I have been keeping a little secret from you guys. No, I am not pregnant, and yes, it is a good thing!
I have been working on this goal since May, but I wasn’t ready to share it at that time. I was worried I would fail, and I hate failing, so I wasn’t willing to ‘put myself out there.’ I put myself out there last summer and failed, so I wasn’t willing to do that again so soon. And who knows maybe I will fail again, but I guess I’m willing to take the risk.
During the fall of 2013, my coach, Nichole, put a bug in my ear that has been with me ever since she suggested it. I really think you could run a sub-3 hour marathon one day, she said in her quiet, sweet but confident voice. I’m sure my eyes bugged out of my head as I was trying to wrap my mind around what she had just said. Sub-3?? My PR at the time was 3:17. I would have to cut off over 17 minutes of my marathon time and run each mile 40 seconds faster. That’s a lot! Yes, I had cut nearly 30 minutes off since my first marathon, but I was getting to my threshold, right? Plus, my half marathon PR was only 1:30. There was no way I could turn around and run another half marathon again at that same pace! But the bug stuck. . . .
That winter I got pregnant, had Cullen during the fall of 2014, and started training again. I really didn’t know what to expect that next summer, but with a few surprisingly successful races early on, Nichole contacted me again and said she had an opening for coaching. That was during May 2015, and we worked together for the next year trying to clinch a sub-3 hour marathon. By the spring of 2016, I was at the best shape of my life, running a 18:30 5K and 1:24 half marathon.
Trent/Waldron Glacier Half Marathon where I ran a 1:24:22
Nichole had said if I could break 1:25 in the half marathon, that sets me up for a sub-3 hour marathon. I ran that 1:24 three weeks out from Grandma’s Marathon and had a nearly flaw-less build-up to Grandma’s. Race day came and brought temps in the upper 70s and humidity in the upper 70s as well. I like my warm weather, but racing a marathon for 3 hours in those conditions is another story. I held on for the first half, but quickly fell off pace after that. I just couldn’t get enough fluids in me, my breathing was becoming more labored, and I was on empty.
I was devastated. Absolutely devastated. So many people were cheering for me, and now I had let so many people down. I know that there are only certain things you can control on race day and weather is not one of them, but I still wasn’t very disappointed with myself.
Randomly a week after the marathon, my nagging hip injury appeared, and I was out of any formal training for the next 10 months. It was a rough 10 months, especially since it was winter in Alaska. I tried to stay positive and hopeful, but there was a lot of hopelessness.
I’m not entirely sure how I overcame a labral hip tear and cam impingement, but winter turned to spring, and I was miraculously able to run pain-free again. I jumped into a couple races and realized I hadn’t lost as much speed and fitness as I thought I had. I ran the Pulsator 10K and breaking 40 minutes and thinking, what if? I was surprised I was able to break 40 minutes after training only for about 6 weeks. I immediately contacted Nichole and said, I don’t know if this is possible, but. . . .
In good Nichole fashion, she was optimistic but also knew time was precious and every workout was critical. I gave her the reins and said, I don’t want to attempt this sub-3 hour thing without you. We nailed down the Twin Cities Marathon as the goal race: good weather, flat course, and my sister will be running it as well!
We’ve only been working together since the beginning of June, but somehow she’s whipped me into shape, and I am now nearly in the same shape I was last summer. We still have 5 weeks of training, but some of those weeks will involve a taper. I have nothing but full confidence I can run a sub-3 hour marathon, but I also know there are a lot of things that could happen between now and then that could once again foil my plan. I am going to do everything in my power to achieve my BIG dream goal! It is something I thought was unfathomable, but those are the dreams that really are magical and worth chasing!