekend. I did a lot of studying of the course and paces I should be hitting for each portion of the race.

I went to the expo on Friday after a day at a big mall. They had a lot of activities for the kids so they had fun. Jersey City was so busy and I missed the parking garage the expo recommended so took I swear 20 minutes to try and loop back around. By the time I parked I hopped out ran over to the expo, grabbed mine and Elena’s bib and back to my car in all of about 5 minutes that I didn’t even have to pay at the garage ha!

Saturday we went into NYC and took the train and then the subways. It was my kids first time in NYC and using that transportation. They did great walking around the city! We picked up some treats from Magnolia Bakery and I picked out a brownie to enjoy after the race!

Sunday I reserved a parking and arrive at the race by 6am for the 7am start. The temperature was high 40s. The traffic to get there was crazy! I sat in the parking garage for awhile waiting for Elena so I could give her her bib but I had to use the bathroom so I figured I should go wait in line for that. It was crowded then tried to find Elena because she also has traffic issues. In the last 7 minutes before race start I could give her her stuff and then it was go time.

It felt so good to run. I was so happy, my foot wasn’t bothering me at all in my shoes which was great. I figured this will be a good day. My sock started to get annoying for a hot second but that soon got ignored. I felt comfortable in my paces through Mile 7 (7:22-7:27 min/mi but I did hit a couple 7:20s) and enjoyed some other conversations around me. I got to see Elena during an out and back which was encouraging. There were 2 guys running together and one was pacing their friends and was so encouraging and saying to “run your own race” and “you’ll catch them later”. I wanted to stay by them for the race but once Mile 7 came it was time to pick up the pace.

Miles 7-13.1 my paces were 7:15-7:20 min/mi. Still felt good. Taking gels every 3 miles. I had my handheld and grabbed water at every aid station using my straw to drink.

Miles 13.1-20 were supposed to be 7:07-7:10 min/mi. Mentally I wanted at least 7:10-7:15 which I hit through Mile 18! Miles 17-21 were bigger hills than advertised and I kept telling myself I can cruise after the hills. My pace was dropping here and was just trying to hold out. I told myself I couldn’t stop no matter! Mile 18 I was struggling to take my gel and took awhile to take it down.

The last 10k was something else. I did have a bathroom stop at Mile 20 and the porta potty was out of toilet paper!! Grateful for a cup left in there ha. Again I wasn’t stopping, I wanted to finish! My legs just couldn’t pick up the pace. I felt so dehydrated and the sun was baking me. The last stretch to the finish felt all up hill! I did enjoy seeing the NYC skyline. I took a gel at Mile 22 which was later than planned but again was struggling to take down the gels and I think it took 2 miles to finish it. I kept doing the math to figure out what I could get with the last 5k if I at least finished in 30 minutes I could still break 3:20 which was my lowest D goal…

3:18:55 was my chip time. Honestly I was pretty happy with it. It has been a long time since my last marathon. I really didn’t have time to be nervous for this race, my foot held up the whole race. This was still a 7 minute postpartum PR plus a BQ! I know what I was fit for but I need to work on heat training, it is not my friend. Happy to check off another state #24 on my list.

Looks like I went all out and happy to be done here 😆

I’ll take the week recovery. It is more the mental break I am ready for after all the training and early mornings. My body needs to readjust and relax for a bit. I was ready to get back to lifting again and making gains. I have a half marathon and a 5k lined up before I begin marathon training again!

I came home to a fun surprise from my running friends! Felt the love 💕

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