So, my marathon is on Saturday. It is Tuesday night. 4 days.
This will be my 5th marathon, but in a way it feels like my first, because I have trained so completely differently than I ever have before. I am also 5 years older and have had 2 babies since my last marathon.
Am I nervous, yes. Terrified actually!
But, I am ready, and that feels really good.
The last 4 marathons I have done, I have run 6 days a week, built up to the long runs, and run and run and run. That's it. No other body parts getting worked, just legs.
This time around, with the help of a friend, Brittany, who happens to be a professional trainer for marathon and ultra marathon runners, my training has been drastically different. She helped me set up a training plan this time around, and I have loved it.
Monday: 8 miles. 1st and last mile below marathon pace. 6 miles at or slightly above marathon pace. (pretty hard)
Tuesday: cross train. In my case, I push mow our entire line. The mower is not self propelled. It is an insane workout for upper and lower body. I also do abs after mowing the lawn. (moderate)
Wednesday: Intervals. 6 sets of biceps with a 2 minute sprint between each one. 6 sets of triceps, with a 2 minutes sprint in between each one, 6 sets of abs, with a 2 minutes sprint between each set.
This amounts to about 90 minutes of pouring sweat, racing heart, and burning body. The mileage ends up being about 5 1/2 miles of sprints. This work out is no joke. Several times I almost puke during it. It is my favorite workout though, because I feel like a freaking rock star after completing it. (very hard)
Thursday: elliptical for 70 minutes at level 9 resistance. Killer for the legs AND arms. (hard)
Friday: rest (easy)
Saturday: long run outside, anywhere from 12-21 miles depending on the week. Anything under 14 miles has three 15 minute sessions of above tempo. Killer....for real. (easy-very hard)
Along with this schedule, Brittany, my "coach" who is also a certified sports massage therapist, comes to my house every other Thursday and works on my legs for 60 minutes.
This is by far the most painful and miserable part of training.
She scrapes my muscles with her torture tools, until I have tears streaming down my cheeks. The pain is unbelievable. She stretches, scrapes and breaks down every muscle in the legs and glutes. It is excruciating. The scraping is the absolute worst. There aren't even words to describe the pain.
When it is over, and after a day of bruised legs, my legs feel amazing! They feel soooo good. I know that this is the reason I have not had an injury during this 12 week training program. The massaging has helped me so much. If I didn't realize how much it truly helped me, there is no way on the face of this planet that I would go through this every other week.
Most days, after she works on me, I literally get sick from being in so much pain for so long. My body kind of shuts down. I get a horrible headache, and I can't keep my eyes open. It is exhausting. I usually end up sleeping in spurts the rest of the afternoon, whenever I can get even the smallest amount of shut eye. It is crazy. But it works.
As far as the nutrition side of things, that has been completely different as well. I have been on a very strict low carb diet for almost 10 months now, and I have kept that diet all through my training.
However, my body does have to have some sort of carb during the super long runs, or anything over 15 miles for me. If I don't have any sort of carb in me, my muscles cramp up like nobody's business and my mind and will power turn to mush.
Brittany and her husband Ben (who is an ultra runner....like 200 mile race ultra runner), introduced me to a drink powder called Tailwind. It has the exact number of carbs and calories in it that the body can burn while working out in 1 hour. Any more than that, and you get stomach cramps, any less and you crash.
I drink a tailwind every hour during my long runs, and it has been wonderful!!! No more gut bombs, no more cramping, and lots more physical and mental energy and power. It has saved me, absolutely saved me. I don't need anything else with it either, which is a huge bonus for me, because a lot of the other stuff has always made me so sick.
I have had to eat more carbs the day following my long runs, which I struggle with still. My body just screams and screams for them, and I know I should refill my stores.
It is a really hard juggle lately though, with so many long runs, and so many carb cycles.
It sucks to GAIN 5 pounds when training for a marathon, but I guess it is a great thing, and is a sign of proper training and nutrition if you gain weight the month before the marathon. At least that is what I am told. I will keep telling myself that over and over and over again. Ugh.
So here I am tonight. A week and a half ago, I completed my last long run. It was 21 miles. Brittany is coming over tomorrow for a "light" massage session. She promised me that this one will be lighter so I am not bruised on the big day.
The main focus now is trying to keep my thoughts positive and my emotions rested as well as my muscles. New concept for me, but makes sense. My brain and emotions need to be in top shape to make it through those last 6 miles.
I have a 2 mile run Friday morning, go pick up my race packet Friday evening, and then BAM, it's here.
Breathe, just breath.