Marathon Training: Week Two

May 14, 2019 is the end of week two of our 2019 Marathon Challenge Training. Anita, Stephanie and I, Tricia, are all training for our first marathon in October. The training is just getting under way. I will be blogging about all our blood, sweat and tears in this journey. I hope you enjoy our stories.

The week itself was ordinary. I had recovered from my bout of diverticulitis by fasting and putting myself on an all liquid diet. Anita and Stephanie were both recovering from exhaustion from busy weeks working and being moms. It isn’t easy to fit in the time to train for a 26.2 mile race when you work full time and look after children and husbands. It is a good thing we all have very supportive families that allow us to make running a priority in our lives.

The Trio are all registered for our first marathon

Stephanie and I already signed up for the race. Anita finally bit the bullet and signed up for the marathon this weekend. She had been hesitating since we decided to do this.

The distance seems so daunting and scary. It is a long way and requires a lot of time to train. The furthest she has ran before is a half marathon and now we are all going to attempt double that distance. Training, in the later stages when we are up to 18 and 20 miles, will take us hours. It is not something we decided to do on a whim.

Anita is also coming back after being injured and sick for most of last year. But she did it. She has now committed to running the marathon with us Struggle Busters. There are no refunds and no way to back-out now. The Trio is now officially established.

We are tremendously excited… And terrified!

Our weekend long runs

Our weekend long runs this week were divided. We didn’t all do exactly the same thing.

On Saturday, Stephanie and I ran with a training group that is preparing for the Fire Fighters 10 Mile Road Race on the May long weekend. I am helping to train the beginners group and Stephanie is training with the group ahead to improve her speed.

Stephanie is improving her speed

Stephanie is succeeding in getting faster. She almost broke the 30 minute time in her 5 km race last weekend. Stephanie is doing so well. Anita and I are so proud of her.

Coaching is rewarding

Speaking of being proud… I am helping with coaching the beginner runners in this training group. There are two runners, a father and daughter, that inspire me. They started from off the couch. Wanting to improve their health and fitness, they joined the training group and committed to running 10 miles.

That is no small distance when you are just coming off the couch. I have watched them improve through the weeks. They are dedicated and doing the runs according to the program. They have improved so much. I will be writing a special blog post about them after they complete the race. They are so tremendously inspiring. I can’t wait for you to meet them.

Saturday’s Training Group run with some very inspiring people. Ignore that expression on my face. I was concentrating on taking the photo. I couldn’t see because of the sun.

Ran 6 miles on Saturday morning

Saturday’s run was 6 miles, as we are tapering for the race in a week. It was a nice slow social run. I love those. I talked the entire time, chatting about this blog, more training opportunities and upcoming races.

Hopefully, I convinced a few people to consider their first half marathon as the next step after completing the 10 mile road race. Once you have ran 10 miles, training for a half marathon isn’t so bad. It is only 3 miles further, but it seems like much more of an accomplishment to say “I ran a half marathon“.

Running 10 miles is a big deal too.

10 miles is far and fabulous!

Saturday afternoon, my husband and I hiked the Kabeyun Trail

It was such a beautiful day out, that my husband and I decided to go for a hike. We ate lunch, then loaded up with water and snacks for the afternoon. We hiked the Kabeyun Trail out at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Start of the Kabeyun Trail at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

The trail is one of my favorites. It is a great trail to run on as it is wide and compact with little roots and rocks to trip on. Last year, it became part of the Xterra Sleeping Giant 21 km race. I had to sign up and run that one. I am registered to run that race again in 2019. It is an awesome course. Such a fabulous run. But, in reality … it is just over 22 km. Still awesome!

My husband and I hiked out to Tee Harbour, which is a 13 km return hike. The trail leads down from the parking lot to Lake Superior’s shore. About 4.5 km, once we made it down to lake level, the trail was flooded in several spots from snow melt and recent rains. We had to trek off into the bush to avoid some of it. I gave up trying to keep my feet dry at about the 5 km point, praying that I didn’t get blisters.

Tee Harbour

The trail and scenery was beautiful. The wildlife was out in abundance. We saw grouse, fox and deer. It is always a treat to see the animals.

A fox at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

We were very tired by the time we got back to our vehicle. My feet were sore from all the bush-trekking and uneven ground. My feet were cold, wet and wrinkly when I took off my sopping socks. But, I was happy to have been out among the trees for 3 hours. It was worth it. I also didn’t have any blisters. Bonus!

It was a fabulous day. I slept well that night.

Another 6 mile run on Sunday

Anita had to work on Saturday and missed the training run. So the three of us, ran 6 miles on Sunday together. A couple of other friends, Lori and Linda, joined us. I was tired from the hike my husband and I did the day before. So, it was slow going for me. I was perfectly happy to hang back during this run.

I have to admire Anita for running that morning despite suffering from a headache. She had a seasonal migraine the day before which was exacerbated by a busy day at work. It had simmered down a bit that morning, so she still ran.

Running with a headache is awful. I have done it for short distances. But 6 miles isn’t that short. Her commitment to the training will get her to the finish line at the marathon in October. I just know it will.

“Wait, we need a picture”

Stephanie and Linda ran slightly ahead for the first few kilometers of Sunday’s run. But I wanted a picture of the Struggle Busters together. We didn’t have one yet.

I spotted some trees on a hill that would be a nice backdrop. So I called ahead and asked for them to wait for us to catch up. The following picture was snapped as they waited. Hands on hips, they look impatient and annoyed. But, they were really good sports about it.

Stephanie and Linda waiting for the rest of us.

Lori graciously snapped the photo of the three Struggle Busters on the hill side. Then we were off to finish our run. Lori, Stephanie and Linda ran ahead and ended up doing 6 Steph Miles. Anita and I hung out at the back and kept a nice comfortable pace.

The Struggle Busters Trio on a hillside.

What are Steph Miles?

When you run with Stephanie, you risk doing Steph Miles. These are defined as extra miles because Stephanie wants to ensure she does at least the prescribed distance. She usually second guesses the distance part way through a run, leading to extra mileage tacked on.

One Steph Mile is about the equivalent of 1.2 miles for everyone else.

Anita and I are a little worried about our long distance runs as we get into the big mileage later in the training. If we are looking at 18 or 20 Steph Miles, we could be doing about 22 to 24 actual miles. We will have to keep an eye on that Stephanie, and rein her in, if need be.

6 miles became 7 miles

So, Lori and Linda unsuspectingly ran 7 miles with Stephanie. Knowing Stephanie well, Anita and I were smart. About half way through we realized that Stephanie was indeed leading us into doing Steph Miles. We have ran with her many times before. With neither of us wanting to do extra that day, we detoured to just make it 6 miles, like normal people.

Anita and my detour lead us to run a steep hill back. But, given how we were both feeling, that steep hill was better than doing Steph miles. So we sucked it up and ran up that hill to end our 6 mile run.

Anita and I after running up the hill. Still smiling.

We watched as the other 3 ladies finished their 7th mile.

Stephanie, Lori and Linda finishing their 7 miles.

After our run we all had coffee together, bumping into some other runners we knew, who were also enjoying a post-run coffee. It was a fabulous day.

Coffee time reward after a long run.

The day ended with Mother’s Day celebrations

Being Mother’s Day, my family took me out for brunch after the run. I indulged in a delicious veggie omelet. It was very filling, but I figured I earned it after the 33 km of running and hiking that I did this weekend.

Going for Mother’s Day brunch with my family.
My delicious, but very filling veggie omelet.

My family also gave me a new hydration pack as my gift, which is perfect for marathon training. Anita also was gifted a hydration pack. Stephanie received a gift card to a local running store. Our families sure know what to get us for gifts.

That was week two. Our training is back on track. Next week is the Fire Fighters 10 Mile Road Race. All three of us are running in it. I will blog about it next week. Until then, thanks for reading and following our journey. Be sure to check out my other posts.

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