Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Is It

This is it. I've made my decision. May 15 is my deadline.

This is my Year of the Marathon.
So I need some accountability, and this blog is it. Now I need some running partners - even if it's virtually.
This is my second year running races. Before I had my second child who is now almost 2, I was running a little. When I was in my first trimester with her, I was up to 8 miles. That was the furthest I had ever ran.

Last April, a friend of mine told me she was training for a half marathon in Rexburg, Idaho. At that point, I was a little behind a regular schedule, running about 5 to 6 miles on Saturdays. So I caught up to a training schedule, and on May 30 ran my first race in Sun Valley, Idaho. My brother ran the half marathon distance, winning his age group, while I ran a 12k (strange distance, I know). I ran the race in 1:13:52. My time averaged 9:55, and I got a nasty blister. But my goal was 10:00, so I was satisfied. I also found out later that I placed 2nd in my age group - yeah, not that many people ran the 12k.

June 13 arrived, and with it my first half marathon, the Teton Dam Run in Rexburg, Idaho. I ran the majority of the race with my good friend, until she had to walk at mile 10. I don't usually walk at all while running (a technique I'm planning on changing to get this higher distance). I somehow dug in and ran the last 3 miles in about 27 minutes. My total time was 2:06, a 9:14 pace. What a dramatic improvement over my previous race 2 weeks prior! I was thrilled. I also couldn't walk for a couple of days.

I had such a runner's high from the experience, that I decided to plan another half marathon for that summer, and chose the Top of Utah Half Marathon, since the finish line is conveniently located just down the street from my house and I could easily do practice runs on the course itself to lead up to the big race. But I didn't know what to do to train for it. I didn't want to go to a training schedule that put me back at 3 mile runs, so I just kept running as much as I could.

I also got some running companions who pushed me to improve my time, and also helped me to keep a consistent pace, something I struggle with. It was great to talk to someone on my long runs, as my playlist was starting to get a little tiresome.

My two main running partners and I trained for the Blacksmith Fork Freedom Run held, of course, on July 4. This was a great training race for me, as it was a 15k held about 8 weeks before my next half, and followed much the same course of the half. I averaged just under a 9:00 mile, my fastest time yet. I think running with someone who could keep me on pace really helped. My big lesson from this race was the importance of spandex. I tried to look stylish in some looser shorts, and ended up with nasty chaffing that caused a great deal of pain for several days following the race

My next race was the most fun and fittingly titled the Caribou County Fair Fun Run. My brother and I ran this race in 40 degree temperatures with rain pouring down in August. For some reason, that made it fun. He won the race, I placed second in my age group (again, not many runners!). I was clocked at just under 27 minutes for the 5k, but I don't think it was really 3.1 miles. And we were soaked. Once I stepped outside and saw what the weather was like, I wouldn't have ran the race if I hadn't already registered for it. I just couldn't let that $8 go.

I continued running up to the August 29 Top of Utah Half Marathon. My running partners bailed on me - one ended up out of town that weekend and the other had to stop long distance running due to knee problems. I had been doing a few runs with another friend who was training for the full TOU marathon in September, but her pace was slower than what I wanted to run. So I was running this race by myself, and I was worried about keeping pace. But the first half of the race was a downhill course, and I'd ran it a couple times. I knew it was easy, and blew through the first 7 miles in 60 minutes. Really fast for me. The next 2.6 miles are a flat road that runners complain about. It hadn't seemed like a big deal to me when I ran it. But as I continued to hear runners groaning about when the horrible road would end, I couldn't keep up my fast pace. Then came the little itty bitty hill, around mile 10. My legs started to cramp, something that's never happened to me during a run before. I tried walking, but it only seemed to make it worse. Somehow I struggled to the finish line in 2:02, still my fastest time yet.

Ten minutes after I completed the race, the runner's high kicked in and I thought about running in the TOU marathon 3 weeks later. My brother and common sense talked me out of it. I hadn't trained properly for that distance. So I instead finished out the season with a 10k fun run in Wellsville on Labor Day with my training partner, and finished in about 56 minutes. Then I took a break from running.

It's cold in Utah now, and I don't care much for running in the cold. So I'm back in the gym on the treadmill now. It's already getting a bit monotonous. I have been working on speed an inclines. I can consistently run a 5k in 27 minutes on a flat, or with a slight .5 or 1.0 incline. I have some work to do.

I'll finish this post by saying I'm not a "runner." At least, not the typical runner with long, graceful yet powerful legs and a tiny waistline. I'm a bit chubby and my legs get chaffed from rubbing together if I don't wear the right type of shorts. I run to keep my sanity from being a stay at home mom. I run to stay healthy. I run because my brother who also runs has MS, and if he can do it, so can I. I run because I want my family see that it is important to me to stay fit. I run because I enjoy the runner's high. I run because I like to impress people by saying that I'm training for a MARATHON.

So run with me! Unless you have a physical ailment like bad knees, you CAN do it! It won't be easy, I promise you that. All the training leading up to it isn't even that much fun. Especially if you're doing it alone. So let's do it together. I'd love to have guest bloggers telling about their own training and racing experiences and how they overcome the mental block that makes you think your body just can't do it. You don't have to be training for the Ogden Marathon, or even a marathon at all. Maybe you're just going for your first 5k run. Or perhaps you're a seasoned marathoner, and you're ready to run another, or even to take your next step to do an Ironman Triathlon.

Whatever it is, leave a comment telling me what you are planning or would like to do, and if you'd like to be a guest blogger. Let's motivate each other! I know I'll need your help and encouragement to accomplish this goal!


  1. Jill I think it is awesome that you are running these races. When I started at the U of U about three years ago everyone was training for some sort of race. I always laughed and said you guys are crazy. I became very close friends with girls in my department that are runners and so for the past two years I have been running with them. The two girls I run with are awesome and have encouraged me to start running however I would have a lot of work to do to ever be able to catch up with them. They run half marathon's all the time. My first run ever was a simple 5K however simple for most it was tough for The next year I talked ruth into running the 5k with me. I have just done two 5k's and a 10K. the two 5K's are always the Salt Lake City run and the 10K was the Boulder Boulder Run in Colorado. That race was awesome with over 50,000 people running along your sides. We also sign up for the half marathon that happens every October in San Fransico but it is a draw and we havn't been lucky enough to be selected for it. It's great to hear your stories. I will be checking your blog for your future runs good luck.

  2. Jill...I am so excited for you. And I am here for you. I decided to train for my 1/2 Jan 9th of last year. Right in the dead of winter in Logan. When the race day came in mid April I had only ran outside 4 times!! Although so boring to train indoors it can be done. You could also go die hard like a good friend of mine that also trained during that same time and did it ALL outside, 5:00 am and bitter cold. That is possible too. Just not for me! So I am here for you. Let's do it!