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Sunday, August 9, 2009

White Rock Marathon - Goals and Training Plan

It is time. Marathon training officially begins tomorrow, Monday, August 10th. The 18-week adventure is one that I have been looking forward to for at least 2 months now. The injury setback was very disappointing and discouraging. I often wondered if running a marathon this year was even an achievable goal. Weeks of physical therapy and tiny leaps here and there, and here we are now at the start of something special. The beginning of a new chapter in my running life. The first marathon.

Over the last two months, I have contemplated what my goals and aspirations would be for this first full marathon. I started off thinking I wanted to do something special. I even told my dad, "I don't want to just finish, I want to finish fast." I had a confidence about me that was very strange. I did fairly well in my first few races and my drive to compete was alive and well. My half marathon was an exhilarating experience and, despite the conditions, was only 6 minutes off my goal time. So, based on those facts alone, I was prepared to knock the marathon out of the park. Then came the hip problem. I was brought back to reality and have since come to terms with my goal and plan for Dec 13th. My goal is to get to the starting line healthy, have a good time, and celebrate my finish with family and friends. If things go well, maybe I will still hit my goal inside my head. If not, who cares. I will have taken that step towards a future in running and moving my life in a healthy, positive direction. It is a win-win situation.

Now, on to the training plan. I asked around at work and did some online research and concluded that I needed a Novice program that allowed for a couple of rest days a week and allowed me to keep my total mileage to a safe number since I am still nursing a tender hip from time to time. I ended up choosing the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training plan. It seemed like a schedule that was achievable, but would still push me to run smart and run well. Up to this point, my longest run has been 13.1 miles and my highest weekly mileage total has been 28 miles. My limits will definitely be pushed and my dedication will be tested. I know it won't be easy. Fall is a busy time of year. I have season tickets to OSU football and the weather is very unpredictable. Two factors that will make it imperative for me to stay focused on the goal and push myself out the door, even when it's too cold or I am too tired. I am sure I will have to get creative and run at times that are unconventional. I am sure my running routes will probably range from Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City to Ames, Iowa, to Stillwater, OK, to College Station, TX. Road trips are a common theme during football season, so my running shoes will be packed on every trip. Most of all, I am sure it will hurt. I will need to be smart. My diet will need to change to match my needs. Fewer beers, better food, and more frequent quality snacks. I will need to be diligent. But even with all of this, I am excited. I am nervous. I am ready!

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