26.2 With Donna Health & Fitness Expo

Saturday morning started off somewhat lazy, but I was awake and ready to go by 7:30a. It’s amazing what excitement + anxiety will do for you = super productive (now, too bad I wasn’t at home and I could’ve cleaned my entire apartment in 2 hours flat I’m guessing). Later in the day, my mom, sister, and myself drove into Jacksonville to visit the 26.2 with Donna Health and Fitness Expo downtown at the Prime Osborn. Based on the location, I knew this would be the largest expo that I’d ever been to and boy, was I right! It was huge!!

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We wandered around and saw tons of booths and sampled chocolates from Peterbrooke Chocolatier <- so good that they escaped any photos. As always there was lots of swag to pick up and I left most of mine in Jacksonville as my bag seemed to be shrinking each time I looked at it.

DSCN0147 Packet pick-up was a smooth process and there were very few lines at the tables. It was very well organized as long as you knew your bib number, but there were plenty of volunteers to help you out, as well.

DSCN0142 My mom checked the speaker schedule briefly and we realized that Joan Benoit Samuelson was due to speak in about 10 minutes,so we quickly grabbed a few chairs and camped out. It was really cool to hear her running evolution and even the goals after winning some of the major races. Since I was the only first time marathoner, she gave some specific advice to me (and yes, I will probably run another one). Too many what if’s continue to go through my head!

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After a quick photo op by the entrance with my bib (and an opportunity to see Donna Deegan, the race’s founder at the expo), we were off to carb-load and relax before race day!

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Marathon Training Recap: Last 4 Weeks

After my half in Florida in January, I quickly realized that my marathon was just around the corner <- *cue mental freak-out* and my longest run was my only 13.1 miles. I know, I’m terrible and should never increase mileage so quickly, but I took my time and didn’t overly kill myself. I knew I wanted to feel strong, not exhausted at the end of it all. So, off I went for 17 miles.

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Mission accomplished! I was happy, but not dying at the end. I took my pace much slower than I probably could have, but again I wanted to be able to move afterwards. Laundry won’t do itself and my pup still needs potty breaks during the day.

Long story short: the first 5 were decent and fun. I had my girl with me, so my mood and spirit is always high with her. The next 12 were rough. I tried the Margarita Clif Shot Bloks and hated them – give me my Chocolate Outrage GUs all day long! The absolute worst part was reaching the top of a hill, seeing Uptown, and knowing that I had to turn around and run back the way I came [I did an out-and-back course for the 12]. But I knocked them all out and I’ve never felt as accomplished as I did when I returned home to a quite energetic girl, I might add.

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The next weekend I set my mind to complete 19 miles. Now, that’s an increase that makes sense! Once again, Sizz and I took off for our 5 mile loop that takes us through uptown before I dropped her off before heading back out for another 14 miles. I mapped out a course that was more of a loop with a smaller loop in the Southpark area. I love running down there and staring at all the crazy, obsessively large houses, but wish there was a better trail system in the city. I tried the Salted Caramel GU at mile 10 and all seemed to be going smoothly [I also took my favorite Chocolate Outrage GUs at miles 5 and 15]. And then it happened, I hit the wrong button when I went to restart my Garmin after stopping at a light and saved the run around 16 miles. I was so mad at myself that I wouldn’t see a new PDR happen again that weekend. I took my fury out in my last 3 miles and made up some time! Hey, whatever works, right!? At the very end, I was trying my darnedest to get to 19 miles so I was running laps around my building and freaking Sizz out since she could see me from the window. Run complete!

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So, 19 wasn’t too shabby; it was time to conquer a 21 mile run the following weekend. I mapped out a course that was about 16.5 miles knowing that I may cut some corners and didn’t want to come up short after dropping my girl off after her 5 mile jaunt around town. It was incredibly overcast [yet, somehow my Garmin connected almost instantly], so I erred on the side of caution and started Runmeter on my phone. It may not always be the most accurate, but I sure wanted to see a new PDR [and not 2 separate screenshots]! The first 5 went smoothly, as always, and then I dropped Sizz off before continuing on my 16.5 mile out and back course. My Garmin lost signal around mile 7.5 and I could NOT figure out why I wasn’t keeping my pace up – I kept running and running and running. Well, it turns out I was – thankfully Runmeter was still tracking my time. I gave up on my Garmin and let it keep running, but continued to check my pace on my phone. I took another Salted Caramel GU and struggled to get my energy up again for the next 5 miles. I then took a Chocolate Outrage GU and was like a brand new woman again. Lesson Learned: stick with what works! I arrived back home and was slightly shocked when I checked out Runmeter; it was a shiny new PDR for me! Knowing I only had 4.5 miles more to go for race day was a sweet surprise and gave me the confidence that I can complete a marathon in 2 weeks time!

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This last weekend was a bit of doozy for me…I needed new shoes as mine were completely shot. Who knew that when they bend in half vertically that they are done…lessons learned everyday. After a trial run of 5 miles in the Mizuno Wave Rider 17, they just did NOT work for me. I went back to my favorite Run For Your Life and they hooked me up with some sweet Brooks PureFlow 3 that I loved the minute I put them on.  Now, time to break these babies in before completing a challenge that a year ago I never said I’d do: complete a marathon!

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