Training for My First Marathon: Week 14

Alternatively titled: An amazing training week that ended with a DNS.

This week started out perfectly; exactly what you want the week of a half marathon. I was up in the air about whether or not I wanted to race the Wineglass Half Marathon, but as the week went on and I had one outstanding training run after another, I was pretty excited and confident that I would race it rather than run it at long run pace. But as my mom has always taught me, “We make plans and G-d laughs.”

This week didn’t exactly end the way I had envisioned it would. I had been looking forward to the Wineglass Half Marathon since the day I signed up six months ago. Before I lost my mind believed in myself, and signed up for the New York City marathon, the Wineglass Half Marathon was my fall goal race. I had heard amazing things about this race and you don’t have to twist my arm to go upstate in fall; changing color leaves, crisp, breezy mornings; it’s simply my favorite time of year. I could never have imagined the Wineglass Half Marathon would be my first DNS. For the record, I also couldn’t have imagined that the race morning weather forecast would be 63 degrees and 95 percent humidity. But that’s neither here nor there.

Week 14

Monday: Rest

I had planned to go to Flywheel on Monday morning. After a great 18 mile run on Sunday, I figured it was a great way to shake out my legs. I suppose the “We make plans and G-d laughs” theme would show its face early in the week. I decided to take an unplanned rest day on Monday because I was feeling exhausted and like I was maybe getting a cold; not something you want during birthday/race week.

Tuesday: 5 mile progression run

My plan called for 2 easy miles then 3 progression miles at 9:30, 9:15, and 8:45. I wasn’t sure how this run would go after 18 strong miles on Sunday and feeling exhausted on Monday. This run was AWESOME. Not only was I able to hit all of my paces, but I felt like I could even go faster (minus the last mile that almost killed me).

Progression miles: 9:29, 9:13, 8:42

5 miles, 9:35 average pace per mile. I’ll take it!

This is exactly the kind of run you want the week of a half marthon.

This is exactly the kind of run you want the week of a half marathon.

Wednesday: Refine Method

Going to Refine Method at 6:20am will never get easier, but Allison’s company definitely made it a little more tolerable.

Thursday: 4 easy miles + strides

Happy Birthday to Me! This run ended up being 5 miles and much faster than I expected. I ran earlier than I usually do so I could do my hair for the first time during this training cycle. It was my birthday, after all. It was dark in Central Park and there were a few scary parts that made me run just a little bit faster. I also couldn’t see my watch for most of the run and much of it felt pretty easy so I went with it. Honestly, a semi-speedy 5 mile run is the BEST way to start your birthday and a new year of life. I ran into Ashley, got jumped on by the absolute cutest Golden Retriever puppies and waved at Kelly during my run. It was a great way to start the day.

Strides: 6:39, 7:18, 6:43, 6:52

I celebrated my birthday Thursday night with my brother and some of my dearest friends. I felt extremely loved and like the luckiest girl in the world to have these people to celebrate my birthday with and to have in my life.

The BEST brother a girl could ask for!

The BEST brother a girl could ask for!

Friday: Rest

Also known as the day it took us almost 7 hours to drive from NYC to Corning, NY for the Wineglass Half Marathon.

Saturday: 3 mile shakeout run

Beautiful Corning, New York

Beautiful Corning, New York

After SEVEN LONG HOURS in the car the night before, we were all in need of a good shakeout run. We decided to run along the half marathon course in a little 1.5 mile out and back. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking; the weather not so much. It was so hot and humid that only three miles had us dripping in sweat. We did set out a little on the later side, but I’m not sure heading out earlier would have made much of a difference. Abby, Kim, Allison, Nicole and I started out all running together and quickly split up into our own comfortable, easy paces. I ran with my favorite long run buddy for the whole three miles. It’s really so beautiful in upstate New York this time of year.

Amazing views from our run.

Amazing views from our run.

Sunday: DNS at the Wineglass Half Marathon + many, many tears

The finish line.

The finish line.

Even though I somewhat prepared to race in the morning, I was pretty sure that the muscle spasm I was having all day Saturday would prevent me from running the half marathon. Could I have raced it? Maybe. Or maybe not. But my eyes were on the BIG PRIZE. With only 4 weeks to go until the New York City Marathon, I knew the only smart choice would be to listen to my body and take my first DNS. I cried while all of my friends put on their bibs and watches and slathered bananas with peanut butter. I wished them all good luck and tried to fall back asleep. When I realized that wasn’t happening I watched some TV and then around 9am I gave myself a pep talk, told myself to stop feeling sorry for myself, get out of bed and get my butt to the finish line to cheer for my friends. And that’s exactly what I did. It was definitely not easy watching people cross the finish line, but I was there to be a good friend and cheer for my amazing friends. I cried when I walked past the finish line. I cried when I saw the awesome glass medals.

I cried when Abby reached her goal and crossed the finish line sub-1:40.

My Coach, looking fierce as always!

My Coach, looking fast and fierce, as always!

I cried when Silvia finished her first half marathon; sub-2.

Seconds before becoming a first time half marathoner.

Seconds before becoming a first time half marathoner.

I cried when Kim CRUSHED her current PR by almost 10 minutes.

My favorite long run buddy killing it!

My favorite long run buddy, KILLING IT!

I cried when I Allison CRUSHED her PR by more than 5 minutes.

So proud of this girl!

So proud of this girl!

Total Mileage: 13 miles

I cried tears of happiness for all of my friends. I cried a little bit of sadness for me that I wasn’t joining in the PR bliss. I cried much of the ride home. In the end, I know this wasn’t my goal race and in the scheme of the big picture it wasn’t a big deal and I had an incredible weekend with my friends, but it was definitely a tough pill to swallow.

Here I sit, two days later, still a little sad over missing a race I had been looking forward to for the past six months. But I’m 100% positive I will be there, on Staten Island, come November 3rd because I was smart and listened to my body. At the end of the day, I’m grateful to have had an amazing weekend with some of my favorite people. I’m grateful it’s only a muscle spasm and nothing more serious. I’m grateful for those incredible friends who have done nothing but check up on me and support me and cheer me up and believe with me that I will toe the line of the NYC Marathon in 26 days. 14 weeks down. 4 weeks to go.

Thinking only positive thoughts over here……

Go congratulate all of my friends on their amazing races at the Wineglass Half Marathon. They are a bunch of running rockstars!

Tell Me.

Have you ever had to DNS or DNF a race? Which do you think is worse?

How many weeks did you taper for your first marathon?

Do you think it’s better to have a two week taper and run the last long run or stick to a three week taper and modify the remaining long runs?




10 thoughts on “Training for My First Marathon: Week 14

  1. YOu did the right thing and the very very hard thing to do. Congrats! This is always the worst decision to have to make. Good for you. I have had many DNS unfortunately. It sucks. But before you know you are at the next race! Hang in there.

  2. I think DNF is worse… I had a DNS earlier this year when I slept through my alarm (UGH!). I think you made a smart decision to not start the race… keep your eyes on ING NYC Marathon!! You are going to be in a better state because of it 🙂

  3. Thanks for the shout out! I was so done in my picture – I was SO happy to see you girls all cheering. I know it sucked not running Wineglass, but on 11/3 I’ll be cheering for YOU!

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