Last year I ran the Jack & Jill Marathon (in North Bend, Washington) and despite having skipped out on speedwork came away with a near personal best of 3:32. This immediately got me thinking – if I ran such a great time not properly trained, what wonders might I be capable of running fully trained? And so I signed up to come back this year with a 3:21 in mind…
Of course life rarely goes as planned… And this time it most certainly didn’t go as planned!
Instead of training for my faster marathon, I watched as my friend Devon put in extraordinary workouts while I just couldn’t. I’d spent too long floundering post Mountain Lakes and my subsequent bounce back was much slower than liked.
Much MUCH slower.
Hubby was in the same boat. With grand hopes of running another PB, he set out training hard. Then in May we lost our furkid Sunshine.
I can’t even begin to describe how much our furkids mean to us. We were left heartbroken – and just needed time. We knew there’d be other marathons. And even without this loss, although I certainly tried for a while, I was literally incapable of crushing any speed workouts or tempo runs… Or even just put the distance in.
So after 3 months of basically not running, we both decided to just run the marathon anyway.
Okay, for me, I’d still been managing to average about 50km per week (which is approximately half the mileage I ran last year leading up to Jack & Jill). But hubby’s longest run had been maybe 16k. Haha, yes exactly – not really ideal marathon training.
Needless to say, we were asking for trouble. But we decided to just have a good time instead – no matter how badly we might fall apart.
So we lined up our rather untrained butts alongside a very well trained Devon. Last year I beat her PB by 2 seconds without specifically having trained for the marathon – I must say, how very obnoxious of me!! So on this day, it was her day to shine.
Hubby and I were basically there to smile our way through it. He’d let me know a few weeks earlier he wanted to run it with me – and that’s when I knew it was all going to be just fine.
And indeed, we rocked it! Rocked the having a good time that is.
We started out conservatively – maybe a 5:15/km average through the tunnel. Oh that tunnel is the coolest. I wore my very high powered headlamp and it made for such a better experience than last year (mind you, we both ran faster last year even with far inferior headlamps, so more lumens was simply a nice to have).
Coming out of the tunnel, around the 5km mark, I knew there was no way I could go any faster. So we simply continued on at that pace, and the kilometres clicked by surprisingly fast. I remembered the course from last year – saw the landmarks go by… And marvelled again at how lovely the slight downhill is.
Hubby left me at 14km to hit up a port-a-potty – but caught up to me again within 4km or so. It was nice to have him by my side again even if we were keeping conversation to a minimum. You won’t be shocked to hear I was already feeling like this marathon was tough!
We crossed the half way point. And I said to hubby, “This is bad… I’m feeling pretty done already.”
He agreed – much harder than usual at this point in a marathon. Of course we weren’t surprised. I got ready to dig deep.
We pushed on and the kilometres clicked by more slowly than before. We slowed down to about a 5:30/km pace. It hurt. Everything hurt. My quads, legs, feet – especially the inside of my right foot (which later I found was sporting the largest blister I’ve ever in my life experienced).
And then, around the 35km mark, he had to take off again for another port-a-potty stop (lesson: even if you’re running a marathon for fun it’s probably a good idea to still eat smart the night before!!). When he left me, I slowed dramatically. He’d been pacing me, pushing me – and in a way it was a relief to be on my own. Finally, no pressure.
I came up to a water stop so I stopped and walked while I drank. I tossed the cup and continued walking. Glancing behind me I figured I’d just walk until hubby caught me again. But there he was!! Already caught me. And he was on a mission to get to that finish line!
“Come on, you got this!”, he said.
“Push with all you’ve got left!”, he said.
And so I did. I realized I actually didn’t mind the pacing and pushing. We picked it up to about 5:00/km for the last 4km and crossed that finish line strong, in a time of 3:43. Not too shabby for a rather untrained marathon (although probably a little obnoxious all over again – ha, deja vu). But honestly – I LOVE running marathons with hubby, even untrained ones lol.
As for Devon, she totally got me back for my (unintentional) 2 second shenanigan of last year. She came in with the time I’ve been chasing for years… 3:21 – ha!
(But I must say I’m nothing but absolutely thrilled for her – wow did she work hard for it – and totally rocked it!)
I seriously love the Jack and Jill course so much that hubby and I have already decided we’ll be back next year. Maybe for my 3:21 attempt, maybe not. But definitely to enjoy the experience again, no matter what our goals!
In the meantime, I used this marathon as a starting point for my 100-mile training. I’m signed up for Rio del Lago 100-mile endurance run November 4-5 later this year. After running this marathon (9 days ago now), I’ve been out running daily since including a 41km training run this past Sunday.
It’s an ambitious plan – my 100-mile training plan. But I know I’m up for it. I’ve been patient with my ‘bounce back’ – being careful not to do too much too soon… A very real concern for anyone who’s ever found themselves with OTS or adrenal fatigue before.
So therefore my plan is also a very flexible plan. And outlines more than just runs – for example, it even includes naps! You’ll never again have to convince me of the importance of recovery.
On my road to Rio del Lago (where, just let me put it out there – I’m hoping for a sub 24-hour finish), I’ve got a number of ‘races’ lined up I’ll be using as training runs. These include Squamish 50/50 (August 19th and 20th), then Finlayson Arm 100k (September 8th/9th) and finally Baker Lake 50k (October 7th). I promise to check in here after each to let y’all know how everything is going!
Run… Be it faster or farther, for freedom or fun… Just run…