In just a few short months, I will be running my very first marathon! I will be running the foot levelers Blue Ridge Mountain Marathon
. This is affectionately called America’s Toughest Road Marathon
, and based on everything I’ve been reading about it, that is a pretty accurate assessment of this race.
My First Attempt at Marathon Training
I originally was planning to run the Marine Corps Marathon as my first marathon ever. This was very scary and intimidating to me because they had a limit for your pace and I went through and I looked at all the different celebrities who’ve run races. I asked myself, “can I run faster than Oprah? Can I run faster than P Diddy? I don’t know. I don’t think I can run fast. I don’t think I can make the time cutoff and I don’t want to be picked up by the sag wagon!“
Ever since I started getting into running, I’ve felt like I am very slow and that I have to constantly apologize for my pace – offering up obsequious apologies before anyone even asks me my pace or shares their own. I’m always apologizing. It’s constant. It’s unnecessary. Quite frankly, it’s a horrible habit!
“I’m sorry. I’m so slow. I’m sorry. I’m slowing you down.”
My pace is a running insecurity of mine that goes beyond negative self-talk. It’s also something that I’m working on, and I’m hoping that one day, I’ll get to a good place where I don’t even consider offering up apologies when they’re uncalled for.
[Fun fact: One thing that I’ve started doing to start to break this bad habit: Posting my pace/time on social media when I finish I run. I used to hide these from everyone!]
Long story short, I decided to defer my Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) race, because about halfway through my training cycle, I felt that I just wasn’t going to be able to complete the race at the required pace. I just didn’t feel confident. And, honestly, if I’m not feeling confident about something, it’s better that I do not do it because sometimes I do something that I don’t feel confident in and I get injured, or I just get completely discouraged and it’s a mental game the entire time.
So, on days, where I feel like I don’t feel comfortable or confident doing something, I just don’t do it.
I grant myself some grace and say, you know what? Maybe this isn’t your time?
But now? Now, it is my time. Now, I am ready to tackle a marathon, and while yes, it’s crazy that I’m doing the hardest marathon that I could possibly come up with, I’m here. I’m doing it.
So let me tell you a little bit about why I am doing this race and how I got myself signed up for it.
How I Came to Sign Up for the Blue Ridge Marathon
A few months back, when I attended Camp Flex & Flow, I learned that there was a Blue Ridge Marathon and Half Marathon.
One night, we had an indoor campfire activity that involved smores and prizes. Afterward, everyone was getting ready to head back to their cabins, and Jamie King – founder and Peer-Pressurer In Chief at Flex & Flow – was talking about this race.
She asked, “do you want to do it?”
I was like, “yeah!” To be honest, Jamie can peer pressure me into pretty much anything.
She said, “here’s a code for free entry!” To add to the hyping up of this race, some of my other camp friends were excited to do it too. We all decided we were going to do this dang thang. I was all pumped!
I’m going to run a marathon – finally!
Once I returned home from Grown-Up Summer Camp, I had my little entry code sheet in my hand, ready to register. Upon registering for the race, I have a confirmation pop-up that tells me something to the effect of, “Congratulations, brave soul! You signed up for America’s Toughest Road Marathon!”
That’s when the panic set in.
That’s when my fears that in.
But I went ahead with mentally preparing myself to prepare for the race.
My Distance Running Experience
I don’t want you all to believe that I’ve never run long distances before, because, from the sound of it and the listing of all of my fears, you may have reached the conclusion that I’ve never run longer than a 5k. Believe it or not, that’s not actually the case!
Needless to say, I still have to train for this. I don’t know how my body is going to react, and, perhaps more important, I don’t know how my mind is going to react.
My Marathon Training Plan
It’s really going to be a test for me, but I’m excited about it. I’m using the latest edition of Run Less Run Faster (Amazon affiliate link)
. I’ve used this book while training for other distances, and it’s been clutch. I found that the thrice-weekly running plan was perfect for preventing overuse injuries; in the past, I got injured due to all of my cross-training and other activities. So many race training programs are catered to people whose main – and even sole – activity is running.
There’s a 16-week plan that I’ll be using, which has me starting in just about a month (Christmas Day, to be exact)! I am working on building up my mileage in the meantime, as the training program wants you to be consistently running at least 16 miles weekly before you start marathon training.
It seems appropriate to start the new year out with this new training program underway, heading towards this new goal and the new mindset that’s required.
Follow along as I share various things that I learn throughout my marathon training, and I hope that you find some value in it. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me here on the blog or on social media.