Marathon Update – Disasters I Have Known

StuntsThis blog in two parts.  I’m writing the first part now, before I go running, I’ll write the second after.  I just started with my new IRONMAN Coach and preparing for the marathon is the first race on the way to the 2016 Arizona IRONMAN.  My training plan to this point has focused on run walk intervals and increasing the amount of time that I can run and the speed that I can walk. We’re trying something different for now, it’s still intervals but the idea at first is to make the runs faster and do the walk slower. (Fair warning – the info about time and distance will be vague since I’m paying him for the training, not for the rights to publish it on the internet.) Tonight is my first workout with the new style – it’s a long run using this style of longer faster run intervals and slower walk intervals.  I really have no idea how it’s going to go, and he was super clear that it may feel like stepping back at first, and this is our first workout, but I’m still feeling pretty stressed.

In my experience sometimes I can do much more than I think I can, but running isn’t something for which that has ever been the case. We are also trying some new nutrition stuff and so I ate and now have to wait 60 minutes to go on my run.  I’m trying to stay positive as the minutes tick by before I go out (currently t-minus 21 minutes and counting)  but I’m worried –  What if I just can’t hold a pace that fast?  What if I can’t finish the distance?

This is my first long run since we’ve started working together and we have some time before the marathon and lots of time before the IRONMAN (it’s one of the reasons that I decided to take a full two years) and I understand that it’s a process to dial in where I am and what will work blah blah blah but I just want it to go well.  Time to make final preparations and get going, see you in a few intervals… while I’m gone please enjoy this amusing song about a misunderstood kitty named Sparta

Aaaand I’m back.

When they write my biography, this will be the character building funny part. (As always, 10 points for getting the reference.)  Intellectually I know all the things that I already said – it’s a process, this is our first workout together so we don’t even have a baseline yet, but on a gut level I just want this to go great and it so very much did not.  I became apparent during the first interval that I was not going to be able to hold the pace over the time, I kept trying and failing for the first half of the long run, then I decide to cut the time by a third and that helped a lot, I still didn’t hold the pace, but I was able to keep it closer.

Unfortunately my pushing during the first half meant that I was super exhausted the second half, the last half mile wasn’t so much an interval run as it was me being unwilling to quit until I hit five miles.  (That scene from Burlesque where Cher says “I will never give it up” actually popped, uninvited, into my head.)

So I know that I have time, a great coach, and stubborness on my side.  I just have to keep moving forward and keep reminding myself that I decided to do the marathon and IRONMAN  because I wanted to do something that I’m not good at (and tonight is a big checkity check in that box) and I wanted to run right right at my fears.  So I’ll leave you with this video that I’ve always found super inspiring and remind you that you can read more about my IRONMAN journey at

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7 thoughts on “Marathon Update – Disasters I Have Known

  1. You’re amazing! I give you so much credit for wanting to push yourself to your limits and beyond. Mostly I just want to sit on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book. 😉

  2. You’re so inspiring! Thank you for posting you progress and being open with us about your journey. It means a lot to me to see your openness and your progression!

    I used to dream of running – literally. I used to have dreams of running. Just running, running far, running and not getting tired, just running. It was …exhilarating. And it felt so FREEING. I would wake up and be so sad when I realized it was just a dream – every time.

    I’ve never been good at running. And when I tried it felt so awkward as I’m very clumsy …and I would tire so fast. And after a while I just gave up on it. The fact that you, who are also admittedly not a natural runner, are working to improving that – and that you have done marathons. I’m just in awe! Thank you for sharing your progress and, for me at least, motivating me to work toward running myself. My heart aches remembering and missing the “feeling” of running in my dreams. I want that, and seeing someone of about my size being able to do that, it really makes me realize (for the first time in my life) that maybe I CAN TOO!

  3. So proud of you Ragen. My mother used to say “defeated today, stronger tomorrow, defeating next week.” You will get there and we thank you for all you do for all of us.

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