Diet & Weight Magazine

Marathon Update: The Hills Are Alive

By Danceswithfat @danceswithfat

IMG_1075In my blog last week I talked about the fact that my first marathon took way longer than I expected.  There are a bunch of reasons, I’ll talk about them more below but one of the major ones was that the Seattle hills just whooped my ass.  I simply hadn’t trained properly for the hills. Though the LA Marathon is very different, I’m determine to make the hills my bitch this time around.  Enter hill workouts, there are three different types that I’m doing:

Plain Old Hill Repeats:  Go up the hill, come down.  Repeat.  Sometimes it’s a number of times, sometimes it’s a length of time.

Mile and Back Hill Repeats: start at the base of a hill, run/walk a one mile out and back, go up the hill and come down, then turn around and go up and down the hill,  then run/walk a mile out and back. Repeat full cycle 4 times (increasing the number of times as training increases)

Screw These Hill Repeats:  (I’m sure this isn’t the official name but it’s what I call them)  Set number of hill repeats (I started with 6) Try to do each one faster than you did the last one, try really hard not to die.

“Luckily” I live by Signal Hill (pictured above) so I have easy access to a hill to go up and down. Yay!

Hill work can seriously suck but, I’m betting, not as much as not being ready for the hills sucked.

A lot of people have asked what happened to make my last marathon go on for four hours longer than I planned (I trained for 8.5 hours and it took almost 13.)  I’ve written a bit about it but gone back and forth on writing extensively – on one side there is plenty of helpful information about what not to do in the telling of it,  on the other I don’t want to appear to be “making excuses” for something which needs no excuse (despite the insistence of the haters who like to e-mail me their opinions as if I actually care what they think.) In the interest of telling the whole story, here’s what happened:

I started out over hydrated and nervously excited and so at mile 2 I seriously had to pee.  Unfortunately I was far from the only person in this condition and thus the lines at the port-a-potties were super long.  I took me over 20 minutes in line. (Of course my haters couldn’t figure out that my 25 minute bathroom break was almost all standing in line – likely because none of them has ever done a marathon -  so there are threads online with literally hundreds of posts speculating about my gastrointestinal health and bloviating about fat people’s gastrointestinal health in general.  One of the most hilarious things that has ever happened to me was discovering that there are people spending a ton of their free time discussing my poo.)  So that was 25 extra minutes.

When they re-opened the roads (two hours earlier than the signs said they were going to) they put us on a dirt trail that winds along the water, and also forced us to run up and down a steep, often muddy embankment as the trail had stops and starts. It was way slower than just walking in the middle of the road.  We also had to stop for traffic lights, and traffic where there were no lights, and go into restaurants to use the restroom after the port-o-potties were pulled off course.  Toward the end we were walking in a heavily wooded area in the dark, again – it was much slower than walking in the middle of the road in the day time.  With all of the winding and off-roading, we also walked over a mile extra.

I wasn’t ready for the conditions – I trained in Southern California usually in 70-80 degree weather.  At the marathon it was 40 degrees and I was freezing my ass off. I had never trained in wind like that (up to 20mph), and as previously mentioned, there were the hills.  I was happy with the preparation I had done, except that I should have done a better job of preparing for the conditions.

I trained entirely on my own, but walked the marathon with my Best Friend.  So instead of listening to music with nothing to break the complete boredom but obsessively checking my pace and keeping up my hydration and nutrition strategy, we talked as we walked and I didn’t keep track as I normally would. (To be perfectly clear, this is entirely on me – it was not in any way Kel’s fault).   I just didn’t stick to my plan. Also the closing down of the aid stations after mile 11 didn’t help and we were out there four hours longer than we had water or nutrition for.

So that’s it – I made tons of mistakes, they cost me and Kelrick a lot of time. I set out to complete 26.2 miles in one go, it was absolutely horrible but I did not quit and I finished 26.2 miles in one go. Success, however sucky. I’m eternally grateful to Kelrick for doing it with me and, dare I say, I’m actually kind of excited about doing it again.

Days until Marathon:  287
Current Level of Confidence:  9
Fun I’m having on a 1-10 scale:  9

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