Marathon Twinkle Toes

Training for my 1st Ever Marathon!

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January 10, 2016 – Oh, Baby! (26.2 freakin’ miles)

Mickey VinylmationOh, man. I did it. I actually freakin’ did it. I completed my FIRST FULL MARATHON. Ekkkkkkk! I am now part of the exclusive .05% of people in the world to complete a marathon. And I had a blast doing it.   I must say, if you’re going to do a marathon, WDW is the place to do your first. I stopped and took pictures with characters, rode Expedition Everest at the half way mark in Animal Kingdom, got a margarita in Epcot at the 25 mile mark, and jammed with the Gospel choir at mile 26.  What other race can you do all this?  No where!

Time/Sch-mime: What about my time goals, you ask? Well those went out the window in the first five minutes of me running when I discovered my legs felt like lead! I don’t know if it was exhaustion from all the 20+ mile training runs, the temperature (it was 68 degrees and 80% humidity on race day – at least it wasn’t raining which it had been threatening to do!), the fact I had awoken at 1:00 am to get ready and was at the race site by 2:30 am, walking around 3 different parks logging in over 20,000 steps on my Fitbit when I meant to keep it to half that, or because I had flown in on a red eye to get to Florida the day before. I just don’t know. But I do know my legs weren’t going as fast as I wanted them to. That’s when I realized I should relax and enjoy this experience. And, boy, did I!!!

No Pain/But A Marathon Gained: I had zero thigh, shin splint, or foot pain during the run. Of course, my legs were exhausted and tired, but there was NO PAIN. That’s amazing! I told my physical therapist that I’m dedicating my marathon medal to him because his treatment plan for me really, really worked big time. Man, I wish I would have bought him one of those mini-medals.

Not All Rainbows and Unicorns:  I am SO GLAD I decided to ride Expedition Everest even though I knew it would really put a damper on my time.  So worth it!  That and getting my margarita really put my experience over the top.  No complaints about my race at all…. except for one thing.   I enjoyed the course until we got to the endlessly boring stretch of mile 17 to 20 which was at ESPN World Wide World of Sports. It was cool to run on the track and have the crowds cheer us and being on the jumbo screen, but that was only a small part of the 3 miles. The rest of the time was super boring. I kept thinking “will this torture ever end”?

Listened to My Body: I had initially planned to keep doing intervals until Mile 23, but decided (with my legs feeling like they had ankle weights dragging me down) that I should only walk after mile 20. I just didn’t want to risk straining my Achilles heel like I did the last time I pushed myself to keep running long after my body told me to stop.   Though it was a wise decision, I know I could have finished way sooner. In fact, near the end, I decided to run for the finish (to ensure some great action photos. You can’t say I don’t have my priorities straight! lol) my legs felt fine.

Pee Pee McGee: Something weird happened – I usually only have to use the bathroom once during a 20+ mile run – typically at the beginning. Well this time I peed about 4 times before the start of the race (even though I wasn’t drinking anything) and then a couple of times during! Just call me Pee Pee McGee! The last pitstop I waited a good 10 minutes or so in line because it was a real bathroom. I just couldn’t face another disgusting porta-potty. Ugh!

Never Again! …Okay, Maybe ONE More Time: In the first 20 miles of running, I thought, “Ain’t NO way am I ever doing this foolishness again!” But by mile 25 I started thinking, “I can finish this way faster the next time.” Maybe it was the margarita talking? But no. It’s been days since the marathon, and I’m still thinking of doing another one. My last 6 months of training were interrupted many, many times due to injuries before my physical therapist gave me the key to preventing injuries. With this new knowledge, I could kick some major butt in my next training season. I just know it!

I’ve Recovered From Recovering: I’m further encouraged because after the marathon was over, I recovered pretty darn quickly! Yes, my feet started to hurt right after crossing the finish line, and I limped a bit. But not that bad. Also, I was able to go up and down stairs easily which was shocking since I normally have problems after doing just a half marathon. Maybe my 10 minute icy cold bath took away the soreness. (I say “icy bath” – not “ice bath” because I sort of cheated. I filled a small garbage can one time with ice and poured it into a tub of cold water because I didn’t have the patience (or energy) to hustle back and forth to the hotel ice machine to fill it the several times it would take to have a tub full of ice.) Guess an icy bath works just as well. The next morning when I had to catch my flight, I didn’t even have a limp or nuthin’. It was great. So great, I did the Star Wars Half marathon exactly 7 days later with no ill effects. Yeah, yeah, I know some experts say you shouldn’t run for a month after a marathon, but my legs felt great! And they still do. It’s been nearly 2 weeks since the marathon, and I feel fantastic. No issues whatsoever. Yay!

So what I want to remember for the next marathon (yeah, I’m pretty sure there will be a next one):

  • Massage the calves! Foam roller, use the stick roller, and massage with my hands. Do it all. Soften those puppies. It made all the difference in the world!
  • Lean forward, long strides, butt tucked in, mid-foot strike.
  • Throughout training, do the series of stretches and lunges faithfully from that book I mentioned in an early post.
  • Work on strengthening my hip flexor and ankle muscles.
  • Tape the moleskins to my feet to prevent them from loosening once the sweating starts. (I have custom orthotics, but they aren’t cushioned enough in the places I need it.)
  • Use KT tape on the left foot (following the plantar fasciitis instructions) and the right foot (following the ankle stability instructions) the night before the race. Put a strip of KT tape to the tops of my feet.
  • Piece of Smucker’s Uncrustable every 4 miles, Salt Stick tablet every hour, swig of Accelerade Sports Drink or Nunn every mile.
  • Weight training
  • Charge the Garmin 620 Forerunner watch the morning of the race so there is enough juice to carry me to the finish.
  • When I stop doing intervals, turn off the alerts on my watch.
  • Use Body Glide on the heart rate monitor to prevent rubbing.
  • You are a MARATHONER and can accomplish ANYTHING you set your mind to do.


Overall this has been a great and rewarding experience. Thanks so much for tuning in to my adventures. See you at the next finish line!



January 6, 2016 – Last One! Last One! (3.36 miles)

Did my last run before the big race !  Woo hoo!  I hate to say it but I only did “okay.”  Probably because I hadn’t run since December 29th.  There’s a good reason for that.  I went on a 2-mile hike on December 31st  (doesn’t sound like much but that sucker was steep!) and a one hour kickboxing class on January 2nd (where I kicked major butt – pun intended!).  I was supposed to go on a 7-mile hike/run on Sunday but changed my plans to go visit a dear aunt who is in the hospital.  Family is more important than a killer run. So anyhoo, got my last run in tonight.  Now it’s time to pack.  It’s almost race day, ya’ll!!!!!

December 29, 2015 – A Meh Kind of Day (1.25 miles)

Routine run at the gym.  For some reason I wasn’t feeling it AT. All.   Only did 1.25 miles and had to push myself to do that much.  My shin felt wonky though it didn’t hurt.  Probably all mental.  I was so worried about my tendonitis coming back that I couldn’t relax.  At least the day wasn’t a total waste.  I brought out my jump rope and did about 500 or so jumps.  Then I attended a one-hour weight class.   Still having trouble doing the lunges in class.  It hurts plus my knees shake something awful when I try to lower it into that darn 90 degree angle.  Must say I did way better at it than I’ve done before.  Lunges are supposed to make you a better runner.  I’m trying, ya’ll!  I really am!  Two weeks before the big race.  Yiiiiikkkkkeeeeeeeessssss!!!!!!

December 27, 2015 – Good Headway (7.05 miles)

So I haven’t run in about a week.  Can’t remember why.  Probably due to tendonitis.  Always with the darn tendonitis.  But anyhoo, I got up this morning and ran my little heart out.  I really did.  Went at a pretty fast pace.  Really pushed myself.  The run proved that I won’t fall apart if I exert myself.  Probably would have done better if I had gotten my 2 mid-week runs in but water under the bridge.  By the way, its so funny how after getting one injury under control  new ones pop up.  My hip flexor was bothering me something awful after the run.  After the 22 miler last weekend, my hip flexor was sore for days.  Oh yeah!  THAT’S why I didn’t run my 2 mid-week runs.  The pain is all coming back to me now….  Very awkward trying to get the ice pack down there.  At least this time the pain didn’t hit until well AFTER the 7-mile run.  Though it’s got me concerned.  I don’t want this to happen during the big marathon.  I contacted my physical therapist.  He told me it probably had to do with my glutes and told me to do exercises for my glutes.  I’ll add it to my endless list of exercises I must do:  ankles, shins, calves, thighs, arms….  now my butt.

Regardless… Yay!  The future looks promising!

December 19, 2015 – There’s Only 1 FIRST Time! (22.02 miles)

Mission Accomplished!  I did my last long run.  Now it’s time to taper for the big race in 3 weeks.  Woo hoo!  I was supposed to do only 20 miles today, but I was feeling so good and pumped up, I decided to do 22 instead.  By mile 18, I began regretting this decision when my poor feet were aching.  (Before the run, I skipped putting on one of the footpads I usually use.  THAT was a mistake.  Ouch! And then I realized that my right foot swells, making my shoes uncomfortable.  Awkward!)  But I managed.  More than managed.  When I got back to the stopping point, I had only done 21.75 miles.  Feet aching, hip aching, I decided to keep moving until I got to 22 miles and did so.

That brings up the new development – hurting left hip.  THAT’s never happened before.  I’m guessing that when I was struggling to keep my strides long inspite of my aching feet, I must have overcompensated with the hip action.  Icing it and two Advils have helped with the inflammation.

A positive note:  My fueling was on point today!  No “wall” or hunger issues.    My strategy was:  Salt Stick every hour, piece of Smucker’s Uncrustable every 4 miles (210 calories), piece of Honey Stinger Waffle every 4 miles (between the Smucker’s) (160 calories), swig of Accelerade every mile (120 calories), and Nunn as needed.  Nearly 500 calories.

When I got home, I was looking forward to a long soak.  Then I realized I had forgotten to buy Epsom Salt.  Boo!   I hope the Amino Acids (BCAA) and Accelerade take care of my sore muscles.

Mickey MouseInitially, I was following the Jeff Galloway marathon training plan, but when he wanted us to do 26 and 29 mile training runs, I stopped.  There’s only one “first” marathon.  I’m not doing it all alone on some training run where no one gives a crap. At my first marathon, there will be a band and confetti and Mickey Mouse and crowds roaring and, most importantly – A MEDAL!  oh…and Almond Roca!

So I’ve got three weeks until the big day.  I will concentrate on healing from this dang 22 mile run then getting my fancy foot work up to par with jumping rope, massage/roll my feet more, try to lose a little more weight, massage away this pestering tendonitis once and for all, and get a little faster. And not to freak out!  I’m gonna be a first time marathoner soon, ya’ll!!


Photo credit: J.E.Skodak via / CC BY-NC-ND

December 15, 2015 – It Will Have To Do (2.16 miles)

Had to cut my 3.5 mile short.  My tibialis anterior tendonitis was acting up.  Wah!

December 11 and 13, 2015 – I Tawt I Taw A Puddy TAT (3.45 miles) (3.34 miles)

tweety birdAfter my triumphant 23-mile run last weekend where I had zero knee, shin splint, or thigh pain, a day later my shin started hurting again.  Boo!  My fault.  My Physical Therapist told me to massage my tender areas, and I half-assed it.  My shin splint has a name: Tibialis Anterior Tendonitis (TAT).  And better still – I have a treatment.  Although my therapist told me to massage deeply over the sore spot, I just didn’t know how.  Luckily, I found this great video that shows me an effective way to massage my TAT.  TAT Massage Video

Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this technique until AFTER I did my Friday morning run.  And unfortunately, I didn’t do this massage BEFORE my Sunday morning run.  I still had fairly good runs.  Friday – the pain didn’t hit until after my run was over.  Sunday – the pain hit immediately when I started running.  I decided to be sensible and cut my planned 5-mile run to a little over 3 miles.  No use is aggravating my leg.

So now I’m doing the massage, and my leg feels great again.  I’ll do it a few times a day until it really heals.  Got a 20-mile run coming up soon.  I want to be totally healthy so I can see what I can really do out there!

By the way, almost forgot!  I reached my goal weight!  On Friday, I weighed myself before the run and then after.  I lost a pound and a half!  I thought – “Oh, it’ll come back after drinking water.”  The next morning after weighing myself, I was still a pound lighter which put me firmly in my goal weight range!  I’ve lost 10 pounds since I started training 5 months ago. Yay me!

To celebrate, I had a pepperoni pretzel for lunch and a cupcake for dessert….  Sigh.  I just couldn’t help myself…  Hopefully this morning’s run minimized the damage.

Anyways, looking forward to some pain free runs coming soon!

Photo credit: andorand via / CC BY-NC

December 7, 2015 – A New Hero Will Be Unleashed! (Running Costume)

You know what makes doing a marathon doable – THE PERFECT OUTFIT!!!

The race encourages people to dress up so I’ve spent weeks trying to figure out what I want to wear that will represent me and my journey and inspire me all the way to the finish AND look awesome in photos with the new shiny blingy medal.  It has finally come together!  I’m so excited.   I was considering Wonder Marathon Twinkle Toes Woman, but it just didn’t seem to…work.  So I went in a different direction.

Public – Meet your new superhero!

Captain America

Okay, so this isn’t me.  But I will look JUST like this on race day.

Oh, except for the abs….or the slim figure…. or the boots… or the shield….or the blonde hair…or the clothes….or the good looks…

But other than that, I will look JUST like this on race day.

Actually, I might tweak the outfit a little.  Since I’ll be running 26.2 miles, I don’t want to be weighted down so I’m keeping it kind of simple:  t-shirt, shorts, and nail decals.  Maaaayyybbbee a red tutu.  We’ll see how I feel. I’m sure the red/blue will look good with my new medal.

Just call me Captain Marathon Twinkle Toes!


Photo credit: crocksrule via / CC BY-NC-SA

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