I didn’t miss going running this weekend, but I did miss WANTING to go for a run.
I’m going to take that as a sign that more time off is needed and I’m not going to force things… I’ll wait until my mind and body want to run again.
We did get out for some walks over the weekend and that felt great. Beck insists on wearing Knox’s sweatshirt.
We ate at Cafe Rio, which brought back fond memories of taking Brooke to eat there 2 x a week for the first 5 years of her life;)
I love their tacos so much.
We froze at a soccer game.
Brooke played so well and we call her the ‘Brooke Wall’ hahah… she loves playing defense.
We also saw the Mario movie (the kids loved it), ate chocolate chip pancakes and slept in both Saturday and Sunday. It was a successful weekend.
Also, the London marathon… INCREDIBLE. Sifan Hassan’s finish was incredible and she won her debut marathon with 2:18:33 (and she even had to stop twice to stretch) and Kelvin Kiptum with a 2:01:25 (his second marathon):
Time to update my lessons learned from each marathon post.
I had four new marathons to add to it, and I hope it is helpful for anyone with a marathon coming up.
In doing this post, it made me realize that this last Boston was my 17th marathon! I thought it was my 16th, but I was wrong.
-This was my first marathon and the first race I had ever trained for (I had done one 1/2 marathon before this but didn’t train for it and paid for that by being sore for three weeks straight). I learned that day how much I love the marathon. I went into the marathon thinking it would be a one-and-done experience and left the race course craving more and more. My goal was to complete the race, and I finished 5th woman overall. I had never really felt like I excelled in a lot of things at this point in my life (more I just got by whether it was schooling/sports/hobbies, and I was never very consistent), and I realized I had uncovered a big passion of mine and that was extremely exciting. It changed my life because ever since that day, I have dreamed about what marathon is next!
-My first three marathons were before I started blogging, and I didn’t know much about the sport at all, so I WORE RACING FLATS for the first time EVER for my first 26.2 miles. My feet hurt so bad, and I learned a lot about not trying anything new on race day.
-To eat. I saw people eating while running the marathon, which confused me at first, and I learned the hard way when the wall hit me like a train. I learned that you NEED to eat throughout the race because a few sips of Gatorade isn’t going to cut it. It took about seven more marathons to learn how much and how often to eat, but this was the first time I had any idea that people ate while running.
2. Utah Valley Marathon 2010. 3:08. The only picture I could find from this race… it’s a little one.
-I don’t remember this race that well, but I do remember being at the starting line in a tank top and shorts, and it was SNOWING. I remember thinking… I probably should have done a little research about what to wear.
-Don’t run a race that passes right in front of your house at mile 23… the mental test of not just running straight inside to my couch instead of finishing the race is not a test I want to take again.
-Don’t be disappointed in the steps along the way to get to your big goals (even though this took me a few marathons to learn). After my first marathon, I told myself that my next marathon would be sub 3… so while I had a 12-minute PR, I was mad I didn’t get 2:59. Little did I know it would take me eight years and that these big goals of ours take so much time and work. Life is a lot more fun if we celebrate the small victories along the way.
-I found out that I was going to run this race three days before the race. I remember it being a fabulous day because I had zero pressure on myself (because it was such a last-second thing), which made all the difference. I cheered for myself and talked positively, so while the taper/training wasn’t great for this race… my mental game gave me another PR, and I learned how nice it is to not put so much pressure on ourselves. We perform much better if we are optimistic and enjoy the experience much more.
-I remember entirely during this marathon learning about how much things change. I remember hurting halfway through the race and wondering how I would hold on but then reminding myself that the pain comes in waves. Finally, I just told myself to get through the mile I was in and that I was going to feel better afterward. It’s crazy how much things change throughout a marathon, and that day I kept reminding myself to hold on until the next wave of feelings.
-This lesson was more of a result of this marathon, so afterward: My big injuries started right after this race… from knee problems to stress fractures, to you name it, my body was not happy. I learned through these first marathons that you cannot under-fuel your body and expect it to run. It might work for a season, but after that, you are toast. I was dealing with amenorrhea and not giving my body what was needed for my activity. My body broke down after this marathon, and I’m running MUCH faster now… 25ish lbs heavier. I didn’t run another marathon after this one until I had a regular menstrual cycle again.
-How much better bagels are in New York compared to Utah. I remember taking full advantage of the bagels and other free food in the village before the race and having cramping issues. So while I love free food, eating what you have trained with on race day is essential.
-Running with people is fun. Sarah and I ran into each other in the corrals at the beginning and then ran the entire race together. The only other person I had ever run with before this was my sister, and I realized during this race how much I LOVE the social aspect that we can gain from running.
-That there is always another race. Always. Earlier that year, I had to drop out of Boston because of femoral stress fractures right before the race. I was DEVASTATED. I thought my running life was over and was sad about the situation. I was able to do New York instead that year, and it was an unforgettable day. I want to return to this race because there is nothing like it. I also learned that day that not every race would be a PR, and for me personally, I need those races too… where I am just there to sit back and relax (which will only make sense to us crazy runners;) and take in the scenery.
-I learned from this marathon that pool running is fabulous for our cardio but doesn’t prepare us for any hills. Oh, and pool running softens your feet, resulting in terrible blood blisters on your feet during the race. Leading up to this marathon, I had an injury and spent five weeks in the pool leading up to the race (I think with just one run in those five weeks a few days before the race ((like a three-miler)). Pool running helped me hold onto a lot of my cardio fitness but not the muscular strength I needed for a marathon. Long story short, it’s doable to only pool run for five weeks leading up to a marathon, but it isn’t enjoyable.
-Emotional pain will drain your running. This was my first marathon after my divorce, and Brooke was being picked up that morning ON the course. No matter how fit we are… some things hurt so badly emotionally and drain us. It wasn’t the time for me to be shooting for race goals… I should have been spending more time on healing and processing what I had been through.
– I learned how incredibly painful it is to go out WAY too fast in a race for your current fitness level. I went out at a pace that I used to be able to handle and wasn’t fit enough to do it at that point. That 3rd segment hurt badly, and luckily, I had my sister there to tell me stories the entire time.
-I learned that day that the St. George Marathon is my absolute favorite marathon, and my opinion has not swayed from that:). I grew up in St. George and love that place with all of my heart. The red rock, the gorgeous scenery all along the way, the whole city is out to cheer on the runners, and the course made me fall so deeply in love with this course.
-My first negative split race ever. I’m sure the St. George course had something to do with that, but it was my first experience pacing a course well, and how nice it felt to speed up as the race went on rather than slow down, which is what has happened in the majority of my marathons:)
-It was my first marathon ever with Brooke at the finish line, and I learned that day how much that meant to me and how much having my people at the finish line got me through some of the tough miles.
-TO ADJUST YOUR TIME GOALS TO THE WEATHER. This was a year of major headwind (I think it was 30 mph most of the way) and a lot of rain and cold. I was stubborn and went out for my time goal of 3:00, and then starting at mile 17ish, I slowed down more and more with each mile. If the weather is terrible, there will always be another race where you can go for your time goal. Focus on your effort and doing your best, but if you don’t adjust your paces a bit… the weather WILL catch up to you.
-Red eyes + Janae = disaster. I learned for that race never to take a red-eye again on my way to a race. I felt wrecked, and it wasn’t worth the $50 I saved on the redeye, ha. Our sleep leading up to a race is SO important, so prioritize that if you are shooting for a PR.
-SAVE IT FOR THE HILLS! This course is so easy to get lost in speed during the first half, but you have to save some of your gas for the hills and miles 18-21ish.
-To stay in my own lane. I went out too fast for many reasons, but one of them was that I wanted to catch the girl ahead of me. That kind of thing works great at the end of the race, but not at the beginning. At about mile 13 or so, I saw her peel off the course, and a different runner jumped on, and I realized then that THEY WERE DOING A RELAY… My competitiveness caused me to go out faster than I was ready for and then crash and burn the last 10k as I was racing against someone in a different race. The marathon can bite you if you don’t pace wisely, so this one taught me to run the paces I know I need to run regardless of what everyone is doing around me.
-To give your body a break when it needs it. I had been in marathon training for the entire year until this point, with some health problem thrown in, forcing me to miss St. George that year. We have SO many years of racing and just one body… I really should have let my body recover better and heal before trying another marathon, so shortly after being so sick!
-To double knot your shoes for a marathon, and I have ever since.
-I learned at this race that I had married the most supportive person on the planet. Andrew and I had just gotten married a few months before this marathon, and he had Brooke and Knox (3 at the time) all over the course to cheer me on as many times as possible. I had craved having a partner to support and be supported by for SO SO SO long, and it was finally happening—no better feeling in the world.
-I learned that day that visors are the best when running a sunny/hot race. They keep the sun out of your eyes while allowing the heat to escape out of your head still.
-Always put bags of ice in your sports bra when you are hot during a marathon, and then thank me later for the tip. It cools you down SO fast.
-I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to cry <— just something I have to remind myself when I think deeply about this race because it was such an incredible experience. I learned how valuable it is to focus on your present. Focusing on the miles up ahead is a waste of energy and time. If I can be present and focus on doing the best I can at that moment… that is all I can do. Putting my thoughts on the future brings me anxiety and a stomachache ha.
-Deena Kastor is the best marathon teacher. I read her book before this race, and it made all the difference on race day for me. I focused on gratitude throughout the miles and especially when things hurt. I MADE my own joy when I wanted to focus on my cramping. I decided to be stubborn about my goals rather than letting them fall through my fingers again because of quitting and slowing down. I chose to feel like I BELONGED and that I had control over the outcome that day.
-I learned how much sweeter accomplishing the goal feels when you’ve put in the work, failed over and over again, and dreamed about something for a long time. If my goal of a sub-3 marathon was met on my 2nd marathon like I wanted it to, I don’t think I would have felt as amazing as I did after the marathon eight years ago. God’s plan is the best plan, and celebrating that sub 3 with Andrew and my kids was just the best of the best, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
-Okay, 4 for this one. You can fool yourself into thinking your legs aren’t that tired during a race. You can trick yourself into hitting your dream paces even if your brain tells you to slow down…. BUT you CANNOT fool poor racing nutrition. In 2011, I ate candy on the way to the start of a half marathon and felt like death during the race. I had a few marathons where I started fueling at mile 15 and pretty much had to crawl the last 6 miles. BUT what I really remember is the races where I fueled properly, and while I was tired at the end, I never felt that depleted/zero glycogen/want to die feeling during the race. I now go into half-marathons and marathons, eating 600+ calories in the morning and fueling regularly throughout the race (every 30-40 minutes). Fueling correctly has been a game-changer for my running, and I’m so glad I now know how much more enjoyable long runs/marathons are now that I’m eating enough. We don’t expect our cars to run without gas, so why would we expect our bodies to run without calories during a race?!
11. Boston 2019. 3:28.
-I did this marathon just a few weeks after my 50 miler, so I did not go into it with any time goals. I took every step of the experience and enjoyed it. I smiled, waved, ate everything people passed out to me, and I have the best memories from that day. This race taught me how fun it is to do a race for fun now and then. Why not just enjoy it and soak it all in?!
-If you smile pretty much for an entire marathon… your cheeks will be sore the next day.
-Runners are some of the absolute best people out there. That’s the thing about Boston… the actual race is incredible (and it’s so fun to talk to so many different runners along the way), but the whole weekend—> People are just the best. Everyone is excited to hear about each other, supportive, and friendly!
-Dream bigger than you think you should. When I got my first sub-three at St. George, I thought there was no chance I could ever run it any faster than that. The girls I trained with for this race dreamed so big, and I jumped on that train, and it took me to a 10-minute PR. It made me realize that we hold ourselves back when we tell ourselves we have already hit our potential… there is so much more in us!
-Training with a team was the best thing possible for my running. They made me so much faster by chasing after them during speed and stronger by getting me on the trails 2-3 times a week. I cannot recommend training with others enough if you have the chance if you want to hit a big goal.
-Having someone to run a marathon with almost feels illegal. The benefits I got from running 25.5 of the miles with Emilee were insane. We pushed each other when the other was struggling. We kept going because we knew the other person was hurting, and they weren’t quitting. We encouraged each other. We had inside jokes. We were so in sync. We better get the chance to do that again!
13. CIM 2019 2:58
-CIM is a very hilly course. People warned me repeatedly about this, and I thought I wouldn’t even notice the hills because of how many trails we were doing… but then I got there and couldn’t believe how many ups and downs there were. I think people say it is a fast course because of the other amazing racers’ energy, and the crowds are incredible. I also think the weather is perfect for most years and helps people run faster.
-DO NOT FLY IN THE DAY BEFORE A GOAL RACE. It was go go go the day before the race that I had very little time to rest. My best marathons happen when I spend most of the day before my marathon off my feet, and that did not happen.
-Sea level doesn’t automatically make me fly;). However, I was sure leading up to the race that racing at sea level would be magic since I train at altitude. Maybe it’s because I got there just a day before the race, but I didn’t feel a difference.
-That back-to-back marathons are extremely tough! Emilee and I felt completely fried going into the race because it was only two months after our huge PR at St. George. We wanted to try for an OTQ before the deadline, so that is why we did it. I do not recommend racing marathons so close to each other.
-Nobody else cares about what the time on the clock says when you cross the finish line. I was 13 minutes off of my goal, and not one person changed how much they loved me:). My kids, Andrew, family, friends, and the online running community… nothing changed when I didn’t hit my goal. No matter what happens on race day, your people will love you regardless of missing your goals.
14. Boston 2022 2:54
-This was my first marathon back after having Beck, and he was 17 months old. I had been training for a 17-mile trail race for a few months, so I did have a good base, but I didn’t know I would run Boston until Amazon reached out to me with the offer about seven weeks beforehand. It was a short marathon training block, and I had no idea what to expect on race day, but it was my strongest marathon ever (this feels like my fastest marathon because it isn’t as downhill as my faster times).
I keep trying to figure out why it was my strongest race marathon, and I think it comes down to–> I did a lot of trail running leading up to it, I was strength training consistently for the first time, and I also used the Peloton bike as part of my training. I peaked at 70 miles for two weeks, and the other weeks were lower. I think 70 is where I want to peak from here on out because I don’t think I can properly recover with everything we have going on in life with higher mileage than that. And who knows, maybe short blocks are better for me?!
-I didn’t really have a goal for this race, and I think that actually helped me mentally. The idea of breaking 3 was in my head, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself to run it. Instead, I went with the flow and how my body felt, which paid off.
-This was my first marathon where I think I figured out the carb load (thanks to this calculator. It is way more carbs than I thought and pretty tricky to get them all in, but I never felt like I hit the wall during this marathon, partly from the carb load and because I took a gel diligently every 4 miles of the marathon.
-My best racing happens when I do it with a friend. Lauren and I were together for 18ish miles of this race, which was the best. It’s a little embarrassing how much we still talk about this day together, ha. It was magic. Something about thinking about the friend next to you and how you are doing takes us out of thinking about our own suffering.
-I NEED TO HEAT TRAIN. I run in a sports bra when it is snowing. I run super hot and need to remember that when training for a race that could be hot, like St. George. I did go to the sauna often leading up to this race, but I don’t think that helped… I need to actually run in the heat a few days a week if there is a chance race day will be hot.
-To carry a bottle or two with me. I was supposed to get bottles at this race from the ‘elite tables’ but couldn’t get to my Gatorade for a few of the stations because of congestion. I sufffffffered because of it… I like to carry a bottle of Gatorade with me for the first tenish miles because the gels I use (Maurtens), don’t contain electrolytes, so I need to get them from my own bottles (I can never drink enough from cups).
-Racing during a marathon training block is my favorite way to train. I love doing shorter races leading up to a marathon as part of training, and I did plenty of that during this training cycle. Course support during a speed workout and all the fun that comes with the community at races–> yes, please.
-If possible, have someone hand you bags of ice along the way during hot races. Sticking it in my sports bra, putting some on my head, and eating the ice helped so much.
-Having babies does not mean we will slow down… if anything, they made me faster.
-I love running downhill. It is so much fun for me. I love to try and push my hips forward on the downhill and force my legs to keep up with them. If you are going to do a Revel Race, prepare for miles and miles of downhill and then end with a few flatter miles. Going from dropping 300 ft per mile to 40 ft per mile is challenging but something to master for Revel courses. I held first woman for this race for 25 miles and got passed in the last mile because I couldn’t get my legs to work after all of the downhill on the flat section.
-Starting a race with snow on the sides of the road is my kind of race.
-Some runners love to run the day before a marathon, and some don’t… I prefer taking the day off before a marathon.
-Trying new courses is so much fun. I get stuck doing the same courses repeatedly, but a ‘new to me’ course distracted me as I guessed what was next.
-Training for a marathon during the fall is the best time to train for a marathon in Utah.
17. Boston 2023 3:02
-I need trails for marathon training, especially when running high mileage. My legs have felt way more flat than they usually do during the training block for this marathon because 99.99% of my training was done on the roads. The dirt takes away some of the pounding for me, it slows me down, so I’m truly doing a recovery run, and the hills make me a lot stronger.
-I can’t run 80 miles a week without doubles. Unfortunately, I can’t do doubles at this stage of my life with my family, so I try to squeeze in the mileage in the mornings. I think if I want to experiment with 80 miles again, I need to have twoish days where I am splitting up the mileage. Especially on speed work days… it was a lot on my body to try and get 18-20 miles on a Wednesday morning.
-I’ll think about this race anytime I am hurting in future races; I learned that if I could finish this one as I felt, I can do anything.
-Failing forward is the way to get to our dreams. I’ll never stop being able to dream big, and I don’t want to change that about myself. Age is just a number, so I’ll get that 2:4X time in Boston someday, and the celebration will feel even sweeter… the fire in me is lit!
-Progression with your race times isn’t linear, but that doesn’t mean the training goes to waste. The training I did for the four months leading up to this race will show its face later in future races. Consistency is key, and picking yourself up and trying again (after a proper break… I’m taking two full weeks off) will get us to where we want.
-That I need to take some time to train for shorter distances each year in order to get faster in the marathon. I have gone from marathon training to marathon training for four marathons in a row, and now it is time to train for shorter races.
I can’t wait to continue to add to this list and grow along the way.
Who has run any of the races that I mentioned? How did it go for you?
Give me some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned during some of your races.
What’s your next race?
Tell me something great from your weekend!