And so it begins……

I never thought I would ever sign up to run a marathon – EVER. But I find myself 5 days into my 126 days (that’s 18 weeks folks) marathon training plan. How did that happen?

I have met J at the finish line of his two marathons – and let me tell you that seeing someone after they have pushed themselves through 26.2 miles is the best way to discourage anyone from thinking that running a marathon might be a fun thing to do. The same way that spending a couple of hours with a screaming newborn is probably going to hush up your biological clock for a while.

This is combined with hours of your weekend spent running/recovering from your room and sacrificing some other aspect of your life – no time to yoga/rock climb/whatever floats your boat. Early nights. Can’t make that trip cos I need to run 18 miles on Sunday. It just seemed like too much – time, hurt, sacrifice.

But here I am looking at the next couple of weeks of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Marathon Plan I. (Looking beyond week 7 is still a little scary). I’m a mixture of nervous – I’ve never run more than 13.3 miles or longer than 1hr 45 mins – and excited.



I know that this will be incredibly challenging and – if I can make it all the way through – incredibly rewarding. Thinking about crossing the line at Twin Cities is going to be a recurrent image when I’m struggling through some bad runs.

Week one has been pretty mellow so far – not much more than I’ve been doing recently. My problems (and I use that term loosely) will come trying to fit long runs in with a half marathon next week, a river trip in July, a Hood to Coast Relay, and a wedding in Ireland followed by a honeymoon in Italy (I know – first world problems!).

Monday: Crazy busy 11 hour workday. So I treated myself to a post-work gym session. Yes – I wrote “treated”. I might have a problem

Tuesday: Run number 1! 3.3 miles at 8.40 min/mile pace. This felt hard. It was warm (73F – don’t laugh) for this runner.

Wed: 5.8 miles at 8.19 min/mile pace. So much better. Great run on National Running Day.

Thurs: 4.6 trail miles at 9.46 min/mile pace. 800 ft of elev’ation.

Fri: Strengths session after work.

This plan has you running both Saturday and Sunday. The aim is to get you used to running on tired legs – so Saturdays have runs at race pace (not sure what that should be yet) and long run on Sunday.

In more running news – we sorted out our Hood to Coast Relay legs! You’re looking at the anchor runner right here – Number 12. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to running this race. Go Van 2!

This week was also the start of our CSA. We get ours from a local non-profit that uses urban gardens to grow all their produce. I came home to four giant bags of greens along with a bunch of radishes. Lots of salads coming our way. Plus pickled radishes – cos that’s how I like to eat ’em.

And last night for dessert I has some chocolate brownie ice cream with these cookies.


They are ridiculously easy to make – mash 2 ripe bananas, add a cup of rolled oats and a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Put tablespoon-sized dollops on a baking sheet at 350 F for 15 mins and done!


37 thoughts on “And so it begins……

  1. Awesome!! So happy you’re doing a marathon!!! Fabulous!! You are going to run a great marathon!! Have a happy weekend!! Enjoy your runs!! XOXO!!

  2. Yay! So happy for you. The training plans look scary but by the time you get to those later weeks you feel (mostly) ready. I love CSA boxes, it’s fun to have to get creative with whatever you get that week!

  3. Jane Likes to Run says:

    Good luck in your training! I will be running the TC marathon as well. You supposedly can run a full marathon in your average half marathon time X2 + 10 minutes. But I think that is a load of crap! I would say for your first marathon, It might be more like 2X half marathon avg time + 20-30 minutes. At least that has been my experience! The hardest thing for me so doing the long runs at a slow pace. It seems like a death crawl, until you get 15+ miles in and are thankful. It does seem overwhelming, but just take it one week at a time, like you said. Do think too much in advance, because it’s intimidating! I am actually going to try and do a 20 mile race a few weeks out to get an idea if I can actually hold my goal pace. They have a few of these around in the TC area to prepare for the race. It doesn’t always fit into everyone’s schedule, but it might be a good idea to try if there to one close to you. Good luck. Hopefully we will both make it to Saint Paul!

    • I hope we can both make it to Twin Cities in one piece and ready to go. I guess the advantage in your first marathon is that you don’t have to worry about time – just finishing, but you still don’t know what to expect with the 6.2 miles. Lucky, or not?, my last three weeks of training coincides with my honeymoon so who knows what will happen. And I’m really looking forward to my first visit to Minneapolis.

  4. Yay for first marathon!!!! Honestly, I loved training for my first. I think it was the journey that I got most out of than the actually race! (Although, holy cow you learn SO much from the first time)

    No question you’re going to rock your marathon! So looking forward to reading about your training–I start training for #2 in two weeks!

    P.S. I did kinda giggle at 73 being hot 🙂

    • I’m a total wuss when it comes to the heat – could not cope with triple digits. I have no idea how you do it.

      I know enough runners to realize that the journey has a bigger effect on you than the actual race. I just need to remember to enjoy it, and not to be too hard on myself. Good luck with training for number 2. Can’t wait to read about it!

  5. Happy marathon training!!! Haha I’m supposed to be starting my next round now too, but I’m going easy on it in the beginning. The Higdon intermediate definitely made me nervous so when I did start using a training plan (ugh I had to start so late) I used one of the novices, but I LOVE his training plans! (I’ll be working off one of his for my Dopey training too.) GOOD LUCK!!

    • Thank you! Stepping into the unknown is always scary for me but also so exciting. I’m just interested to see if my body can really do this. Are you running a fall marathon? I must’ve missed that! I can see why you might need a break before you jump right back in! And Dopey is a whole other level!

  6. Martha B says:

    So excited for you and your commitment. All those things you’ve said about the time and sacrifices are definitely daunting, but I know you will be great. Hal Higdon programs are fantastic too. Especially on weeks where you just feel like “showing up.”

    • That’s so true. One thing I am pretty good at is following a plan and ticking off each run. I’m putting my trust in Hal. He’s gotten me through two half marathons so I’m hoping he won’t let me down!

      • Martha B says:

        I do get really excited about putting a plan in a calendar and checking stuff off… You are going to be awesome!!

  7. We are having ice cream sandwiches together at the finish line of TCM to celebrate. It is nonnegotiable. I looked at the calendar and realized that we are 17 weeks out and thought to myself, “Well, guess it’s time to see if these puppies are going to hold out. Time to start figuring out my distances.” I like what Martha says about the HH program being supportive of the days when you are just “showing up”–I would agree. I modified his Intermediate plan last year, and it worked great for me over all. But really, there are going to be days where the big accomplishment is simply showing up. And on those days, you just have to be proud that you have!

    • It’s a date! I’ve also been starting my ice cream sandwich eating program so I’ll be ready.

      I like the reassurance of following a plan by someone who knows what they’re doing so I don’t even have to think about it. Just get up and run whatever he says even if I’d rather stay in bed or on the sofa. Hal said I had to……

  8. Congratulations — I am sure it will be a great experience and you will rock it! Recently, I checked out the HH Half Marathon intermediate Training Plan and practically freaked, but I have never really followed a training plan. I cannot wait to hear about all your training and encourage you along the way. My goal for 2015 is to run my first Marathon.

    • It is a bit scary. I’m not looking past week 6 right now! It wasn’t too much different from the last weeks of his half marathon plan but those 14.16+ milers are super intimidating! Good luck with your running!

  9. 18 weeks is a lengthy time commitment, but honestly it goes by so fast! There are many sacrifices you will make (I have 16 miles to run tomorrow so instead of enjoying happy hour I am resting and blogging on a Friday night 🙂 ), but you get so much in return. Nothing compares to the feeling of crossing that finish line at the end of a marathon!

    • That’s the feeling I want to bottle! I got teary eyed crossing the line at my first half marathon – so can only imagine how much crying will be going on when I finish my full.

  10. dawn @ running the dawn says:

    OMG! i’m so excited for you 🙂 there is literally nothing in this world that gives me more joy that to watch a runner morph into a marathoner! i’m so excited to be along for the journey and to learn along with you.

    you will be hooked. i guarantee it. it’s addictive.

  11. I don’t know if you realized it, but it sounds like you’ve already found out that the marathon is not about the race itself, it’s about all the training that leads up to it. Follow Hal. Enjoy it! You got this!

    • I remember reading a blog post about someone recapping their marathon, and their coach told them that the actual race is just the victory lap to celebrate all those hours of training – it really stuck with me!

  12. Woot woot! This marathon bully is so excited for you. We just started our 18 week plan today too! Can’t wait to hear about your progress. Marathon training is so rewarding (and hard). Enjoy!

  13. So excited for you…not only about training for a marathon, but about Hood to Coast, too! I really want to do one sometime. But I’m pacing myself, lol. Maybe next year, after I’ve done my first marathon. I’ll take it one step at a time!

  14. Exciting!!! Even though the plan looks scary, you’ll be ready for the mileage when the time comes.
    I’m rearranging my next training schedule to run the day before long runs to practice running on tired legs. I’ve done it before but not for my most recent marathon, and I think it really helped

  15. Yay for marathons! I’m planning to do the HH Novice II program, can’t believe we’re 17 weeks out now. I put the week numbers leading up to TCM on my calendar, kinda obsessive, but also motivating.

  16. Congrats on training for your first marathon! Just take it slow and listen to your body- your body is going to be adjusting to brand new distances, and will have something to say about it! Don’t be afraid to walk at times- a slow 20 miler is better than an injury on mile 19. Good luck!!

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