A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

TotR: Running Dreams and considering the step up to the marathon

on January 12, 2016

This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is Running Dreams and I confess, I’ve been having some literal and figurative running dreams after seeing all of the photos of the Walt Disney World marathon this Sunday. My husband laughs at me because back in summer 2013, when I first decided to take the plunge and register for the Princess Half Marathon in February 2014, I told him that I thought I could handle a half marathon, but if I ever suggested a full marathon, he needed to get me to a doctor because I was clearly ill.

  •  In January 2014, I watched the marathon weekend photos with excitement and anxiety because I was about to take the plunge for my first half marathon in just a month.
  •  In January 2015, I watched the marathon weekend photos with 2 half marathons under my belt and a looming Rebel Challenge that I had little doubt I’d finish without trouble and thought “maybe I’ll do the marathon for my 40th birthday.” My husband reminded me that he was supposed to take me to the hospital when I started talking like this!
  • In January 2016, I watched the marathon weekend photos with 6.5 half marathons under my belt and started looking at marathon training plans to see what marathon training REALLY looked like. Maybe instead of waiting until I’m 40 for the marathon, I should do it now and do Goofy or Dopey when I’m 40. 

My beloved husband reminded me that I was nuts, but has resigned himself to sending me to Disney World in 2017 for marathon weekend.

I don’t know that I’ll take the step up to the full marathon. It’s a scary prospect – not so much the marathon itself, because I know RunDisney does a fantastic job and it will be as fun and well supported as 26.2 miles could possibly be. Rather, I’m nervous about the idea of all of the training that is required to get ready to safely cover those 26.2 miles on race day. Spending lots of Saturday mornings running for hours on end on my local paths sounds a lot less fun than running from park to park in Orlando. I must confess, though, that my dreams Sunday  night were full of planning thoughts and logistics of getting to the Expo, fueling, what to do to celebrate afterwards and the nerves of the starting line. Last night, I had dreams of running mile 24 and realizing I was about to be a marathoner. It’s funny that I didn’t dream of the finish line because my brain can’t quite wrap itself around FINISHING a marathon, but I can definitely envision what the starting line of something so EPIC for little old me would feel like.

The question is, how do you know when you’re ready? Aside from injuries due to falling, I’m a pretty sturdy runner without much trouble with overuse injuries. The caveat to that, of course, is my dear friend lupus that triggered some knee pain with a couple of long runs (although not really race day) this fall.

I should also be reasonably well prepared to run a marathon with a good spring training cycle, plus training for the back to back half marathons of the I-35 in early fall. Surely the Saturday-Sunday long runs I’ll be tackling starting in August will be a good start to a marathon training plan, right? Conveniently enough, looking at the Hal Higdon Novice 1 marathon plan , there’s a half marathon suggested at week 8 of that plan. If I picked up the plan with week 9 in October after the I-35 challenge (with a week off to recover from back to back half marathons), I would have exactly the number of weeks remaining in his plan as there are for training in my schedule between the I-35 challenge and the Walt Disney World marathon. I’d need one week off for call at work, but that would be okay because his plan has ten weeks between the suggested half marathon and the full marathon race. There are 12 weeks between my half marathons and the full. It seems meant to be, schedule-wise.

I would only be training to safely complete the distance. There would be no time goal. A) It’s Disney and B) this may be the only time I ever do this, so I am going to soak up every minute. I would absolutely be riding Expedition Everest in the middle of the race and I would absolutely take a zillion pictures. I would want to finish upright and with a smile as my only goal. The Higdon plan could get me there.

I still remember how good it felt to cross the finish of my first half marathon in WDW - who wouldn't want to repeat that with a marathon finish?

I still remember how good it felt to cross the finish of my first half marathon in WDW – who wouldn’t want to repeat that with a marathon finish?

I’m not getting any younger. It isn’t like 26.2 miles is going to be easier on 40 year old legs than it is on 38 year old legs. Who knows how my lupus will evolve – I may not be in the position to consider this kind of running in the future (hopefully not but you never know!). Walt Disney World was a fantastic place for my first half marathon and Disney has always been a huge reason I run, so it makes perfect sense to take on the marathon for the first time in my happy place. If anyone can make running 26.2 miles FUN, it’s Disney. We’re DVC members and I have lots of frequent flier miles, so it would even be a reasonably cheap trip as I wouldn’t be spending much time in the park. Training for a January race in Florida evens works out well seasonally, as the worst of our winter usually hits in January and I’d be in taper and recovery mode then, rather than trying to ramp up training for a spring race like I am now. Not that November and December are balmy here by any means typically, but they aren’t as consistently cold and icy as January and February are.

I’m tempted, very tempted. All of the running in the Hanson-esque plan I did in the fall for the Des Moines half marathon did a lot for my confidence in my body and my ability to mentally stick with tough runs, as did getting through that race in Lincoln.

For now, my official plan is to see how my legs hold up through spring training. I’m not planning on running fast this year, but maybe the plan will be to run far. Really far.

How did you decide to make the step up to the next distance? Going from 4 miles to 10K to half marathon didn’t seem like a big jump at any point, but 13.1 to 26.2 is a whole new ball game, I know.
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Thanks as always to Patty (and congrats on your first marathon!!), Marcia and Erika for hosting the link up as always. Looking forward to reading about everyone else’s running dreams!

17 responses to “TotR: Running Dreams and considering the step up to the marathon

  1. Michelle H. says:

    It’s clearly meant to be, Jess! Go for it! I’d love to chEar you on!

  2. AHHHH! I love it! If I were to ever run again, it would take Disney to get me to do it!

  3. It’s hard to know when you’re ready, because there’s no way to prepare for the first time. For me the hardest part was and is the mental part. It’s just a whole other ballgame to add that distance and it can really mentally screw with you. I consider the full I did one of the best/proudest moments of my life, and also one of the worst due to all the emotional crap that comes with it lol. It is also incredibly time consuming when the runs get to those 15-20 miles. The other part that’s tough afterwards is that you’re used to eating pretty much whatevs, and you have to get used to eating normal amounts again. BUT, all that being said, I know you can do it!! It is an amazing accomplishment and I know you have what it takes!

  4. Oh man, that sounds like so much fun! It even makes ME want to run a marathon! Haha. You can so do this!

  5. Squee!!! Very excited for you. My $.02–if your goal is to finish and have fun, I don’t think you need to do that much more training than you’ve already done. I’ve seen that Higdin plan, and you can absolutely do that. Isn’t the official training plan for WDW a Galloway plan with only 3 runs a week? If you’re unsure about Higdin, have you considered Galloway? If I didn’t like Hansons so much, I would want to do Galloway for my first. My goal for my first is the same as yours, and the only reason I want to do Hansons is because of the mental boost I know it gives me–I think lots of other less intensive plans would work equally well if I were a more confident runner. I decided to run a full when I finally had a good race last fall. You have had many good races last year, which proves you can complete a training plan and race successfully. You can absolutely do it if you want to!

    • The Galloway plans goes up to the full 26 miles, which I have ZERO interest in doing pre-race day. I’d rather run a little more during the week and less on the weekend I think, just in terms of my lifestyle. I know lots of people have had success with his plan though and I can see where the confidence of having gone the full day in training could help race day.

  6. My first marathon was not good. I was a bundle of nerves. But with my second, I had a ton of confidence in my training and it was a major success. I think you should do it, and just plan on having fun! I have to say that there is no feeling better than crossing the finish line of 26.2!

  7. Patty H says:

    Girl- sounds like you are doing a marathon next year! LOL I won’t lie, it was the mental that threw me. I freaked the freak-out. But the training runs were actually ok and I felt good about that aspect, but as always, my brain had other plans. If you are NOT like me with mental issues, then I think you are ready to make a plan and git er done! WDW Marathon was the best on-course experience I’ve had in a race. I never wanted or needed anything that I couldn’t get quickly.

  8. LaChicaRuns says:

    I had to go back to my blog to remember how and why I decided to run a full. Apparently, it was during a six-mile run. I had just been cleared by my doc to run a half marathon and my friends suggested I should consider doing the full. It was a beautiful, perfect-for-running day. Sucker!
    I used the Hal Higdon plan and found it to be easy to follow. Loved having the print-out on my fridge and scratching off each day.
    Hope you have a good race, no matter the distance!

  9. […] training, it can be daunting to find ways to fit it all into my already busy life (especially if I take on the marathon – yikes!). The tips here in this Womens Running article on incorporating training into your […]

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