Have you ever had a hard time getting back into the running game after a marathon? Well that happened to me after running the Lausanne Marathon back in October 2015. That was a hard race. We were on vacation, in total vacation mode, and Switzerland is not exactly Florida! I had a great time, just not a great race time. But that was OK, the scenery was beautiful and I was taking it all in. When we returned to the States, we were home three days then off to California for my step daughter’s wedding. I barely ran during the months of November and December, and by January I couldn’t kick start myself back into gear.
I needed a goal. How about a Spring marathon my friend Sherri says. Spring is actually a good time for me to run a marathon since my work travel is light during the Winter. We began looking at Spring marathons we might want to run, then another friend Sherry suggested Eugene. Sherry Boston Qualified there the year before and said it was a beautiful course. Who wouldn’t want to finish a race on the legendary Hayward Field? We were sold and asked our friend Gail to join us. So the training begins with just under 16 weeks to go.
Up until this point I had only run 4-5 miles a couple days a week. Sherri and I decided we needed a race to get us going and decided on the River, Roots, and Ruts half marathon in Alva, Florida. Of course neither of us felt we were capable of running 13.1 miles so we opted to do a relay. She would take the first half and I would take over at the mid point. This was a trail race on a BMX trail during a wet winter. We knew were were going to get wet. But we didn’t expect an all out downpour the day of the race. It was fun and it was what we needed to get back to training.
The remainder of my training went really well. I used my own training plan which was based around determining how many miles I would run each week, then how many miles to do on my long run, and then splitting up the remainder of the miles through the remaining days. Each week I tried to get in a speed session and a tempo session. Some weeks I incorporated my tempo run into my long run, either for the full run, or a few miles at the end of my run. By the time my mileage peaked I was up to running 55 miles a week and I felt really strong.
I did all but one long run on marl roads, my Saturday runs on trails with my dog Otis, and all of my other miles on pavement. At least two days a month I hit the bridges for some hill work and a little concrete under my feet since the Eugene course would have both.
Race fueling and hydration have been a real struggle for me. Too many gels and I get stomach issues. Too much of any electrolyte drink also gives me stomach distress. For this race I trained with Generation UCAN, water, and bananas. It was a winning combination for me and bananas would be on the course.
The only downfall in my training came the first week of my taper. I went to the bridge to complete my last set of hill repeats which mind you went flawlessly and I felt great. After six miles I came off the bridge to finish up with a two mile cool down and within a half mile felt a sudden sharp pain on the inside of my knee. It was enough to make me stop. Two and a half weeks before a big race is not the time to get an injury. I was pretty concerned.
I spent the next couple days with my leg elevated and regularly iced. It didn’t look swollen but it felt swollen. After two days, I taped it for compression and went out for an easy run. It felt OK but I didn’t want to push it. I kept compression tape on my knee until the week of the race and continued with my taper as planned. Ready or not Eugene Marathon here we come!