Making Changes and Developing Better Habits

Hey, guys!

I have a lot to say, but I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible.

First off, I decided to bag the Tunnel Marathon and run CIM instead. I couldn’t get my act together and decided that enjoying the summer was more important than training. I had a fabulous summer, so I know I made the right decision.

Third Eye Blind Concert

Rocking out to Third Eye Blind at Marymoor Park. Music from the 90s is the BEST.


Suncadia for my friend’s bachelorette party. We nicknamed that big mound in the background “Dirt Mountain.” We’re super clever.

Mount Rainier

Celebrating our second anniversary with a trip to Mount Rainier. It’s a big-ass mountain! And my dad once climbed to the top of it!

I’m now in my fourth week of training for CIM. The first two weeks were great – I was super pumped and feeling fit. The third week, I dealt with some non-running issues, which made it pretty impossible to train (sorry for the vague-blogging, but I don’t feel like going into detail). Now in my fourth week of training, I’m trying to get back on track.

And I’m having a hard time. A really hard time. It’s like I want to run the marathon, but I don’t want to do any of the work that running a marathon requires. Unfortunately, marathons don’t work that way, so I need to get my shit together ASAP as possible (name that show!).

I know that the only way I’m going to get through training is by making some changes and building better habits/routines. Here are the biggies:

  1. Run in the morning. This is a huge change for me. I used to run in the morning at my old job, but that was when I didn’t get to work until 9am. And I worked at a tech company, so I could look like a hobo and it didn’t matter. Now I work in a more professional office and have to be in at 8am, which means waking up at 5am. Waking up that early sucks, but running in the evening is just not working for me anymore.  In order to make this work, I’m committing to being IN bed (not getting ready for, but actually in bed ready to get my zzz’s on) at 9pm. I also bought a pre-workout energizer drink, so hopefully that helps.
  2. Make friends with the treadmill. Fall is here in Seattle, and it’s dark at 5am. I’m uncomfortable running in the dark at 5am by myself, which means I need to be OK with running on the treadmill. Is it ideal? Nope. But it’s my best option, so I need to accept it and not complain about it.
  3. Run less, Cross Train More. I need to make time in my life for activities other than running, specifically yoga. Life is busy, and yoga has fallen by the wayside this year. I started going again last week and quickly realized how much I’ve missed it. I’m making a commitment to go at least once or twice a week. I’m also going to sub out easy runs for spin class.
  4. Start blogging again. I’ve grown up a lot since I started this blog in 2011, and part of me has started to think that blogging is silly and self-absorbed (I mean, who really cares what workouts I did this week?). It may be silly, but I do like having a place to reflect and document my training, so I’m committing to blogging once a week this training cycle.

So stay tuned for more updates as I learn to love morning running! Hope you all have a great long weekend!

New Attitude About Running

In 2011, I ran my first marathon. Since I had previously labeled myself as a non-runner and never thought I could run 26.2 miles, I was so grateful and proud to be doing it. I knew that I was slow/average, but I didn’t care. My loose time goal was to finish in 4:15, and I came in at 4:21. I was happy and proud of myself — I didn’t care about those six minutes.

Finishing my first marathon. I was in shock that I actually did it.

Finishing my first marathon. I was in shock that I actually did it.

In 2012, I made my first attempt at running a sub 4-hour marathon (spoiler alert if you’re new to my blog: I am still chasing that goal). I no longer was happy just to finish; I had a specific goal in mind. I ended up missing the sub-4, but I finished in 4:03:23, an 18-minute PR. I was happy, but left wanting more.

Vancouver Marathon

For the last three years I have been chasing that sub-4, trying and failing numerous times. Success has been measured solely by finish times, and I have been frustrated by this plateau I can’t seem to break through. I’ve wasted so much energy comparing myself to other runners who seem to effortlessly run sub-4s and BQs. In short, I’ve felt like a loser and ashamed by my lack of progress. This is obviously not a fun way to approach running. 

As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t run much for several weeks after the Honeywagon Half Marathon. Because I lost so much fitness during this time, there was a big part of me that wanted to bag the Tunnel Marathon in September. I mean, if I’m just going to run another 4:xx marathon, what’s the point?

Unfortunately, Dad seemed pretty fired up about the race, which made quitting a little more difficult. So I thought a lot about it, researching training plans and examining my old training logs.

The one thing I kept coming back to was how much I enjoyed my first training cycle. There were times when I got sick of training and the sacrifices it required, but overall it was my happiest and most satisfying training cycle. So I asked myself: What was different about this training cycle? How could I emulate this in the future?

Here are the key changes I’m implementing to make this training cycle more like my first:

I will not compare myself to other runners. When I ran my first marathon, I only read one running blog. By the time I ran my third marathon in 2012, I probably read six or seven, and the list has continued to grow. I’ve fallen into the comparison trap so many times, and I need to stop. Every runner is different. We all have different natural abilities, unique life circumstances that affect how much we can train, etc. Comparing myself to anyone — regardless if they are faster or slower than I am — is just dumb. 

I will work hard, have fun, and not stress about the outcome. I had a time goal for my first marathon, but really its only purpose was to guide my training. Although I am training for a sub-4, I am also aware that this is a really ambitious goal given my current fitness level.

I will make running fit into my life, rather than make my life fit into a training plan. Making this decision was so liberating. The reality is that I don’t have a ton of free time during the work week. I have a husband, a full-time job, and a 40-minute commute each way. I also like to sleep, and 5 a.m. is the earliest I’m willing to wake up to run. I don’t need to feel guilty about this! I’m not an elite runner — running is a nice highlight in my life, but it isn’t a focal point.

What does this mean from a training perspective?

This means that I’m not following a training plan: I’m going totally rogue on this one. I used to love training plans, but I haven’t followed one all year, and it’s working for me right now. I love the freedom of doing what I want when I want.

Essentially, I’m doing what works for me and what makes me happy. I’m going to work hard, do my best, and see what happens on September 13. I usually am pretty burnt out by the time I get to the end of a training cycle, but I’m hoping these changes will help me enjoy the process more.

Quick Update

Although I haven’t been writing about my running (or running a whole lot in general), I’ve been thinking a lot about my running.

Quick note about why I haven’t been running. Two weeks after the Mercer Island Half, I ran the Honeywagon Half Marathon and finished with a two-minute PR. I was super excited to finally make some progress and felt optimistic about tackling a fall marathon.

Honeywagon Half Marathon

Unfortunately, shortly after the race, I got super busy at work. I worked long days, and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice sleep for running. Also, at the end of a 12-hour day, the last thing I wanted to do was run. So I didn’t. On the weekends, I was tired and had commitments/things that took a lot of time (like buying a new car – yay!). I also got sick (I was sick on my 30th birthday – boo!), so that didn’t help. For about two months, my weekly mileage fell from 25 miles/week to about 6/week. Not exaggerating.

Which brings me to today, technically the second week of training for the Tunnel Lite Marathon. I feel out of shape, which isn’t awesome when I’m embarking on a new training cycle. Running a decent marathon in 15 weeks seems pretty impossible.

So should I quit?

A big part of me for the last month has said: Yes, Megan, quit. You can’t run a good marathon so what’s the point. 

What’s the point? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself for months, even when my running was going well. When you look at it rationally, marathon training seems pretty silly.

Well, here’s the point: It’s good for me to do hard things. And it’s also good for me to follow through and not quit even though I know I can’t be perfect. There are other points, of course, but these are the key ones for me right now.

In my decision to not quit, I’ve also thought a lot about how I want to train for this marathon. I’m pretty excited about how I’m approaching this training cycle, but I’ll save those rambling for another post.

Have a great weekend!

Mercer Island Half Marathon and What’s Next

Two weeks ago I ran my first half marathon of the year. My “A” goal for the race was a sub 1:55 finish, but given my lack of hill training and the hilly course, my main goal was to finish sub 2. My last half was the disaster Snohomish Half (2:15) and I hadn’t finished a half marathon sub 2 in a year and half, so I really wanted to finish with a 1 on the clock.

Mission accomplished!

Mercer Island Half MarathonGoing into the race, I felt relatively confident with my training (aside from my lack of hill work). Since CIM, I’ve been running five times a week, about 25-30 miles a week. Most of my runs have been at an easy/comfortable pace, but I have thrown in some tempo runs and a little speed work.

The race raises money for colon cancer. Hence, this giant colon at the expo. Super weird.

The race raises money for colon cancer. Hence, this giant colon at the expo. Super weird.

The first eight miles were relatively uneventful. Around mile 8, I started feeling a little tired and by mile 10, my legs were toast.

Christina and I walked through the aid station around mile 10.5 so I could grab water to wash down my GU. As I drank my water, Christina told me that she felt pretty good. I told her I felt like crap and that she could run ahead.

Running solo, I focused on getting to the finish line. There were many times I felt like I was moving at a glacial pace and wanted to walk, but I told myself, keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter how fast I’m going, just keep moving forward.

That became my motto for the rest of the race. Eventually I made it to the finish line and was thrilled with my finish time and my even pacing. 1:55:50 is two minutes off from a PR and a solid start to my racing season.

What’s next?

For the first time in twoish years, I am genuinely excited about running and I’m itching to train for a marathon. There were several times this winter when I was tempted to sign up for a spring marathon, but I resisted. I realized that I wanted to sign up for a marathon because I was restless, not because I wanted to put the time and effort in to run a PR race.

To ease my restlessness, I took on a few household projects (re-decorating the entry-way, making my own kombucha, cooking and freezing delicious meals to eat when I don’t feel like cooking, etc.).

Oh, I forgot to mention earlier, but I also got a job and started the first week in January! I’m working at a small non-profit, and I really dig it. It’s definitely the best job I’ve ever had, and it’s keeping me pretty busy.

But, back to running. I’m not restless anymore: I’m ready to train. I’m ready to commit myself to a goal and do what it takes to achieve that goal.

Dad and I are considering running Light at the End of the Tunnel Lite, which is September 13. Registration opens April 15, so we have a little time to make a decision. More on that later!