{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 11}

Thanks to a solid run on Monday, this was a good mileage week for both Ryan and I.  This week brought out some emotional aspects of training that I wasn’t necessarily expecting.  We all have our ups and downs when preparing for demanding physical feats.  When I signed up for my first marathon my only fear was could I really run 26.2 miles?  Would I be physically strong enough?  Would my body hold up to the miles and the pavement pounding?  What if my muscles tired too fast?  Little did I know physical challenges are often the least of my worries when it comes to training, or they had been until this training cycle.  My mind was often the biggest thing to overcome in past years.  This year it seems to be both a physical and a mental battle I’m fighting.  If it’s not one, then it’s the other.  On some days it’s both.

Monday-17 miles, long run (both of us)

20140312-120730.jpgMonday’s long run was supposed to happen the day before (Sunday), but social choices got in the way. Monday’s weather was absolutely, freaking gorgeous, so I’d say it worked out in the end.  At lunch it was 52 degrees and the sun was shining.  I went for a drive with the windows down, sun roof open, radio blasting, and a large fountain drink in hand.  It was a great fifteen minutes.

Post-work Ryan and I got down to business to get this 17 mile long run completed.  We busted out the shorts and had an awesome run in the 59 degree weather. The bare leg feeling made us both feel like we had just started for the first 13 miles.  We finished our run in 2:25, which was speedier than I’d expected for a long run.  Bare legs just felt that good.  Ryan tested taking GU’s earlier in this run so he is prepared on race day, and because when you start a long run at 5:15 after work and have not had dinner yet fueling is super important.  The GU’s went fairly well and held our hunger over until dinner.  We were both starving post-run.  Remember to make sure to fuel with protein and carbs within 30 minutes of your long run to start the recovery process in a positive way.

Wednesday-easy 5 miles (Sarah)/8 miles (Ryan)

I was still sore as I did not drink hardly any water on either Tuesday or Wednesday.  I did not do my body any recovery favors…oops!  Sometimes I need the reminder though that being sore doesn’t always mean you need to skip a workout.  My legs felt better than before the run after knocking out this easy pace recovery run.  I contemplated skipping this run for about 20 minutes, but thought better of it.  I was so glad I came to my senses even though it was back to running in the teens outside.  As for my foot, that is another story.  Damn that foot.

Saturday-8 miles (Sarah)


Sunday-18 miles (Ryan)/10 miles (Sarah)


Pre-long run stretching in our house!

Sunday’s run started off on the right foot, that is until my right foot started hurting again.  The pain is hard to describe, but it is constant when running and walking.  At mile six I was questioning if I should continue.  I decided to head out for one more loop, but at mile eight I tearfully admitted to myself that it was stupid to push through the pain I was feeling.  I handed Ryan the Garmin, and turned back for home defeated, upset, and feeling sorry for myself.  How could the marathon runner be having worse training weeks than the first-time marathon trainer?  I still feel frustrated by this, but have had an hour to mentally come to terms with today’s disappointing run.  Monday’s run was awesome; no pain.  Today-Grrr.

Sometimes training is great and other times it’s a bitch.  But, I guess that is what training is for.  It prepares you for the mental and physical rollercoaster you might have on marathon race day.  I’ve ran marathons that have felt easy and effortless.  I’ve ran marathons that felt difficult and challenging from mile 11 on.  I’ve ran marathons where I ranged from jubilant to wanting to quit to ecstatic in a matter of miles.  Sometimes the highs are high and the lows are really low.  We come out stronger and prouder for taking on and overcoming the challenge.  That is what the marathon is about.


No matter how many marathons I train for and run, I feel like I learn something new about myself, my body, and my spirit.  It is a journey that is not always rainbows and sunshine, but what great things are always great?  I need to focus on the quote above in the coming weeks.  It is so frustrating to want to do something and have your body not want to.  I know my mind wants to run the distance.  My body just has to come along.  For now I am busy scrunching a towel with my toes, stretching the foot, rolling arches with a soup can, foam rolling, and doing yoga stretches.

Tip of the Week-When aches and pains start (and they will!) foam rolling will be your new favorite love-hate relationship.  The pain it brings is worth the pleasure in the end.  I use my Trigger Point Foam Roller, which I bought on Amazon.  I love the different spaced pressure points that allow you to vary your foam rolling experience.  No idea how to foam roll?  See the graphic below to get started.

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Ryan’s Total Miles-43 miles

Sarah’s Total Miles-40 miles

Happy Training!

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 7}

and in the snow, ice, and slush!

and in the snow, ice, and slush!

Let me preface this post with what an awesome week of miles I had.  I’m excited to see my miles increasing, and to be feeling as in shape as I do.

Tuesday-4 miles (Sarah)



Even though most weeks in January I was a few miles under my weekly mileage goal on my training plan, I’m really feeling strong going into February. Today’s 4 mile run felt so easy and effortless. Yoga on Sunday definitely helped stretch out some tight muscles. Running through snowy and icy miles throughout the winter has also helped build endurance for runs where I get some sections of bare road like tonight.

Wednesday-4 miles
Wednesday was four easy miles. Ryan had parent-teacher conferences two nights this week and reffed baseketball a different night, so he didn’t get many miles in during the week. We both planned to hit the weekend up for miles.

Friday-5 romantic miles…err something like that (both of us)


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After an easy five miles and a little romantic sunset, we came home and got ourselves ready for a night out and dueling pianos with friends. I’ve been to dueling pianos in Minneapolis several times, once in Austin (amazing!), and a couple other smaller places, but never locally. They were good, and dueling pianos is always a great time.

Saturday-7 snowy miles (both of us)
After enjoying myself perhaps a bit too much the night before it was amazing that I ran seven miles on Saturday. Once I got myself out the door, the miles flew by. Ryan and I had so much to talk about, the snow was falling lightly, and we just enjoyed the run. We talked about how we love to run in freshly falling snow. It surprisingly isn’t all that slippery, has such a silent beauty, and there is a rhythmic relaxation to the sound of your own crunching feet hitting the ground. Even though I didn’t feel the greatest earlier in the day, sometimes you just have to do something!

Sunday-14 miles (both of us) Ryan’s longest run ever!
To fuel up for today’s run we went to brunch. I had whole grain blueberry banana pancakes, apple chicken sausages, and egg beaters. The pancakes were amazing! I forgot how much I love fruit and pancakes together. This was the perfect pre-run fuel.

Despite fueling properly pre-run, I have to honestly say I was not looking forward to my run. The weather was sunny and probably the warmest its been this year (24 degrees), so I’m not sure exactly what my funk was. I am just really getting sick of running in the snow. The night before it was all silent and peaceful. I knew today the snow would be packy, slippery, slushy, and hard to run in. I was exactly right.

My foot has also been bothering me all weekend. I have no idea what is going on with it, and the pain isn’t intense, so I did what any runner does…and ran through it. We’ll find out if that was a good idea Monday morning I’m sure. Again, not all things I do are advice for others.

To make this long run seem less daunting, Ryan’s longest EVER, we broke it into two halves. The first seven miles were decent. The snow and slush was annoying, but there was some open road. Ryan and I chatted some of the time, while other parts we were silent. I think he was afraid to poke the bear-that was me :(.. Luckily I snapped out of it after a few miles. For part of the first seven miles I wasn’t sure if I’d finish as my foot was sore.

Halfway through our run, we stopped at the house to grab a drink, a GU, and for Ryan to apply some Body Glide to his foot. He had a hot spot started, and we wanted to prevent it from becoming a full on blister. Then we were back on the road. I brought my music with for the second half. Music is so motivating to me and makes my runs significantly more fun, feel easier, and go quicker. Ryan still refuses music for reasons I still don’t completely understand, but everyone trains differently. Some runs and races I don’t use it, but most of the time I enjoy my runs more with music. I made sure to belt parts of every chorus out so Ryan would know what song was playing at all times. I’m sure he loved it!

We both took GU’s at mile 10 to prevent the long run hangry experience we had with our 12 mile long run two weeks ago. Properly fueling before and during the run made these miles so much more enjoyable. Enjoying runs also builds confidence that you can complete the entire 26.2 distance. Ryan and I both felt great on our run. When asked about his training so far, Ryan says he feels strong, in shape, and confident about the marathon distance.  I feel like the 14 miles was not a challenge, and that I could have easily ran 20 with some more open road. Now I’m sure I just jinxed my next 20 miler.  I am fairly superstitious when it comes to running.
My foot is still sore, so we will see what develops from that. Hopefully I’ll have nothing to report back. If I do, I blame Ryan and his heel incident as I’ve NEVER had a foot problem before. I know there is no way the heeled wedges I wore to work followed by stilettos I wore Friday night to dueling pianos have anything to do with the pain (17 hours in heels). I wear heels often so I’m seriously doubting it, but who knows. I’m optimistic it will be back to normal in a day or two!


Post-run hydration-Fruit Punch Nuun for me, Grape Nuun for Ryan.

Ryan’s Tip of the Week-Train with a partner who is reliable and encourages you to complete your workouts. Train with someone who doesn’t make excuses for why not to do a workout. If you don’t have someone to train with, then find someone who shares a common goal or interest of running to discuss your training and workouts. Hearing about another person’s training can both reassure and motivate you in your own training.

Unfortunately, Ryan’s advice this week also applies to me. I wasn’t very encouraging before our long run. I actually suggested multiple alternatives to running our long run even though I didn’t really want to skip the run (much).  Once I get going, I’m all lovin’ every minute of it.  It is just the getting going part that gets me sometimes.  Ryan helped ME a lot to get my butt out the door. I’ll work harder next week to not whine and complain before our long run. It should be noted that during the long run I was completely supportive. 😉

Sarah’s Tip of the Week-Make a playlist of songs you like, that are upbeat, and that motivate you to push yourself and complete those miles. Music is one of my biggest motivators. Having the right songs on my playlist can make or break a longer run. I change up my playlists every month or two to incorporate new songs and so I don’t get bored. Some songs make it a year on my playlist while others only last a month or two. Once a song loses its mojo, its gone. This keeps my playlists new and exciting all year round. My current long run playlist is below!  Don’t judge!
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Week 7 Total Miles-
Ryan-26 miles
Sarah-34 miles

Happy Training!

*All opinions are my own. I’ve not been paid or compensated in any way for any products mentioned in this post. They are simply favorites of mine I’d recommend to other runners.