Training for My First Marathon (sort of): Week 15

Let me preface this post by saying that this week was supposed to be peak week. I ran 3 miles. Yep! The things marathons are made of, right?

After almost 14 incredible weeks of marathon training, I never imagined I would write a weekly recap like the one that’s about to follow. This wasn’t exactly the week I had hoped for but, as I told my favorite long run buddy, you’ve got to write about the good and the bad.

To bring everyone up to speed, last week, after traveling in a car for almost seven hours, I developed a muscle spasm in my upper glute muscle on Saturday. This forced me to make a tough decision and take my first DNS at the Wineglass Half Marathon; something I had been looking forward to for six months. The muscle spasm continued for much of the week, keeping me from work Monday through Wednesday and landed me right in physical therapy. With only four weeks to go until the New York City Marathon you can imagine the thoughts running through my mind.

This week was not what I expected it to be. This week humbled me and inspired me at the same time (how can you not feel inspired when you are tracking so many incredible runners running marathons?). It made me anxious and excited. It made me sad and happy. It was quite the dichotomy of a training week. I spent more of the week resting and in physical therapy than running; not exactly ideal four weeks out from your first marathon.

This week my friend Jen CRUSHED her first marathon at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. I literally teared up when I got the text alert that she finished in an outstanding 4:20:17. Amazing! Please go congratulate her immediately. This week reminded me that the New York City Marathon is still possible. This week reminded me of the importance of having faith and looking to it when you find yourself in the unknown; a scary place at times.

This week, as I poured out my heart and soul to my physical therapist, she assured me of her confidence. She’s confident that I’ll be running 22 miles next weekend. More importantly, she’s confident that I’ll be standing on the Verrazano Bridge, ready to run 26.2 miles through the city I love, on November 3rd.

So I put my trust in her and my faith in something greater and I continued to be hopeful that I will be standing alongside my friends and 50,000 other people in just three short weeks.

So let’s recap “peak week,” shall we? I’m not going to tell you the workouts I was supposed to do this week because, honestly, I haven’t looked at my training schedule since last week. I just took it one day at a time.

Week 15

Monday: PT + rest

I could barely stand or walk or even sit in the chair at the physical therapy office to fill out the paper work. Today included Advil, muscle relaxers and whole lot of rest and catching up on my DVR. And sleep. I slept A LOT. Muscle relaxers will do that to you. I’m probably the most rested person in week 15 of marathon training at this point.

Tuesday: PT + 15 minutes walking

I've never been so excited to be on a treadmill. Ever.

I’ve never been so excited to be on a treadmill. Ever.

The physical therapist cleared me for 10 to 15 minutes of walking on the treadmill at a “grandma” pace. So for good luck, I walked for 15 minutes at 2.6 mph.

Wednesday: PT + 26.2 minutes walking

Not ideal in week 15 of marathon training but better than nothing.

Not ideal in week 15 of marathon training but better than nothing.

The physical therapist loved that I walked at 2.6 mph and cleared me to walk for 26.2 minutes on the treadmill at the same 2.6 mph pace. I was grateful to be progressing and moving again but this was the day I finally fell apart and ended up in tears for most of the day. I cried in her office. I cried on the treadmill at 23 minutes when I knew all I had left to go was 3.2 minutes. I cried when it dawned on me that just one week earlier I ran my last mile in 8:42 and here I was walking a mile in 23:04. I cried when I thought about ALL of the hard work I’ve put in for the last 14 weeks and feared that it was all falling apart. But at the end of the day I remembered how confident the physical therapist was that I’d be ready to toe that start line on November 3rd. So I had a glass of wine to relax me and went to bed feeling faithful and a little more hopeful.

Thursday: PT + yoga

The physical therapist cleared me to try some light yoga for the first time this week. Obviously I skipped the bridges and backbends and I most definitely skipped boat pose. Thursday was also the first day I was able to go back to work. Physical therapy went so well this week and on Thursday, with my pain level from sitting and standing back up going from a 9 down to a 3, I got the news I’d been waiting all week to hear, “You can run 3 miles on Saturday.” Music to my ears. I hugged her. Obviously.

Friday: Yoga, Again.


3 slow, pain-free, FREAKING AWESOME miles!

3 slow, pain-free, FREAKING AWESOME miles!

I felt so nervous to start running. I cautiously put one foot in front of the other and the feeling was amazing. My legs remembered how to run and I had absolutely NO PAIN. I ran with Kim and Allison as part of their long run. We ran two loops of the reservoir and, as we began to run, I apologized and explained that I was about to embarrass them and then I screamed out, “I’M RUNNING!” It started with a very emotional walk to the park. I saw a double rainbow and knew it had to be good luck.

Double rainbows MUST be good luck!

Double rainbows MUST be good luck!

But, as I waited for Kim and Allison, I saw all the orange marathon route signs and everyone likely running their 20 or 22 mile last long run before taper and definitely teared up a bit.

The best part of fall in Central Park!

The best part of fall in Central Park!

It was tough. But after I finished my three miles I walked back home with a huge smile on my face. And just a little more hopeful for what was possible.

Selfie take 2! Allison cut herself out of the first one.

I couldn’t have been happier to run my 3 miles with my amazing friends!

Kim and Allison went on to finish a strong long run. Kim crushing 18 miles and Allison doing her last long run before her final half marathon of the season. Wish her luck on the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco this weekend.

Sunday: Rest

After drinking #allthewine again on Saturday night with Ashley, Abby, Allison and Liz, I decided to forgo the elliptical and sleep in. Allison, Abby and I volunteered at the New York Road Runners Harry Murphy Cross Country Classic 5K in the Bronx. It was cold. It was windy. But it was actually a lot of fun. We handed out water to the runners after they crossed the finish line and it was pretty amazing. I spent the rest of the day with one of my very best friends and snuggling with two of my favorite little boys in this world. There’s just something about snuggling with a 2 and ½ year old and a 2 and ½ week old that makes your heart feel full and happy and makes you forget about the tough week you just had.

Is there anything better than the smell of a newborn?

Is there anything better than the smell of a newborn?

There may have also been a little more wine. Don’t judge me. It was a tough week and that helps too.

Total Mileage: 3 miles

After a week of a crappy diet, not enough vegetables, too much wine, not enough water and way too much feeling sorry for myself, it was time to stop wallowing, pick myself up, dust myself off and get back on track. If my physical therapist tells me I’m running this marathon, then I’M RUNNING THIS MARATHON! Time to start acting like it again. Oh my goodness, this is getting real. 15 weeks down. 3 to go. I can’t believe I’m really going to run my first marathon.

I’ll leave you with lyrics from Burning Heart, from the Rocky Soundtrack, that my amazing brother sang to me as part of his pep talk last night:

”In the warriors code
There’s no surrender
Though his body says, ‘Stop’
His spirit cries, ‘Never’”

Tell Me.

Have you ever had a setback this close to your goal race?

Do you wallow in it or are you always shiny, happy and positive?

Do you drink too much wine when you can’t release stress with a run?





7 thoughts on “Training for My First Marathon (sort of): Week 15

  1. Hi,

    I found your blog recently while searching for people training for their first marathon. I am training for my first too….the Philadelphia on 11/17.
    Keep the faith…you have come so far…power of positive thinking!!
    As for a song for when the going gets tough…The Climb by Miley Cyrus.

  2. You’ve got this. I was (am) doing PT as well and I had one bad day where I was so frustrated, I cried. My PT assured me we’d get my pain under control and we did. I now have just 2 PT appointments left before Richmond Marathon and I just had my best long run ever last weekend. Trust your training and trust your PT — you will rock New York!

  3. I don’t have a single doubt in my mind that you’ll be on the VZ bridge on November 3rd. You’ve had 14 weeks of solid training!

    “Do you drink too much wine when you can’t release stress with a run?”


    Song rec: “Anything Could Happen,” Ellie Goulding

    “Every little thing is gunna be alright” 🙂

  4. You are going to be AMAZING come marathon day! Do not worry yourself about missing a peak week. As we both know, I never had a peak week and basically tapered for four weeks, and it was totally fine. Your training has been absolutely stellar, even better than mine since I was balancing the road trip, so you are already prepared to run this marathon. You’re playing it smart now, which will lead to a great race, I promise!

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