Multiple Marathon Madness

I have been on fire with the whole 26.2 mile distance. Starting with the Marine Corps Marathon (October 2015), I have now completed four marathons in about a five month period of time, and I still have one more to go (Dusseldorf Marathon, 24 April 2016) for the spring. Let’s not even get into my fall schedule, which has another four marathons and one half penciled in. Oh, did I mention that I’m already looking ahead to 2017 and trying to plan what races I will be doing then, too? All of this is much to my saint of a husband’s chagrin.

Ashley & Robyn ready for the marathon!

Ashley & Robyn ready for the Little Rock marathon, 6 March 2016!

I’m clearly hooked. It’s been fun. It’s been hard. It’s been challenging. But most importantly, it’s been worth every training run, every drop of sweat that has rolled down my face, every blister I’ve developed and even the couple of toenails that have been lost along the way. With my first three marathons being run within a 90-day period of time, I’ve even qualified for the Marathon Maniacs, which is a group of people who love to go the distance. (Maniac #12339!) For the record, I’ve only achieved the lowest level, the ‘bronze’ level, as a Maniac, which means I have opportunity to level up. My goal is to hit silver in 2016. Yes, there area actually people who run 52 marathons in a 365 day period (or 30 Marathons in 30 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) within 365 days, or 20 marathons in 20 countries in a 365 day period), which puts you at the highest level of titanium.

Being a Maniac, I have earned the right to wear a Marathon Maniac shirt (image right), and of course I bought one, debuting it at the Little Rock Marathon. From my past races, I have seen the ‘love’ given to Maniacs along the course, both from other runners and from the crowd. People see your Maniac shirt and they yell encouragement, strike up conversations and single you out for that extra cheer. Being in the Maniac shirt, I was not disappointed. (There are other perks to being a Maniac, but the race day love is probably the best!). I certainly will continue to show my status as a Maniac going forward. The camaraderie within the group is strong, and it is nice to have a network of others who can help a newbie like me with my questions, thoughts on different races and simply sharing their own experience to help encourage me in my journey.

As I ran my long run of 13 miles yesterday, I was reintroduced to the heat of Cayman. When I started it was around 95-degres ‘real feel’ and fairly high humidity. Yes, it is only mid-March. I have a feeling this summer will be a doozy. As I ran along, allowing my mind to open and my body to relax as it settled into the rhythm of the run, I thought about how I am looking forward to the next marathon in April, and then also how much I am ready to take a short break from the longer training runs when the summer heat gets unbearable.

I realized a couple things about my initiation into the world of marathon running, including how I have felt about running multiple marathons with 1-2 months in between. If it were up to me, I would love to run one about every 4-5 weeks. According to the Hal Higdon training plan for multiple marathons, if I run marathons with only four weeks in between, my longest training run during the non-race weeks is13 miles. However, if you go more than four weeks in between, you need to up your miles to maintain your fitness. My 2016 marathons have all had seven weeks in between races, meaning that I have been doing weeks of 10-13-16-20-16-12 miles as my weekly long runs. While I no longer ‘dread’ the idea of a 20 mile run (and actually had such a great one in February that I wish I could have bottled it up and saved it for another day!), it is taxing on the body, the mind and on the husband who comes to support me. Thankfully, he continues to be my rock in this crazy race to ensure my fitness level stays where it is. I think though, that he is looking forward to the break of the summer (well, we’ll still be running, but just not as far, sweetie!), cringing only when I mention how I am thinking about a 4-hour goal for Chicago. If I pursue this goal, it will mean higher weekly mileage and harder training in the late August/September heat. But, I think I will cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, my sights are on Dusseldorf, enjoying my first European marathon and my first time in Germany!

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3 thoughts on “Multiple Marathon Madness

  1. Great post Robyn! I can totally related, although my schedule is not quite at your level, but close! Going into this year, I had completed 5 marathons total and my 2016 schedule had me running 3, maybe 4 but that has now since changed to 5 plus what will hopefully be my first ultra…it’s crazy when I think about that sometimes! Having the 50 state goal like yourself will do that and you start looking at training cycles…there are some periods I have 10-12 weeks between marathons, Chicago-Maui-Salt Lake (next month) but then I go into a 3 marathons in 85 days period, Salt Lake-RnR Seattle-Missoula, then a 3 week break until my first shot at a 50K. Will definitely have to adjust the traininc cycle, but my 3 in 85 days attempt will get me one of those crazy marathon maniac shirts as well, so totally worth it!! Sorry for writing a post on your post…I should save this comment for an article of my own 🙂 happy running!

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    • I’m glad I’m not the only really crazy person out there! Yes, that 50 state goal is possibly going to do me in! LOL It’s just really hard living where I have to get on a plane anytime I want to run a marathon. So as I look at next year’s trips, if we are gone for two weeks, I may try to start the trip with a marathon and end it with a marathon, with 2 weeks in between. Not ideal, but it might help reduce costs and give my husband a bit more patience with my running. It’s all just a bit insane for sure. And as long as I’m having fun, I’ll keep doing it! Hope you have a great run today!

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      • It is a crazy journey and challenge for sure, and I can totally relate. Of course, I don’t quite have the travel logistics…though being in Seattle in the top left corner of the map, we are about as far as possible from all the Midwest and east coast locations, but still nothing compared to what you have to plan for. It is fun…crazy fun, and planning is all part of it too. I hear you on the 2 in 2 weeks…I’d consider it too and probably will consider with all those cross-country trips we will need to make. Look forward to continuing to follow your journey and hopefully we’ll meet up at a race somewhere along the way!

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