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It’s the weekend!

Friday! Woohoo! I get to leave work a little early today so J and I can head down south. One of our very good friends is getting married this weekend. And being a super-awesome bride – she has chosen to get married at Zion National Park, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Here’s some pictures of our visit there in fall 2010.

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Again – I’m reminded how lucky I am to live in Utah where I can drive 4 hours and be in this place! Plus what’s better than a weekend of camping and partying with your best friends!

This week has been run-free and totally great. My foot (which wasn’t that sore to begin with) hasn’t been bothering me but I’m still determined to take another week off before my slowly returning to running. I also have been sleeping in til 7 AM every morning. I think I’ll wait until Daylight Savings ends before going back to my 6 AM workouts.

But I have been staying active. I’ve biked into work three days this week. I was meant to do it again today but had major chain issues -> bike fail. It’s only a little over 3.5 miles but it is literally uphill the whole way and takes about 35 mins. But coming home is totally free-wheeling and a ton of fun. I’ve also hit the pool twice. The U has a pool that’s open for lane swimming every weeknight from 6-10 PM and it’s pretty quiet. My short term goal (I’m following a 6 week program) is to be able to swim 1 whole mile without stopping. I also did a quick strength workout (no yoga until my foot is back to normal) including my longest plank ever – 3 1/2 minutes – this was made a little easier because Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off kept me company. Damn – that is one catchy song!

Finally, I’m happy to announce that I’ve managed to complete one of my goals for the year! At some point during my marathon I managed to tick off 1000 miles for the year. I’m hoping in a week I can get back out there and add a couple more!

Happy weekend!

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Recipes! – What I’ve been eating this week!

I am not a fun person to be around at 6PM – that is my hangry time. When I get home from work I want to eat as quickly as possible. But, I want to keep my meals interesting and relatively healthy. This week I’ve made two of my favorites that are easy to make and pretty versatile so I thought I’d share them with you guys.

Thai vegetable and noodle soup

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This recipe is so easy and is a great way to use up whatever vegetables you have in your fridge.

1 tbsp Thai red curry paste

1/2 can coconut milk (regular or light)

1 cup broth or water

1 package noodles (I prefer egg but rice works too – as long as it cooks in 10 mins or less it should work)

1 tsp brown sugar (leave out if you don’t like sweeter curries)

 

Vegetables (I usually use 1 carrot cut into sticks, broccoli florets, sliced mushrooms, shredded green cabbage)

6 large campari tomatoes halved (bigger than cherry tomatoes but smaller than regular sized)

1 tbsp fish sauce

juice of 1 lime

1 green onion sliced

bunch of cilantro chopped

unsalted peanuts chopped

1. In a wok, heat red curry paste in a small amount of oil until fragrant – about 3-4 mins.

2. Add coconut milk and mix. Add broth/water and brown sugar and bring to a simmer.

3. Add vegetables. If you want to add protein you can add a salmon fillet at this stage to poach. Sometimes I add small cubes of tofu. I cook these for 10 mins.

4. Add noodles. The noodles that I use require 4 mins cooking time.

5. Once everything is cooked I add my tomatoes and let them soften for 1 minute.

6. Take off the heat and add the fish sauce and lime juice.

7. Spoon into bowls and garnish. In my opinion the garnish really makes this dish. I love to add chopped green onion, cilantro and peanuts.

Serves 2. Done in 20 mins!

Pasta bake

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This is what I’ll be having for dinner tonight! I prepped it last night so all I’ll have to do is stick it in the oven at 350F for 25 mins while I take a shower after working out. This is adapted from a couple of recipes on Skinnytaste.

8 oz pasta

1-2 spicy Italian chicken sausage (use vegan/vegetarian alternative if you avoid meat)

1/2 onion diced

sliced mushrooms (I use half a pack)

1/2 bottle of Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash pasta sauce (this is the quick and easy way)

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1/2 butternut squash – chopped, boiled and pureed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup broth

4ish sage leaves sliced

Handful of baby spinach

mozzarella

parmesan

1. Boil pasta – usually I cook it for 1-2 mins less than indicated

2. Squeeze sausage meat out of casing and fry in olive oil for a 4-5 mins.  Remove from pan.

3. Cook onions until soft 3-4 mins. Add mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add butternut squash sauce/puree. Also add broth, Parmesan, cooked sausage and sage leaves. Mix well. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins. Keep an eye on it and add more broth/water if it looks to dry.

5. Remove from heat. Add cooked pasta and spinach. Mix well until spinach wilts. Empty into oiled 9×9 baking dish.

6. Top with mozzarella – the amount is up to you. Finish with grated Parmesan.

7. Cook for 25 mins at 350F or until cheese becomes bubbly and slightly browned.

Serves 4. Enjoy!

Breakfast sandwich: Baby spinach, tomato, avocado and fried egg. I think I'd eat this everyday if I could.

It’s official – October is just not my month

I had hoped to post about my first experience running with a local running group after finally having the time (and inclination) to meet up for one of their Saturday group runs……………but life had other plans. So let’s rewind to the start of the week.

Monday: Strength workout

Tuesday: 4 mile easy run around 9 min/mile pace. This was mentally a struggle but got it done.

Wednesday: I finally figured out how the lap function on my Garmin works so I decided I’d try to do a couple of mile repeats – and I mean literally a couple as in two. One mile warm-up. One mile at 7.14 min/mile pace. Half mile recovery. One mile at 7.10 min/mile pace. Half mile recovery and then an easy run home. It felt hard but in a good way and I was excited to move fast again.

Thursday: Slept in and skipped an early morning run. PM strength workout.

Friday: 15.1 miles on the stationary bike.

On Thursday I woke up with an annoying pain in my foot that got worse as the day progressed. I made a call pretty early in the day to take a rest day from running. But by the evening (and after my gym session) I couldn’t put any weight on my right foot and I was freaking out. A quick google search only increased my freak-out levels. My pain had a sudden onset and was in the exact place where you get a stress fracture.

On Friday, I called to get a same day appointment at a local clinic (yay for fall break and working on a university campus!). The doctor checked me out and was convinced that I didn’t have a fracture…………YET……….but all my symptoms suggested that if I didn’t take a break from running it would only be a matter of time…………Her advice: two weeks with no running. Then try some short distances but stop if there is any pain. Still good to bike, swim, ellipticise. No yoga, climbing or single leg exercises.

Bummer! I’ll have to pull out of the Snow Canyon half marathon due to injury for the second year in a row. In October 2013 I ran exactly ZERO miles. This year I’ve done a little better (about 50 miles) but that is me done for the month. It seems like my body just gives out after 10 months of solid training. Stupid overuse injuries.

On the plus side I have lots of options for getting cardio in. The weather was so beautiful in SLC this weekend – blue skies in the 70s – that I biked to work (and the pool) on Saturday, and then to the gym on Sunday. The distances are pretty short but man, everything is uphill! But it makes coming home a lot easier.

I don’t feel much pain. The doctor was able to move my foot around with no problems so she’s pretty confident that I’m in the earliest possible stages which means faster recovery and I have the OK to take ibuprofen if I need to.

I’m actually a little relieved. Ssssh don’t tell anyone! I guess I was a little more burned out from the marathon than I realized, and knowing that I had a potential half marathon coming up I couldn’t truly relax. No that the race is off the table and I’m under doctor’s orders to NOT run – well I can do that.

Most importantly – I’m so glad that this happened AFTER the marathon. I can’t even think about how bummed I’d be if I had trained for 18 weeks and had to pull out of my goal race for a stress fracture (which I don’t actually have – a stress response is what she called it).

So as much as it sucks to be injured – it has happened at the best possible time and as far as injuries go – it’s one of the milder ones.

Plus my trail running buddy is also on the injury list so we can be comeback buddies in a couple of weeks.

So I spent the weekend biking around town – just because it is so beautiful outside right now and in a couple of weeks I know that winter will hit hard. I found a Couch-to-1 mile swimming program that I can do at the pool right by my work – that at least gives me some idea of what I should be doing in the pool. Day one was 4×100 yds, 4×50 yds and 4×25 yds. A nice warm up to the pool. I started this last year when I was injured but never got as far as a full mile so that is my goal this time around. Sunday was 6.2 mile on the elliptical followed by a bunch of core stuff – including a 3 minute plank which is probably the longest I’ve ever done.

And in case you were worried the health center were on top of things and asked if I had recently traveled to West Africa. I got the all clear from Ebola but made sure to get my flu shot.

This weekend was mostly a solo one for me – which means lots of delicious eats. For some reason, when I’m cooking for myself it always involves fries – sweet or regular oven fries. And I’m a little obsessed with brussel sprouts right now. I also got to catch up with some new shows – How to get away with Murder – so awesome.

New wok!

New wok!

Crockpot chicken drumsticks.

Crockpot chicken drumsticks.

Chicken tenders with sweet potato fries - plus all the toppings.

Chicken tenders with sweet potato fries – plus all the toppings.

Homemade fries, roasted brussel sprouts and homemade fishsticks.

Homemade fries, roasted brussel sprouts and homemade fishsticks.

Breakfast sandwich: Baby spinach, tomato, avocado and fried egg. I think I'd eat this everyday if I could.

Breakfast sandwich: Baby spinach, tomato, avocado and fried egg. I think I’d eat this everyday if I could.

And last night I persuaded J to come and see Gone Girl with me. I loved it – although I think a lot of people were not happy with the ending. In return, we visited a local beer bar before the movie.

Delicious!

Delicious!

And did I mention that the movie theater is a bar…………I’m not sure why this isn’t the general rule for all of them?

Anyone had a stress fracture before?

Do you have special food you cook when you’re flying solo?

Anyone else seen Gone Girl? Opinions?

Love my yoga studio. Not quite sure why he's standing on a baby though.

Returning to normal………….

The post-marathon PR glow has finally subsided and things are getting back to normal around here.

I finally got to a yoga class. So many lunges and downward facing dogs – my legs were loving it. My calf tightness is gone. Yes! Lesson for me: do not stop doing yoga when training for a marathon – your calves will thank you.

Love my yoga studio. Not quite sure why he's standing on a baby though.

Love my yoga studio. Not quite sure why he’s standing on a baby though.

This class also worked on half-moon pose which is my absolute least favorite yoga pose ever. But the teacher made it seem pretty fun – that or I was just so excited to be back on my yoga mat.

If only I looked this good.

If only I looked this good.

I also did a one night camping trip in American Fork Canyon. The fall colors up there are spectacular. And you’re just going to have to take my word for it as my iPhone is acting all weird at the moment.

This is pretty much what it looks like right now.

This is pretty much what it looks like right now. Not my photo.

I also managed to put up my tent all by myself – which I think means that I am now an adult. Usually, I just hold things while J does all of the hard work. It was a pretty great Saturday night hanging out by the campfire. But my God – during the night there was heavy rain, howling winds, thunder, lightening and hail. I did not sleep much – I was too worried the tent would fly away and carry me to Oz.  It was still raining by 7.30 AM (camping mornings are always early) so we packed up as quickly as possible. This meant more driving through beautiful autumnal scenery followed by the most amazing brunch at Sundance Resort.

On Saturday morning I headed out on my first ‘long’ run since the marathon. This was 8.85 miles of not-fun running. I wanted to some mileage in because I will be running a half marathon on Nov 1st – thank you kind race folk for letting me defer after last years injury combo (sciatica and hip bursitis).

So my carb loading continues………………..

Local brewery. Utah has weird liquor laws so they opened a place in Denver.

Local brewery. Utah has weird liquor laws so they opened a place in Denver.

Kale and mushroom-stuffed lasagne rolls.

Kale and mushroom-stuffed lasagne rolls.

I am beyond obsessed with skinnytaste (that is where this recipe is from) and just got her new cookbook as a gift. I am so excited to try out some recipes this weekend.

Am I am still waiting for my new shoes! UPS messed up the delivery last week so I am hoping to get to try them soon.

Finally, I got some marathon photos (at Twin Cities you also get a link to a video showing you cross the finish line). There are a couple of cute ones of J and I running earlier in the race but the finish line seemed to be a little crowded as we were crossing.

Smiling and looking for the camera (for once). I think this might have been mile 14?

Smiling and looking for the camera (for once). I think this might have been mile 14?

Crossing the finish line - and so relieved to be done.

Crossing the finish line – and so relieved to be done.

Marathon recovery

It’s been 5 days since my first marathon and I’m finally starting to feel normal again. Honestly, I had no idea how my body would cope with running 26.2 miles but wanted to write a post for any other first timers about what they can expect for the post-marathon week.

Towards the end of the race itself I knew I was going to be sore. My legs felt SOoooooo tired – my left calf and both quads were busy letting me know how pissed off they were for subjecting them to this race. And they pretty much stayed that way until Tuesday night (the race was Sunday morning).

The muscle pain was similar to what I’ve felt after a particularly hard half marathon (avoid all stairs + sit down as much as possible in work) but it feels as if there’s a whole extra layer of muscle fatigue that I’ve never experienced before. My legs feel heavy – although this is slowly improving.

So what have I been doing?

Sleeping! 7 AM wake-ups for me and usually in bed by 10 PM. That is a lot of sleep for me but I totally need it right now. No 6 AM runs or gym sessions.

Drinking a ton of water. I’m hydrating like it’s my job.

Eating better. A 3 week vacation followed by carb loading has left me feeling a little squishier than I would like. With training volume WAY down and no longer having daily access to cheap Chianti I’m getting my diet back on track. Lots of veggies, not much meat and as unprocessed as possible.

Some cardio. On Wednesday I was itching to get my legs moving again so I went to the gym and did 5.5 miles on the stationary bike. Very easy and nice to flush all that crap out. After work on Thursday I jumped on the treadmill for 3 easy miles. My legs were still feeling pretty heavy but it felt good to be running again.

Foam rolling. I have a huge knot in my left calf that I’m trying to get rid of using my foam roller. It’s the right kind of hurt. Plus lots of stretching.

Cross-training. Marathon training takes up a lot of time and I definitely had to sacrifice other activities.I haven’t been to yoga or to my rock climbing gym since the start of August (!). Hopefully, that will be changing next week. My hard-won arm definition is long gone so I’m hoping to get in more strength training time.

So what’s next? Well, last year I signed up to run my second half marathon (Snow Canyon half) but had to pull out due to injury. I emailed the race organizer who said I could defer my entry until 2014. That means in theory I should be running a half on Nov 1st. Originally, I was pretty excited about this. I could use all of my marathon training to bang out a new half marathon PR. Plus it’s a really fast and pretty course.

Well – I’ve tried to get back in touch with the race organizer and so far no dice. I’m also feeling a bit meh about racing again. I figure if I hear from her I’ll run it but if the deferral isn’t going to work out I’m not going to care that much.

But what I have signed up for – the Ogden Marathon – May 16th 2015. I ran the half marathon at this event as my first ever race back in 2013 and want to go back and do the whole thing. That day was pretty miserable – non-stop rain from 1 hour before the race until after I crossed the line. But it was a beautiful course down Ogden canyon. It’ll be a complete U-turn after Twin Cities but something to get me motivated to go running on dark February mornings.

And finally, my reward to myself for finishing my first marathon. New shoes! What else could a runner want.

2216876-p-MULTIVIEWI’ve been interested in trying out some Altras for a while but wanted to wait until after the marathon to transition into zero drop shoes. Plus they were $50 on amazon. I’ve bought a couple of shoes through amazon. Usually they are sold directly through the company (these are from Altra and are $15 cheaper than their own website) and can be Prime eligible. Hopefully, these guys will be waiting for me when I get home from work later today.

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Twin Cities Marathon Recap

Take two: My browser just crashed before I could save my 1000-word recap.

Wow! What an experience! My first ever marathon on a beautiful course with the most amazing crowd support. And a race that went as perfectly as I could have hoped.

Marathon resultsMy main goal going into this race was not to hit the wall and have a miserable time. The plan was to go out slowly and keep even splits and maybe speed up in the second half. I did have a time goal – which is not recommended for newbies like me. But it was a very loose goal and I wasn’t going to beat myself up if I was falling behind. I wanted to feel comfortable for the first 18 miles and the goal was to run by feel. I did pick up a 3.45 pace band at the expo but only started to look at it at the halfway point where I was 2 minutes behind target pace but was pretty sure I would finish sub 4 hours. I actually only hit the goal mile splits at mile 26! I wanted to enjoy the race but also to get the most out of my 18 weeks training and get a race time that I could be proud of. For my first full distance I decided to be conservative and it definitely paid off (hello – almost 3 minute negative split!).

Now to the race details. Race day started at 5.30 AM with a breakfast of toast and a little bit of water (I ate half a granola bar at 7 AM). I was feeling surprisingly relaxed – maybe because I hadn’t put too much pressure on myself and I would have J running the entire course with me. We left at 6.15 AM and parked in downtown Minneapolis about two blocks from the race start.

The weather was a little cooler than I had expected –  38 F at the start with a high of about 50 F for the day. The morning was pretty sunny and I wore shorts with a long sleeve shirt plus some running gloves that I kept on for the whole race. My fingers and toes were a little numb for the first couple of miles but after that I felt fine. We dropped our sweat bags at 7.45 AM and headed to our corral. We placed ourselves between the 3.35 and 3.45 pacers and waited for the start. We crossed the line at 8.02 AM and headed towards downtown.

I had expected to feel pretty emotional at the end of the race, but it was actually at the start where I got a lump in my throat. Being surrounded by 8000 runners and ready to see where my 18 weeks of training would get me – I was already on a high.

The first couple of miles were through downtown Minneapolis and some of the nearby suburbs. We went out slower than goal pace and were just trying to take it all in. There were a couple of smallish hills and plenty of spectators lining the route. I felt sluggish for these first couple of miles and was a little worried that I was going to have a bad day. Then I remembered that it usually takes me 3-4 miles to warm up on my long runs and I just tried to relax and talked to J about all of the cool things that we were seeing on the route.

Mile 1: 8.48

Mile 2: 8.54

Mile 3: 8.29

After mile 3 we headed towards the parkway that runs around some of the lakes.

Twin Cities courseThey don’t call this the most scenic urban marathon for nothing. Most of the race had views of the lakes and the parks that surround them. There were also beautiful houses (we made a game of finding our dream house as we ran) and people out biking and running on the trails. It was so scenic – although these roads are normally for one way traffic and at some points turned a little narrow which made it a little difficult to pass people.

And the crowds! Holy crap! They were amazing. There were people out in their front yards blasting music, holding up some pretty funny signs, offering plenty of free high fives, fruit, popcorn, beer. We ran under a balloon arch, by drum bands, brass bands, a guy playing bagpipes, a guy playing a piano. Everything you could imagine. It was immensely humbling that people would give up their Sunday morning to watch people run 26.2 miles. It felt like we were running through a whole bunch of block parties. Being my first marathon, I have nothing to compare it to but it’s hard to imagine better spectators.

I’ve read a couple of race reports that say the first half of the marathon always goes by really fast, and as hard as it sounds it’s definitely true. The first half was pretty flat and maybe a little downhill. I was feeling good – just a little tight in my hip flexors – but overall very comfortable.

Mile 4: 8.36

Mile 5: 8.36

Mile 6: 8.39

Mile 7: 8.43

Mile 8: 8.31

Mile 9: 8.37

Mile 10: 8.23

Mile 11: 8.22

Mile 12: 8.25

Mile 13: 8.28

We went through 13.1 miles in 1.53.46. I knew that we would be crossing the bridge into St Paul at mile 19 so we kept a steady pace and tried to take everything in.

Mile 14: 8.36

Mile 15: 8.26

Mile 16: 8.28

Mile 17: 8.33

Mile 18: 8.28

Mile 19: 8.28

Mile 18 was the first place that I started to feel tired. On my long runs I had started to tired as early as mile 14 so I felt confident that we were going at a pace that we could keep until the finish line.

If you look at the elevation profile for this race, there is a monster hill from mile 20-23. I made a deal with myself that I would push through this hill and then hold on for the last three miles (which are downhill). Luckily for me, all of my hilly training runs around Salt Lake paid off, and to me this section was largely a non-event hill wise. Sure there was one short, steep section but overall it was fine. If you did any hill training you would be totally fine for this section.

Mile 20: 8.20

Mile 21: 8.13

Mile 22: 8.32

Mile 23: 8.30

Mile 24 is where things stared getting tough. My legs were tired. I knew that if I dug deep I could keep my pace for two more miles. And that’s the game I played with myself – you can run two miles, 1.5 miles, one more mile. Just before mile 26 we turned a corner and suddenly saw the Capitol building and the finish line. I looked at my watch and saw that I had two minutes to finish under 3.45 – so I went for it.

Mile 24: 8.20

Mile 25: 8.26

Mile 26: 8.18

Second half in 1.50.51 and a finish time of 3.44.37 (average pace 8.35 min/mile).

I think what helped during those last few miles was a familiarity with being uncomfortable. I had done long runs on tired legs, tempo runs where I had to really push to finish, trail races where I had to run up and then up so more. My training really got my used to reading my body and knowing the difference between real pain and when I was tired but could still keep going.

Once we were done I ate everything in sight – chocolate milk, fruit cup, chicken and veggie broth, chips, and clif bars. We then picked up our sweats and tried to stay warm (they give you a foil blanket when you get your medal). I also got a massage (would recommend) before picking up a finishers shirt and heading to the beer garden for a celebratory can of Summit beer.

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My calves and quads were not happy and are still sore today but I can live with some muscle pain after such a great race. I couldn’t have asked for a better debut. I surprised myself by actually ENJOYING it way more than I thought was possible. I’ve even signed up for my next full in May 2015. This may be the start of a major marathon addiction!

Reflections on training for my first marathon

Yesterday marked the final training run in my 18 week marathon cycle. A chilly 4 mile tempo run. 2 miles at 7.14 min/male pace sandwiched with a downhill warm-up mile and an uphill recovery mile (7.41 min/mile average). I have a two mile shakeout run scheduled for Saturday and then M-Day – the Twin Cities marathon – my first ever 26.2 miles.

J has agreed to run this race with me (he has already qualified for and been accepted into the Boston marathon and this one is just for fun), and last night he asked me what pace I was planning on running. For me, as a first-time marathoner, this is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. I’ve trained hard over the last 18 weeks and want to show that in my time. Personally, it’s not enough just to finish. I need to do “well” but I’m not exactly sure what that means. On the other hand my major freak is hitting the all – and especially hitting it early by going out too fast. I had the pleasure (!) of experiencing this on my first 20 miler and do not want this to happen with another 6ish miles to go.

I started to look back over my training schedule. I followed Hal Higdon’s Intermediate plan (Hal has gotten me through my first 3 half marathons).

Monday: Rest or strength training day

Tuesday: Slow, recovery run. These varied from 3-5.25 miles and generally ranged in pace 8.50-9.20 min/miles.

Wednesday: For the first couple of weeks I took these easy. I ran a half marathon on the second weekend and was coming back from injury. But from week 6 onwards this became a steady state run. Ranging from 5.5-9.3 miles with paces averaging 7.50 min/miles.

Thursday: For 10/18 weeks this was a morning trail run that was super fun mainly because I had a running buddy which definitely makes the time go by so much faster.

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: I ran four races during this time, all of which fell on Saturdays;

Utah Valley Half Marathon 01.40.35

Park City Trail Series 5K 00.23.33

Park City Trail Series 10K 00.54.01

Park City Trail Series 15K 01.19.41

There had to be a couple of switching things around to make room for awesome vacations to Great Basin National Park and white water rafting. And of course the Hood to Coast relay which I realized I have yet to do a recap on. Oops. Six of the other Saturdays were also fast (for me). Ranging from 5-8 miles around 7.45-8.05 min/mile pace.

One of the things I wanted to practice during my training was to get used to running long runs on tired legs. So the Park City Trail races and my Saturday fast runs were followed by Sunday long runs. I peaked with two 20 milers but also had 15, 15, 17, and 18 mile runs in too. The average pace was around 8.55 min/mile. Peak week hit 45 miles but over the 18 weeks I was averaging 35ish miles for a total of 550ish miles total. Can you tell I’m a data nerd?

I feel pretty prepared. I made all of my scheduled long runs. I only missed one run due to injury (way back in week 3). And I think I’m as ready as I can be. But I’m still running a new distance for the first time and am a little totally nervous about it. On the plus side – I’ll be running a pretty flat course at sea level on fully rested legs. I have friends who have run this race multiple times and tell me the crowd support is amazing so I’m hoping for a race day adrenaline boost. And it looks like it’ll be pretty cool temperatures.

Using a race time predictor with my half marathon times (all around 1.40 -/+ a couple of minutes), it suggest that I should be able to run 3.30. I feel that this is way too ambitious for a first marathon, so I’m thinking around 3.45 (8.35 min/mile pace) if everything goes perfectly. I’m pretty confident that a sub-4 is on the cards but who knows – the marathon is a crazy beast.

I knew going into training that it would be tough, time-consuming and I would have to sacrifice some of my other hobbies (hello dusty yoga mat). But overall I’ve enjoyed it. Sure I’ve had some bad runs and a lot of mornings where I have not wanted to get up and run 8 or 9 miles before work. I guess what I’ve learned is that I really enjoy running. And following a schedule really works for me. It helps me get focused – I leave my house knowing exactly what workout I’ll be doing that day – distance, pace, hills etc. I like knowing I’m getting better even if those improvements are small and almost unnoticeable from day to day. I’ve read before that the actual race is just the victory lap for all those 6 AM starts and 3 hour long runs. I guess I’ll find out on Sunday!

Any last minute marathon/pacing advice to share?