Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
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The Countdown Is On: One Month Until Marathon Day
Today is August 24.
The Hamptons Marathon is on September 24.
Let’s do some math, shall we?
I have one month until race day. One month from today and I’ll be stepping up to that start line with fresh legs, a calm stomach and a crookedly-pinned race bib.
I suck at pinning on race bibs.
In one month, I will feel confident that I can run 26.2 miles for the first time. I’ll have several hundred training miles behind me — some great, some fast, some horridly slow, some awful and some super ugly — logged over the course of four months.
Since I was selected as a finalist in JackRabbit’s Run For The Rabbit competition back in April, my world has revolved around one thing: running the Hamptons Marathon.
I knew marathon training would be a huge undertaking. I’d be under a strict training plan from the Godlike Coach Cane.
My weekdays would involve waking up at 5 am to get in some miles, and my weekends would revolve around my long run.
Friday nights are spent on the couch eating pasta, Saturday mornings mean hours in Central Park, Saturday afternoons are for napping and Saturday evenings are for getting to bed early. Sundays are for recovery runs and getting ready to do it all over again another week.
This morning, as I attempted a 4-mile recovery run — a very slow recovery run including a very pissed off and grumbly stomach — I thought about how things have been going for me and where I stand now that I’m just one month away from the marathon.
MY LEGS are tired all the time. Even after Monday’s total rest day, they were feeling exhausted yesterday. These major miles are taking their toll and most days I feel like my legs are heavy, not light and speedy.
I think I need to actually do yoga, like I told myself I would when training started.
MY ARMS are not toned like they were when training started. I was so good about strength training, but now my weekly workouts are more running-focused and less anything-else-focused. Whatever. I’ll get those muscles back.
MY STOMACH is mostly OK. This morning was rough, but I blame myself for rushing out the door too fast without letting my stomach settle enough. I’m hoping that the Crohn’s flare I dealt with back in May and June is now behind me. I was supposed to get a Remicade treatment today but had to reschedule. I’m planning to get one more before race day in hopes of keeping the Crohn’s away. I’ve also warned/threatened all my coworkers by letting them know they are not allowed to stress me out before the marathon. Afterward? Fine. But before? Get out of my face. Stress = Crohn’s. No stress. No Crohn’s.
MY HAIR is longer and more split-endy than ever. I haven’t had it cut since training started because I’m poor and think spending money on haircuts is silly. New short shorts? Sure. But a measly trim for vanity? Don’t care.
MY SKIN is out of control. I’m breaking out like a 13-year-old boy. I blame the excess sweat that’s constantly seeping out of my pores.
MY PACE seems slower to me. It’s frustrating that I’m not regularly throwing down 8-minute miles like I was before training started. But as Coach Cane pointed out to me this weekend, I’m not training for speed right now. I’m training for distance. My pace is less important, especially since this is my first marathon.
MY FEET are disgusting. After the Fairfield Half Marathon, I had some toenail issues. I am pretty sure that I am currently growing three toenails on one toe on my left foot. It’s very sexy. And a deep shade of purple.
MY SNEAKERS are now retired. Several months of Bridle Path running did a number on them. I’ve never smelled anything worse. And they’re dark brown, which is not the color they’re supposed to be. Tomorrow I’ll start wearing my shiny new pair of Brooks Adrenaline 11s — the shoes I’ll run the marathon in.
MY PANTS feel tighter. I don’t weigh myself so I can’t tell you whether I’ve gained weight or not during training. But I can tell you that I’m regularly eating like a ravenous beast and that I definitely don’t think I’ve lost weight. Regardless of whatever the scale says or how my clothes fit, I can tell you with confidence that I’m in the strongest shape of my life and that I can kick the ass of many people I know. Bring it. Try me.
MY MENTAL STATE is debatable — but that’s nothing new. I’m still feeling incredibly motivated and excited about the marathon, though admittedly my string of frustrating races has brought me down a bit. I’m just hoping that since I’m going into the marathon without strict time goals or expectations, I’ll just be able to enjoy the experience without worrying so much about my pace.
MY FAMILY & FRIENDS have been so supportive. They understand my commitment to this race and haven’t given me a hard time about going to bed early, waking up ridiculously early and devoting my entire summer to training. Having them behind me has made all this much easier and more fun.
MY FUNDRAISING is a work in progress. I’m so deeply grateful and appreciative of all the donations that have come pouring in so far, and I’m honored to be running this marathon on behalf of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
The event at JackRabbit was a huge success, but I’m still holding steady in third place in the fundraising competition.
I know I won’t win the Hamptons Marathon. That would be cool…but also insane and impossible.
But I know I can win the fundraising competition and the fight against Crohn’s Disease. More “I Heart Sweat” shirts will be available for online purchase soon. You can also make an online donation to my cause by clicking here. It’s easy. And it’s cool. And I love you.
I can’t believe that I’m going to run a marathon in one month.
At this time last year, I thought marathoners were crazy, psycho athletes. I had no desire to run a marathon.
And then one day, I did want to run a marathon.
Now here I am — willing, able and eager to dominate 26.2 miles. My legs are tired. My heart is heavy. My foam roller is my best friend. My meals could feed a medium-sized village. My Garmin is my favorite accessory. My laundry is 95% sweat-stained workout clothes.
I’m so freakin’ excited.
TELL ME: How’s your training going? I know many of you out there are currently training for a fall race, whether it’s a 5K, half marathon, full marathon or beastly relay. How has training changed you, physically, mentally, emotionally?