Mississippi Blues Marathon 2016 Recap and Review (Marathon 15, State 10-Mississippi)

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Marathon Name:  Mississippi Blues Marathon

Location: Jackson, Mississippi

Time of Year:  Saturday in January

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MSB Marathon Training T Minus Two Weeks: Christmas

IMG_9030This past week was obviously Christmas week.  I hope everyone had a merry Christmas!  I had approximately (no, exactly) five Christmases: one with my immediate family, one with each side of my extended family, and one with each side of my husband’s family.  Although it was lovely to see everyone, it took a TON of energy out of me.  I also had no fewer than three meals prominently featuring macaroni and cheese.

I had anticipated being busy and tired around the actual holiday, so I got in some workouts earlier in the week before heading out of town.  I also did pretty well on Christmas Eve at my parent’s place, with some walking (while listening to Serial), horseback riding, and hitting balls at the driving range.  I unfortunately did not make it to yoga with the fam as I had planned (aka, I unfortunately could not drag my family to BOTH the horse farm and the yoga studio, so I had to choose one).

Here’s the full summary…

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MSB Marathon T-Minus 6 Weeks: Thanksgiving!

Is the Mississippi Blues Marathon in only 6 weeks?! Time flies when you’re eating pumpkin cheesecake… or something like that.

Goals for This Past Week:

  • Run my Turkey Trot as close to 7 min/mile pace as possible
  • Do some kind of activity (even if just walking) while out of town for Thanksgiving
  • Stop myself from eating so much mashed potatoes/pumpkin cheesecake/carbs/yummy vegetarian sides that I feel sick
  • Squeeze in an easier 10 miler

How did I do?

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MSB Marathon T-Minus 10 Weeks: Hell Week, a Bruised Toe, and the Start of No Sugar November

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Only 10 weeks to go until the Mississippi Blues Marathon. This past week was a doozy with Orangetheory Hell Week Monday through Friday (recap here!).  Lots and lots of intervals, which were part of my 5K training plan, plus some good strength training.  I happily took my rest day on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Unfortunately, on Saturday evening I dropped my laptop squarely on my big toe.  Yikes.  Based on the amount of pain, I was questioning whether it was broken, but now I’ve decided it is just badly bruised.  (I’ll spare you the picture.)  As runners, we are often so scared about injuring our knees or dealing with IT band pain and shin splints.  But sometimes just having butterfingers is what will thwart you!

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Mapping (and Starting!) My Mississippi Blues Marathon Training Plan

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I’ll start by saying that there are millions of philosophies about race training.  Here I’ll share what has worked for me, and what I am planning to do for the Mississippi Blues Marathon, but this is not the only way (or even the best way) to train for a marathon.  I’d love to hear thoughts about what has worked well for other people.

In short, I like to make a rough sketch of a training plan for each marathon so that I don’t get completely off-track, and so that I can anticipate holidays, travel, and work events and prepare accordingly.  Usually I just jot it down on a calendar or in a Googledoc (or now, in a blog post).  The most important runs for marathon prep are the long runs, so I make sure to note what my goal long run is for each week, and then I have the option to do that run any day during the week (but usually Saturdays or Sundays).  I don’t generally write the week’s non-running activities (Orangetheory, pilates (upcoming post!), barre, yoga (also upcoming post!), swimming, etc.), or my run commute, in my training plan, and while I do sometimes put in shorter runs, all of those are subject to change.  Each week is different, and I vary based on my own schedule and how I’m feeling.  Missing a few runs isn’t going to totally kill your training.  Really.  I take at least one, but usually two, rest days each week. Continue reading

Planning My 2016 Race Schedule

First:  CONGRATS to everyone is who running/ran the Marine Corps Marathon today!  What a great race!  Hopefully it isn’t too wet out there today.  I saw folks picking up packets earlier this weekend and I got super jealous, but this morning I am cozied up in my home and sort of happy about it.

And now to the topic at hand: When possible, I don’t like to sign up for races too too far in advance, just in case something comes up and my plans need to change.  At the same time, I also don’t cut it so close that the race might fill up, and my plans are thwarted, or so close that I have the option of quitting the whole idea when I get to my 17-mile training run.  But even when I haven’t hit the “Register” button, I still need to map things out well in advance.  In fact, I have a nice little Google spreadsheet that I use to keep track of my races and states, completed and uncompleted.  Here is a snapshot:

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As you may be able to see, I have the columns sortable by state and month, so I can say “hmmm… let’s go to Indiana!  What’s there?” (No, really, that’s a question.  Any answers?)  Or I can say “February is looking open… let me choose a race then.”  I also include the city of the race because some of these states are damn big, and I might be excited to go to one corner but not the other.  And when the city doesn’t have an airport, but I’ll need to fly there, I include a reference to the appropriate airport.  Finally, I include a note if there is a lottery or qualification requirement for the race.  It doesn’t make sense to plan a whole marathon cycle around the New York City Marathon, especially if you forget to register for the lottery.

So now that 2015 is coming to a close, it is time to refer to my spreadsheet and really start thinking about 2016 and what races/states I’ll be tackling.

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