** the title and concept for this post have been borrowed from Aron :) **
I successfully completed my first day of training for the Green Bay Marathon - a speed workout, 3 x 1600. In the weeks leading up to the start of this training (and really, since I decided to run this marathon), I've been thinking a lot about how I trained for and ran my last two marathons and how I want this time to be different.
I ran my first marathon, Twin Cities, in October 2006. While I was training, I also happened to be working full time and studying for the bar exam. My training nutrition? Twizzlers, cake, and Diet Mountain. My main training goal was to run as many miles as possible while still fitting in the working and the studying. All of my miles were just slow, regular old miles. No speed work, no tempo runs, no training plan. The method was in part successful - I had a great experience running the mararthon and, more importantly, made it through training and the race completely injury free.
After Twin Cities, I took a couple weeks completely off running, and then had a difficult time getting back into the groove. And then in January 2007, I got pregnant. I kept running, but didn't have any marathon plans.
After Sophie was born, I made it my goal to run a marathon within a year of her birth. At the coaxing of a friend, I registered for Grandma's. So in June 2008 (when Sophie was eight months old), I ran my second marathon. Again, no training plan. And really, not much training. I ran three miles per day most days of the week, and did a frighteningly small number of long runs. And I really mean frightening -- in April, two months before the marathon, I ran a half marathon. Before that, I had only run a couple of 8 milers. Most of my long runs were done pushing Sophie in a jogging stroller. On my sixteen miler, I got bit by a dog with six miles left to go. That pretty much sums up my training for Grandma's. The race, as to be expected, was torture from the starting line to the finish.
In the minutes it took me to get from the finish line of Grandma's to the icy waters of Lake Superior, I declared that I would never do another marathon. Ha. We all know how that goes. After a week or so off, I began to feel the old flame for running reignite - a flame I hadn't really felt since before I had Sophie. I knew I wanted to run another marathon and really wanted to put my heart and head into it.
I decided on Green Bay for several reasons. First, it's in May, with average lows around 45 degrees and average highs around 68 degrees. Heat was a factor for me in both Twin Cities and Grandma's, so I am eager to run a cooler weather race. Second, I am a Green Bay Packer fan, and running a lap around Lambeau Field will be an awesome experience.
Going into this training, I knew I wanted a plan that would push me, help me get faster and stronger. I chose FIRST because it combines speed work and tempo runs, and timed long runs. I know from Twin Cities that I need more than just miles, and I know from Grandma's that I actually need to DO the training. So I'm ready, knowing the work I have ahead of me. I want to do my best to train as hard as I can, so I can start the race with confidence and finish the race with joy. And hopefully experience a little (or a lot) of both in between.