2016 I set a goal to run a marathon a month – and I did it!!
In fact, I actually ran 14. I had 12 official race events, to make it “official” and then I had to create my own events as I had a hard time finding a race that would work with my schedule.
I think the hardest part of this challenge wasn’t the running. By the third month, I was ready to run a marathon at any given time. I don’t remember running an actual training run longer than 16 miles, as each marathon was a training run for the next.
I did all of the training on my own, except for a 6 week time period where I was able to test Ekiden Coaching, through Bibrave. I used my past experiences to get me through. Ok, I also asked Amy (she has run a couple 100 milers) for some help too. I didn’t really do much cross training either, gasp!
The hardest part was paying and traveling to all the races. I live in the midwest, in a smaller community. There are 2 marathons within an hour and a half of where I live, so I had limited options. I had to get to the races, and most of the time it meant a hotel stay.
The second hardest part was my nutrition. There were times I was recovering, but tapering for the next race, yet because I just ran a marathon, I needed to eat and I was hungry! I also struggled with the “I just ran a marathon, I can eat this donut, pizza, bag of chips, etc.” It was hard to make good food choices. On the flip side, there were races I wasn’t hungry afterwards too. I finally kept a jar of nuts on my desk, a container of peanut butter nearby, and a granola bar in my bag.
- January, the Louisiana Marathon. I drove to this race in Baton Rouge. Of course, since there was an additional reward for doing multiple events, I did the quarter marathon the day before too. My favorite part of this event was meeting up with Bibrave Pro Erica and enjoying all the post race food, King Cake anyone?
- February, the Iowa City Valentine’s Day Marathon. This is an event I had to create on my own. It’s hard to find a close event this time of the year. My favorite part was having friends support me, and Josh run with me.
- March, the One City Marathon.One of my BFF’s from high school, Kate, road tripped with me to Newport News,VA. I think my favorite part of this wasn’t even related to running, but hanging out with Kate -we spent over an hour stuck on the interstate, spent a night at a rest stop, and had our first Waffle House experience.
- April, Rock n Roll Nashville. I took this road trip with the hubs. I remember the delayed start due to the rain, but my favorite part of this race was running the warning track at the baseball stadium.
- May, the Chicagoland Marathon. At the time, I think there were a few races in May, but just had to get one that fit my schedule. This is another race where my favorite thing wasn’t race related, but meeting up for my pre-race meal with Bibrave Pro, Heather!.
- June, Grandma’s Marathon. I love this race, and I don’t know why, Duluth is such a great place. It was my second year running the full, and it was unseasonably warm, Josh even ended up in the medical tent. My BFF’s from high school joined on this road trip, and my favorite thing was a post race dinner at this 1980’s supper club with them.
- June, Run for Troops Marathon. Yep, I ran 2 marathons a week apart in June. I was running this even for the 3 year. My favorite part of this race is that it’s on a great trail, and it’s in Iowa.
- July, the CVNT 50k. Yes, I ran 2 races in June, but the idea was a marathon a month, no matter how many I did, I had to do one a month. This was an event I made up myself, I also remember it being very hot and all the chaffing. My favorite part was the post race party at the nearby truck stop/ gas station; it consisted of McDonald’s and tall boys in the parking lot.
- August, the Ida Grove Mazathon. This was another Iowa race, but still about 4 hours away. However, I would definitely do this again. My favorite part was the laid back nature of it and bacon on a stick.
- September, the Quad Cities Marathon. I have done an event at this race for many years now, it’s the closest marathon to me. It was soooo hot that day, I had a horrible race. However, I have a couple of favorite things; running with social media friend Kevin and getting course support from my 5 yr old niece.
- October, the Twin Cities Marathon. While everyone raves about the Chicago Marathon, which usually happens around the same time, I prefer this race. My favorite part was seeing people I know cheering me on as I ran, they were a welcome surprise.
- November, Milwaukee Running Fest. I was meeting back up with fellow Bibrave pro, Laura – and her dog Arthur. I surprised myself with this race and ran a faster second half, earning a free pair of shoes! My favorite part was the sunrise, ha yes, simple, but it set the tone for the race.
- November, the Madison Marathon. Another month with 2 races. Ok, so this one was tough, and I was only running it for the additional medal, the things I do. Anyway, my favorite part of this race was enjoying the first half with a pace group, what a fun, chatty group of people.
- December, the Arctic Frog 50k. I capped off the year with an endurance event. I really love ultras and the atmosphere around them. I had a couple favorite from this event, I made a new friend on the course and we ran a loop together. Second, my BRF, Heather was waiting for me at the finish line.
I had 2 down sides to this goal:
- My times all got slower. I could run forever at a slow pace, it’s more enjoyable, but not fast. I also think this is why I didn’t really have any major injuries during this.
- I gained weight. See the note above, but I was hungry all the time…. and I was making all the wrong choices.
I really enjoyed having this goal to accomplish. I am not sure what is in store for me next. I really want to run a 50 miler, but I am not sure I am ready. Perhaps, it’s about finding the right event and support crew.
Or, maybe I try to PR in all the short distances. Training to be fast is a different animal.
I already have races on the schedule, but I feel a goal can be made independent of that.
2017 – I am comin’ for ya!