I thought about it long and hard, consulted some very good friends and did some research. I chose the Rehobeth Marathon which is on December 8th, 6 weeks after MCM. I have raced marathons 6 weeks apart before (in the fall of 2011) and it worked out very well for me. So given the way my body was feeling after MCM, and how well trained I believe I am, I decided I would go for it and make my way towards Rehobeth. I made a deal with myself though that if my body gives me any signs that this will jeopardize my big picture or my spring running goals (ahem, BOSTON!), that I would reevaluate and make new plans. I am going to Rehobeth to race this marathon and to try and do better than I did at MCM. I know anything can happen in the marathon, but if that is not likely to be a possibility at all – if my legs are not feeling strong or recovered or if I am mentally off – I’m not doing it. It’s not worth it. I had a really strong race at MCM even though it wasn’t ultimately what I trained for all cycle. I need to remember that and be proud of what I accomplished.
So how have the first three of the six weeks between my marathons gone? They have been really good. I took a full 5 days off from running or any exercise. That felt like forever, but I really believed it was the right thing to do even though my legs felt good. The runs were slow and easy and the mileage was low – I felt like I was holding myself back, which was encouraging. I ran 10 miles one week out and felt strong. The second week was more of the same … easy paced runs, very comfortable, and low mileage. By 2 weeks out I attempted a 14 mile long run. I felt like I was running effortlessly and my pace averaged a 7:45. It was oh so much more than good.
At the start of the third week I went to see Dr. Wong for the first time since my marathon. How do I tell you about Dr. Wong?!? To put it simply, he is someone I trust completely. A chiropractor, a body worker, an athlete, a friend, a professional. He has never once steered me wrong since the very first time I met him. When I was returning to running after my third pregnancy, he helped me find my faith in myself, my courage and my determination. He assured me that I was not broken when I felt like my body was falling apart and failing me. He helped me learn to listen to and honor my body as the miles increased and as my effort level skyrocketed. He believes in me and he respects me. He never ever sugarcoats things. He sees it as his job to keep me safe – which sometimes means protecting me from my own crazy self! – while helping me make progress towards my goals and self improvement.
Last week when I saw him I asked him what he thought about me racing Rehobeth. He was apprehensive and conservative, which at first I will admit I didn’t like! We talked about it a lot though, and I respect and understand his perspective and am so grateful to have him to consult. Everyone should be so lucky to have someone like this on their “team!” He reminded me to go back to the basics with my training and to be very diligent about recovery after my tougher runs – wear compression, foam roll consistently, take ice baths, eat or drink something with protein soon after my hard efforts so my muscles could start repairing quicker. He really truly wants me to succeed, but wants me to stay self aware and to remember the big picture – which is always most important to me. I am going to see him once a week between now and my race. He will help me keep things in check as I progress towards this goal. I am so lucky to have him!
My long run this past weekend was awesome – 17 strong and blissful miles and I felt like I could keep going. This week is the “peak” of my training and I will come in around 70 miles before tapering back down for two weeks. I am not planning on any track workouts – the only speed work I will do will be some marathon pace miles and possibly a tempo here or there. I want to maintain my fitness and keep myself mentally strong and confident. I want to minimize any risk of injury or burnout. I want to get to the start line of Rehobeth feeling fresh and ready to race.
Taking it one day at a time, one run at a time, I believe I can get there feeling ready to set out to do what I want to do that day.
Have you ever RACED marathons back-to-back? How did the weeks between go for you? Have you ever set out to do something like this and then altered your short term goal in light of the bigger picture?