I feel like maybe I should title this week’s update:

How To Train for a Half Marathon in Real Life

or better yet

How Not To Train for a Half Marathon in Real Life

Real life was my best friend, worst enemy and constant companion this week. It wasn’t a bad week, necessarily, just so insanely busy and filled with family and work and church and life responsibilities that running became the extra element that seemed impossible to fit in. I don’t think any of the workouts I outlined in last week’s training update actually happened on the day they were supposed to this week. If running is teaching me anything, it’s how to be flexible (or try to).

Here’s how it went down.

Monday I needed a two mile run. I was up extra early that morning before the kids woke up crossing off some blogging tasks that were overdue and critical so running took a backseat until that evening when Brian graciously finished cleaning up dinner and picked up the last kid from soccer so I could run a quick (well, not quick in speed but quick in the fact that it was only two miles instead of six) two miles on the treadmill before family night wherein my kids’ were taught a lesson from the scriptures by a very sweaty mom.

Tuesday I got a surprise phone call from my mom who lives 10 hours from me saying she was driving in for a 1-day trip to help me sew curtains I’ve been desperately wanting to make for my kitchen. And read books to the kids because she is the world’s greatest grandma after all. Words can’t express how excited we were to have her here for even a short time…but it meant no workout today (sewing and chatting with my mom takes precedence over doing squats and lunges any day).
training week 14

Wednesday was a five miler. My mom was still in town before heading back so I took advantage of that and ran after dropping the kids off at school (while she stayed with the two littles). It was a very windy morning so kind of brutal in that department, but I was glad to cross this one off in the morning since the rest of the day was jam packed with baking 100 cookies for an event, making and taking dinner to a friend who had a baby, teaching my kids piano lessons, attempting to get in my blogging hours, and various other daily responsibilities.

Thursday I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to make it to a 5:15 a.m. 80-minute hot yoga class about 25 minutes from my house. Have you ever done hot yoga? Wow. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Not only was the temperature sweltering (I know, shocker) but it worked muscles I didn’t even know I had as evidenced by surprising soreness the next day. I came home and told my boys I literally had sweat dripping from my earlobes and elbows. Their reaction? “Mom, that’s stinkin’ awesome!” Stinkin’ is right. Literally.
Training Week #14

Friday I needed to fit in a 3-mile run but thanks to a really late night Thursday + waking up before 5:30 a.m. most mornings this week, I was wiped out and lazily didn’t get up in time to get this in before the day started. Again, because it was going to be such a busy day my only choice was to pop Camryn in the jogger, convince Ty to ride his bike (better than pushing them both) and jog to the school where I was signed up to help make popcorn for a fundraiser. Not pictured is Ty crashing on his bike about 30 seconds into the run and it taking me 20 minutes to convince him to get back on and ride. In the end, we made it there, spent a couple hours popping popcorn and got home in time to eat lunch, get Ty to kindergarten, prep my 11-year old for his first scout campout, make five loaves of bread for a friend, try to cram in several hours of needed blogging tasks, and a bunch of other stuff. Not only was it an incomplete 3-mile run (it’s only 2 miles to the school and back) but it was split up, one mile there – rest – one mile back. But I had to tell myself it was better than nothing.
Training Week #14

Saturday eight miles was looming over me. I wasn’t able to run at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. like I’ve normally done with my long runs on Saturdays (get it in before the soccer games take over the world, I like to say!) because Brian was on the campout with Jackson which meant I couldn’t leave the four younger kids at home alone and after that we had three soccer games, watched some extra kids for the afternoon, and spent the rest of daylight working our fingers to the bone outside:

Finishing the chicken coop…
Training Week #14

Tilling a back pasture for garden, raspberries and grapes (ok, Brian did the tilling but the kids and I did the planting)…
Training Week #14

Caring for the chickens (she was finally brave enough to catch one herself for the first time)…
Training Week #14

…and about a million other projects like shoveling dirt into trenches, mowing the lawn, weeding flower beds and on and on and on.

All day, while working with the kids, I kept thinking “I have to still run 8 miles, I have to still run 8 miles” and the thought was anxiety-inducing and depressing since I was already pretty worn out from a long day. But since my personality loves a good schedule (or training plan in this case), I was determined to fit it in no matter the time of day. Because my excel spreadsheet said it was to be. So around 7:30 p.m. as Brian herded the children into showers and baths (and unbeknownst to me planted several huge pots with flowers for Mother’s Day on the front porch), I headed out.

I can easily say this was my hardest run to date. It was so windy there were times as the wind pushed against me I wasn’t sure if I could put one foot in front of the other. It was hot (I’m used to running in the early a.m. when temps are cool) and I felt like no amount of water could quench my thirst while running, I had to pee so bad (sorry, but the truth is the truth) and I was tired. I told myself at the beginning I was going to make it through the whole 8-mile course even if I had to walk it. My pace dropped slower than it has over the last 14 weeks but all said and done, I finished it running (limping, running, half-walking, it’s all the same, right?). And oh my goodness, I am so sore, it’s indescribable. I even had a kid come up to me at church today and say, “why you walking so funny?” Running at night is a new experience for me and as lame as it sounds, I could barely sleep Saturday night because my muscles were aching so badly. I think I better stick to morning runs when possible so my muscles can work their issues out throughout the day.

So there you have it. More details than you needed but a good record for me to keep and read back to myself in future weeks. It was real life this week. My life. A blessed and busy life and I did my best to make it all work.
Training Week #14

Coming Up This Week

This week is a lighter running week (hallelujah!).

-4 miles Monday
-Weights/Toning on Tuesday
-3 miles Wednesday
-3 miles Thursday
-Yoga/stretching on Friday
-4 miles Saturday

Hopefully I’ll be able to tackle these shorter runs in the early a.m. this week. We shall see. I can’t believe this half marathon is only five weeks away!

A Few Last Thoughts + Questions

-Now that the weather is warming up and knowing I may run later in the day, the heat is a factor not to be taken lightly. I haven’t needed a lot of water on my runs so far since I usually run when it’s between 40-50 degrees but running on Saturday in the 75+ range (I know, I know, it’s all relative to you living in legitimately hot climates) about killed me. I was grateful for my water belt and realized how important it is to stay hydrated before running, too. Any other tips for running in warmer temps?

-I’m happy to say that thanks to your recommendations on body glide stuff, chafing is being held to a minimum. I also bought some running shorts off Amazon (risky not trying them on in person but they fit well so that’s a bonus) and they were a lifesaver in the warmer temps instead of wearing my capri-length (or ankle length) workout pants. Also, I liked the ones I bought since they’re an inch or so longer than many other running shorts and these 37-year old mommy thighs don’t necessarily need baring to the world, if you know what I mean.

-I think I’m half-crazy (get it?) but I’m signing up for a second half marathon at the end of August (this one). I know I should probably wait to see how the first one goes in June, but there have been a lot of women I know in my area that have asked me about running and maybe because I can’t shut my mouth, it’s turned into a group interested in getting into shape, running together, and training for their 1st half-marathon over the summer. So. Yeah. Who am I and how did I get here?

-Also, for those of you running the Utah Valley Half Marathon in June, stay tuned next week for a few more details on meeting up after the race!

As always, I LOVE hearing how you’re running/exercise week went! Tell me I’m not the only one who ran in the midst of a very real, very crazy life.

And thank you, in so many ways, for being here and supporting me and offering your thoughts and advice and just letting me vent and talk and blab on and on about my running experiences. I know I’m not the first person in the history of ever to run or train for a big race…thank you for not minimizing this experience for me and for buoying up my spirits every step of the way. I’ve commented to Brian a dozen times since this all started that I would be lost without my little virtual running community. You guys rock. 

27 Responses to Training Update: Week #15

  1. s says:

    Your Saturday involved more than a workout AND you ran 8 miles? And your Friday???!! 5 loaves of bread!! You are amazing fitting it all in. Well done!!

  2. Jackie says:

    After reading this I can no longer say, “I didn’t have time to get my run in today” (and that has been happening ALOT lately!) If you can run in between all the rest of what you do I should be able to squeeze mine in too. Way to go Mel, you are incredible!

    • Jackie says:

      And I am super jealous, I would gladly give up a run (or pretty much anything) to spend an afternoon with my mom, the thought of sending my 11 yr old to scout camp terrifies me, and you are amazing for being able to teach your kids piano lessons- I can’t even sit and listen to my son practice because then I start trying to correct him and that doesn’t go well! Have a great week Mel!

    • Mel says:

      You are too nice, Jackie – I’m not nearly as incredible as you think but thanks for making me smile. I joke that teaching my kids piano lessons takes a year off my life every time we have lessons but it’s like the only extracurricular skill I can still avoid outsourcing for now. Although they HATE practicing because I’m in the kitchen or living room hollering “watch that b flat” or “slow down and count!” They’ll need a lot of therapy later in life for being kids of a piano teaching food blogger.

      • Jessica says:

        lol! I would love to know enough about piano to holler “watch that b flat” to my kids while they practice. My best is “that doesn’t sound like an actual song!” Good job on fitting it all in, Mel!

  3. Cara says:

    Way to go on your 8 miler! After working like a dog all day, kudos to you for getting out there and doing it! I ran 6.5 on Saturday and thats the longest run I’ve had since November with my leg injury (it was also the day I was supposed to run my marathon:) and I felt great. One thing that I do after a long run is to foam roll immediately after the run and then sit in the bathtub with ice cold water. I know it sounds like torture, but it helps SO much! I also drink a protein shake while in the tub and count minutes until I can get out, haha. I was not sore at all yesterday!

    • Mel says:

      Ice water??? Seriously? Oh my. I can see how it could help though – I made the mistake of sitting in a warm bath and I think it was worse than no bath at all. Way to go on your 6.5 lie run! I hope your injury is healing fast, fast, fast.

  4. Michelle says:

    Way to go getting your 8 miler done in spite of a hectic day! I’m a morning runner too and the thought of going out at the end of a long day for 8 miles sounds like agony. Extra credit for you! Any way to go signing up for your 2nd half marathon – Top of Utah was my first marathon and will always hold a special place in my heart. It rained cats and dogs the first 13 miles but it’s a beautiful course! Best of luck with the rest of your training for Utah Valley!

    • Mel says:

      Michelle – so if you check back here, you’ll have to let me know more about the Top of Utah course. Is it hilly? Flat?

      • Jamie says:

        Hi, I’m obviously not Michelle. The Top of Utah is the only 1/2 marathon I’ve ever run, but it is almost all downhill or flat. It is beautiful, but make sure to dress warm. You will love it!

  5. Jennifer Warren says:

    You are truly amazing…I just caught up with your last couple of weeks journey and your families support + your determination is quite inspiring! I don’t know how you do it all…sincerely…but you do and somehow make it sound doable! I’ve taken up a new routine myself and it is so true (being a planner) that sometimes you just fit it in where you can and it amazingly works out…and as long as you do that, you feel great for making it happen at all.

    On another note…my hair is a similar length…you should try to check out sweaty bands if you can…workout game changer in my opinion.

    You are almost there and I’m sure you will do great!!!

    • Mel says:

      Yes! Sweaty bands! Someone else recommended them a couple weeks ago and I bought one…and I agree, it’s been fabulous for my short hair. I wear it every single time I run now. Thanks for your kind words – be assured that I’m not always as determined as it appears (think: lots of venting to my husband and sometimes wanting to say bad words while I run).

  6. Mollie says:

    I’m totally impressed you got your run in on Saturday after all the yard work! Way to stick to your plan. I’ve been working really hard on making sure my runs happen before life takes off (about 6am, which means waking up at 5 – eek!). I’m making progress. Today I managed to get out the door at 6, which means I left my hubby to get the kids fed and started on piano in the morning. Tomorrow I’m going to make it my goal to actually roll out of bed the first time the alarm goes off! For hydration, I try and drink a lot all throughout the day. I aim for 100 ounces a day, so I just try and keep a waterbottle with me at all times, and aim for filling it up 4 times during the day. I only take water with me if I’m running for more than an hour, but that’s mostly because I hate carrying water. I agree that anything 75 and over is HOT! Another reason I like to get my runs in super early, as it’s still cool. I’m excited you signed up for another half – I hoping that means you are enjoying running a bit! I’m excited about the meet up details for the half! Any chance you are on Runkeeper? It’s a great app for your phone, but it also has a great social aspect. It’s one way my sisters and I can cheer each other on, even though we are training hundreds of miles apart. It also keeps us accountable. We know if we miss a few runs, someone will be calling to see if we are OK! I actually prefer the app “iSmoothRun” but it exports to runkeeper, so I can keep up with friends on there as well.

    • Mel says:

      Hey Mollie – too bad we aren’t neighbors. We could pound on each other’s door and get each other up at 5. I agree that I think “eek!” every time I roll out of bed that early but sometimes it’s the only way to make it happen (even when I know I’m going to crash around 3 p.m. that day). Thanks for they tip on water – I definitely need to try and drink more throughout the day. I’m not on run keeper but I’ll look into it!

      • Jessica says:

        Hey Mollie and Mel,
        Part of my post-surgery routine includes drinking lots of H2O. I’m using an app that I like called “Water Log” I can set a goal and it gives a visual for how close I am to reaching it throughout the day. I can also set a chime to remind me during the day to drink.

  7. Emily says:

    Hi Mel!! I wanted to chime in again this week especially since I’m super impressed with the way to handled life throwing itself at you.

    I hope you enjoyed your hot yoga class. I’m not sure if it’s anything like the one that I go to here but if it is, I have found that it has helped me in regards to cross training. I usually go 3 times per week and run 3 times per week.

    I also wanted to throw some advice your way when it comes down to running in the heat. Since I just started running, I haven’t really hit our brutal summers (90-100F) yet so I’m slowly learning these things. The biggest thing I’ve come across and have been told that the heat and humidity have played a factor is calf cramping. It was recommended to me that I drink 8oz of Pedialyte (store brand works perfectly!) a day to help with the loss of electrolytes and fluids which water doesn’t have. I haven’t started running far enough that I want water during my run but I do have a bottle of water waiting for me in my car for the end.

    I continue to be inspired by your weekly updates!!

    • Mel says:

      Ah, that’s good to know, Emily. Our temps will be in the upper-90’s throughout the summer so I’ll store away this tidbit. Thank you! Also, I can see how hot yoga can help with cross-training – and for me, flexibility!

  8. Liz says:

    Great week, Mel …even WITH all the extra stuff. Like everyone else, don’t quite see how you do it.

    Love, love, love the family photo … it tells the family story so much better than everyone perfectly posed. It’s a keeper!!

  9. Tanya M. says:

    Congrats on a full, busy and accomplished week! What a way to spend Mother’s day… relaxing from a busy week!! 😉 After feeling achy and tired all last week ( from the flu, not exercising, sadly!) I’m finally getting back into the swing of things! I borrowed a bike trailer from a friend and have been pulling my 3 year old all around! Talk about a great leg workout!
    I’m super excited for you to do another half! Wow!! Thats awesome!! I’m thinking of doing one after our Tri in July… who knows maybe I’ll join you!? We’ll be out of town when you come here for the UV Half so Ill miss out on all the fun! 🙁
    I’m sorry I don’t have any great tips for hot weather.. other than run inside on the treadmill with a fan and spray bottle. Thats what Ive done in the summer… cuz I’m allergic to getting up early in the summer when I don’t have to! haha 😉
    You go girl!!

    • Mel says:

      Bummer you’ve been sick, Tanya! I don’t know if I was really using 100% of my rational thinking skills with the 2nd half, but hey, who knows if I’ll be in this kind of running shape next year so I might as well go big or go home. I’d LOVE it if you joined in at Top of Utah! Keep me posted if you decide to! And I laughed out loud at your “allergic” comment. So, so funny (and so true).

  10. Holly says:

    Love the picture with the kids!

  11. Mariann says:

    Is that Brian’s Wisconsin hat? Still looking good. M

  12. Jen says:

    I came across this section of your blog when I was looking for recipes, and I just have to tell you how awesome you are! Last year, I went from not being able to run a mile, to running a 5k, then 10k, and then a half. It’s a super challenging process physically and mentally, but you are doing so great! Also, I just thought I’d offer a couple tips when it comes to your aching hip flexors. Throughout my training last year, any time I ran further than I’d gone before I had major, major hip pain during and after runs. If this is what’s happening to you, I’d suggest stretching really well before and after runs, and before bed (if you’re having trouble sleeping). The more you stretch, the better you’ll feel! Using ice packs after your run should also help a lot. I’m not sure if you’re like me, but after a certain point in my training plan, (somewhere around my 10 mile long run) my pain went away the more I ran. I think it gets better as your hip flexors get stronger and more flexible. I ran my second half marathon a couple weeks ago, and this go around I had hardly any hip pain while training. Anyway, I hope that helps if you’re still having issues there! Good luck with the rest of your training, you’re incredible!

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