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Marathon Nightmare & Update

Last week I had a nightmare.  I was in an outer-borough; I couldn't say which.  The New York City Marathon had just started, but already I was so behind that I was running with just a few stragglers.  We had lost the group and couldn't figure out the route. 

I thought it made sense to look for a bridge, but the straggler I was running with couldn't keep up with me.  Once or twice, I walked with her.  Then I got frustrated and set off on my own to find the bridge.  I thought I had it, but the first bridge I found was a dead end.  It didn't go all the way across the river.  When I doubled back, I found the group of stragglers again.

I spotted a race official on the far side of a nearby fence and led the crew towards her.  She told us that we hadn't gone that far off-course.  We just needed to head to a sky scraper down the block, take the elevator up to Tavern on The Green (who knew it relocated?) and cross over to a parallel road on the other side.

And then I woke up.

I'm not actually worried about getting lost during the New York Marathon.  I'm pretty sure that's impossible.  I am worried about not finishing, though.  I could cramp, I could go too hard too early and run out of steam, I could not go that hard and still run out of steam, my shoes could hurt, I might not eat enough...  the list goes on.

I'm sure that everyone feels this way at some point.  But still, I'm a little freaked out.

My training got off to a rocky start.  I started out thinking that I'd follow a modified traditional training plan.  I'd do my long runs on the weekends leading up to one or two 18-20 milers, and I'd do some shorter runs during the week.  I knew from the get-go that running four days a week would be too much for me, but I figured that, with all the CrossFitting I do, I'd be fine cutting back on the weekday runs.

As I got into it, though, my training began to feel disjointed.  The CrossFit world was telling me that I'd be better served (both in terms of overall fitness and for the marathon) by less running - at least cutting out the long runs - and more CrossFit.  The marathon world was telling me that I needed to run more.  I had hoped to compromise, but instead I felt like I was half-assing everything. 

So, a few weeks ago, I hooked up with NYC Endurance and I'm taking a totally different approach to my marathon training.   My new plan includes seven to nine workouts a week with one rest day.  Three sessions are endurance workouts, and the rest are CrossFit metabolic conditioning and strength training workouts.  The endurance workouts so far have been short and long intervals, with some longer time trials and tempo runs.  It's an intense plan, but so far I love how cohesive it feels.  I'm also psyched to be concentrating on intervals and to have a real plan for them with specific speeds. 

The freakiest/coolest thing about the Endurance plan is that there are no long runs.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.  In fact, the very first time I will ever run more than 13.1 will be on race day. 

On paper, it doesn't look like I'm working out much more than I was a few weeks ago.  It feels so much more intense, though.  Two-a-days take a lot out of me.  My biggest challenge so far is knowing how hard to push myself during the non-endurance workouts.  I need to strike a balance between really pushing myself and being totally ready to go for the next workout. 

With just a little more than two months to go, I'm relieved to finally be settling into a routine that I feel good about.  Hopefully (maybe?) now the anxiety will dissipate.  I'll keep you posted!

-Gym Belle-

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