Welcome to my first blog! What in the the world I am doing running 26.2 miles…. For the first time (eek!)?! Well, I first started running when I was in high school track – the 800, mile, and 2 mile. Let’s just say that while I never went to state (or sectionals, or regionals, or placed in any races), I always gave it my all and really enjoyed running and the camaraderie with my fellow teammates. Although I couldn’t run fast, I could run far. After that, I stopped running until my early twenties, when I “dabbled” in it a bit more – no racing, just running around the town that I lived in. After a short time, I stopped running again…. And this time didn’t start again until late June 2015 – about 9-ish years later. My husband’s aunt had posted on Facebook that she was running her first half marathon. Our Facebook exchange went something like this… Me: “Congratulations! That’s so awesome! I’ve always wanted to run one!” Aunt: “Why don’t you do it with me?” Me: “Ok!” And thus my running started again…. Thanks Aunt Julie! 🙂

That was in late June 2015, and the half marathon we signed up for was in September 2015. So I had about 3 months to go from 0 to 13.1. I ran it, loved it from start to finish, and completed it in 2:06:44. About a couple weeks later, my hip felt that jump in training (ouch!!), so I eased back on running for a couple weeks. Ran my next two half marathons – May 2016 (2:07) and October 2016 (2:02:38). The October half was so exciting because it was my first PR. I couldn’t have been happier with that, and I’m working towards breaking the 2 hour mark! The May half…. Well let’s just say I am running that one again this May because I have to redeem myself. I pushed a bit too hard that race and ended up dizzy, nauseous and unable to walk several feet after that race without feeling like I was going to pass out… for about 3 hours after that. And all that pushing I did didn’t even show up in my time! Lessons learned on that run! I actually said to my husband after that race, “Well I don’t ever have to do that again”. 3 hours later, I was ready to run again. Yeah, that feeling didn’t last too long!

Basically, even with that bad run last May, I’ve been bitten by the running bug – what was supposed to be just one half marathon so I could cross it off my bucket list, has now turned into… well… preparing for my first full marathon – the Holy Family Memorial Maritime Marathon. (And that half marathon in May to redeem myself! I will not be defeated by the race!) I’ve been enjoying the half marathon distance so much that I just couldn’t resist the challenge of taking on a full. I offered to be a blogger for this year’s race so I could share my experience with all of you – and the added bonus of keeping myself accountable as I start really logging in the big mileage!

Speaking of big mileage, long run day is usually Saturdays or Sundays. Last weekend I decided to forego the nice-ish weather out there for personal torture and a mental challenge – 12 miles on the treadmill. Ok, ok, it wasn’t that bad. I did 15 miles on the treadmill a couple weeks ago. That heart-pumping music I had going on these long runs got me through it! Good thing for good tunes…. Although when I started singing along to whatever song was playing, I realized I had better pick up my pace a bit! Yes, I wanted to be able to talk (to myself, to my husband, one of the fur-babies, whoever was around while I embarked on that loooong run) comfortably, but being able to sing seemed a bit much – a little less singing and more running! I’m loosely following a beginner’s plan from coolrunning.com. So far, my body has felt good, and the plan calls for another 15-miler this weekend. Bring it on 15 miles. Bring it on.

Goals for this first full marathon? Yup, I’ve got ‘em. 1) SMILE and ENJOY IT. No matter what. 2) Finish it! 3) Run the whole thing. (I find walking breaks too hard anyway – legs can’t seem to get going again!) 4) Run it in 4:30:00 or less. (Hey, why not?!)

Thanks for letting me share my experience with you as I embark on this first 26.2 miles! I look forward to sharing more with you soon about how these long runs are going! And the short runs too – those are just as important and I’ve been using those to work on my speed. I also can’t wait to see you all out on the course on June 11th! We’ll have 26.2 miles to share together! See you soon!! –Susie