A blog by runners. For runners.

Running a Marathon Takes a Village

This blog post is by our guest blogger, Lauren Reed. She recently started training for her first marathon. This week she went on her longest run ever of 18 miles! Lauren says she couldn't have done it without her running friends who keep her accountable.

Another week, another long run! This week I am thankful for the support of fellow runners. This was our first really cold run of the season. When my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. and I looked at the weather on my iPhone, the first thought that crossed my mind was “How can I get out of this run?”. The answer is you can't get out of a run when you have others getting out of bed at the crack of dawn to meet you!

As I drove to the park, I questioned my sanity. It was cold, windy and misting, which made it even more chilly. I was grouchy. To make matters worse, I didn't set out my clothes the night before and couldn't find my gloves. I ended up grabbing a pair of my husband's black dress socks. Not exactly the same as my wind-resistant gloves from the local running store, but worked in a pinch.

When I arrived and saw Steve and Keith waiting for me, I realized that I wasn't the insane one. They were. You see, they aren't even training for a race right now and they still came. I am pretty sure if I didn't have a race on my calendar, I would not have been there! They joined me for the first ten miles and Rachel and Joanne joined me for the last eight. I am so grateful to have friends who understand the need to support a fellow runner during their first 18 miler, even in less than ideal conditions. They keep me accountable.

The entire 18 miles was amazing! The first hour or so was really cold and really dark. In fact, we were about seven miles in before we even saw another runner. We cracked up when we realized it was Danielle, a fellow member of Nolensville Running Club. We were the only crazy ones out that morning. I learned from the mistakes from my somewhat miserable 16 miler and was able to keep my knee in check. This means I had to walk up and down all hills and never fully stop. I used to stop when taking my GU, but now I just go to slow jog or walk so my legs don't get tight. It worked because the knee pain never became more than a minor irritant. Walking up and down hills is frustrating. I actually like hills and I hate feeling like I am slowing the others down. I have learned that I just need to swallow my pride and do what works for me while I am dealing with this knee issue because the alternative is not running or running in pain. We ended up doing 18.03 in three hours and 28 minutes, which is around an 11:30 pace. It was a breeze and the morning flew by. Granted, we are running at a slower than usual pace for these long runs, but I still didn't expect to feel this good. To be honest, the run never really got hard. I couldn't believe we were done when I heard the Garmin beep at mile eighteen. I toyed with the idea of throwing on another two miles since I felt so good, but knew it wasn't smart to veer from my training plan.

We are 36 days out from the race! My body can really tell I am upping my mileage. I saw my trainer twice this week and my knee was killing me both sessions. It hasn't ever hurt during strength training before. It also hurts now when I sit for extended periods of time. I had my first Euflexxa injection this week. The doctor said most people feel the maximum effect three weeks after the third injection, which puts me right around race day. The injection itself didn't hurt too much, but I was really achy afterwards. It only lasted for a couple hours, though. I'm really pumped to see how much this will help because I already have my eyes on a spring marathon.

You know how the say it takes a village to raise a child? I think it takes a village to run a marathon! Fellow runners encourage, motivate, push me and keep me accountable. They show up on a rainy, cold Saturday mornings to provide support. My husband puts up with me staying in every Friday night because I have a long run the next morning. He takes care of our three-year-old every Saturday morning while I am out running. He keeps his complaints to a minimum when sometimes after these long runs I am too worn out to do anything on Saturday afternoon or evening. My son is always waiting for me when I get home with a smile on his face and asks how my “running” was. Nolensville Running Club didn't meet this week because of Halloween and he begged to go see all of mommy's running friends. When I started running, I expected to get in better shape and have some fun. What I didn't expect was to find this amazing community of people in my own backyard. I know some of my friends and family don't understand this crazy journey of marathon training, but they all support me. And for that I am truly grateful.