How to 1/2 marathon train in the winter? Cross Train

Holy moley – it’s been a whirlwind of a couple months, busy with ½ marathon training, shoveling out of 8 feet of snow and most recently speaking at the Lead On Conference for Women last week!

But not to be ignored, the NYC Half Marathon is in just 10 DAYS.

The longest I’ve run at one time has been 11.5 miles in California last week

Wait, what?

Some of you are totally freaking out for me right now. So let met explain.

As you have probably heard, Massachusetts (where I live) has had a pretty rough winter. Last year, I proudly donned my layers and trained and trudged out on snowy side walks. This year I didn’t.

Why?

There are literally no more sidewalks left.

Lake Quanapowitt, where I normally run, has no sidewalk and no shoulder left. Most of our sidewalks are a mixture of a narrow pathway that has been carved out of the ice, an ice skating rink, or completely non-existant. 

So, it forced me to get a little creative, and incorporate something that has been sorely missing from my normal running routine – cross training.

For example, we got hit with another 18 inch snow storm when my training schedule called for an 8 miler. You know what I did? I set up a circuit in my 3 season porch, which included a set of stair sprints. I ran up and down those stairs 150 times that day (yes. It was nuts).

I also started going to the gym with a really good friend of mine. She’s pushed me to try new things and really focus on total body strength. My favorites? The battleropes and ball slams – talk about therapeutic.

And then… of course. The dreaded treadmill has come into play.

Yes, I have said before how much I hate it. How much I avoided it. 

It’s become a necessary evil – so I’ve started to embrace it. I’ve set it to hill modes and intervals. It passes the time and still gets me to run.

How do I know all of this works? Because when I went to California and I went out on my only real long run of this training session, I was able to hold my half marathon pace for 11.5 miles. I felt like I could have picked it up. 

I felt like I was strong and could have kept going.

We’ll really see how well it works for me in NYC, but it’s taught me that I have to roll with the punches and make lemonade out of a bunch of lemons and snow.

How have you dealt with training in this snow this winter?

A Look Back on 2014

So, we are within the last 24 hours of 2014. This time of year is always full of hustle, bustle and sometimes a good amount of stress, so sitting in silence and thinking about everything that has happened this year is strangely relaxing. 

2014 was a powerful year. Not in the fact that I broke records, or gained Hulk-like super strength powers. It was powerful because I showed myself what I was capable of, if I made myself a little uncomfortable.

It was the year where I became a marathoner. I ran two marathons, one where I got freakishly ill, and one where I was recovering from an ankle injury. I found myself bargaining with my body, my brain and anyone who would listen to me. My favorite sign from the Marine Corps Marathon still remains, “You want to get fit, run a 5K. You want to talk to God, run a marathon.”

I learned what it was truly like to push my limits. On Killington, I found myself jumping into freezing water, running/hiking/walking 17 miles in slightly above freezing temperatures, and in the company of some of the most amazing people I have ever met. This year, I pushed myself out of my “I’m just doing this alone” mindset, and met some incredible people. From flying out to Vegas to race before a conference, to Killington, to flying to DC to run my second marathon – I would not have been able to do it without the people I have met along the way. 

I also learned how important rest is. By the time Marine Corps Marathon arrived, I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. Why was I exhausted? Well, this was my year of races (not including the 100s of miles in training):

  • February 15, 2014: Cupid Chase (3.5 miles)
  • March 29th, 2014: Gator Gallop 5K
  • April 5, 2014: Spartan Race Super Las Vegas (8.5 miles, OCR)
  • April 13, 2014: One Run For Boston (13 miles)
  • April 28th, 2014: Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC (13.1 miles)
  • June 22nd, 2014: BAA 10K
  • June 24th, 2014: JP Morgan Corporate Challenge Boston (3.5 miles)
  • July 25th, 2014: Marathon Around the Lake (26.2)
  • August 2nd, 2014: Viking Assault Evansville (3 miles, OCR)
  • September 12- 13th, 2014: Reach the Beach NH (18 miles, 24 hours)
  • September 18th, 2014: Thompson Island 4K
  • September 20th, 2014: Spartan Race World Championship Beast, Killington VT (17 miles, OCR)
  • October 27th, 2014: Marine Corps Marathon (26.2)
  • November 16th, 2014, Spartan Race Fenway Sprint (3 miles, OCR)
  • December 6th, 2014: Frozen Frolic (3.5 miles)

The plenty of back to backs, plus the increasing milage, took it toll. Yes, I managed to nab a few PRs (5K pr is now 26:45!!), pushed myself to new distances and had the chance to travel to race, however, I didn’t take enough time to recover (physically and mentally) in between. 

The biggest highlight of the year? I learned to love my body.

I never have been a super skinny girl, and my thighs and butt have always been a little larger than life. However, this year, when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t focus on the pudgy parts. I focused on what my body was able to accomplish. If you had told me 4 years ago, that I would run a marathon (let alone two in one year), i would have laughed, or rolled my eyes. If you would have told me that I would have completed a Spartan Race Trifecta, and completed the 2014 Killington Course, I would have told you that there was no way my jiggly butt would make it. 

And in the process, it may have gotten a little less jiggly.

I’ve learned that my quads love the rush of tacking a hill (or mountain), and will keep me going much longer than I thought possible. That my feet might no longer look pretty, but they get me where I need to go. I might not have six-pack abs, but they are strong enough to keep me standing tall.

For that, I thank you 2014, and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. 

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