It’s been a while since I’ve written or shared anything online.
That’s not to say that there haven’t been plenty of adventures to share – in fact, the opposite is true. Since my return from Australia and Thailand (more about that soon!), I’ve been crisscrossing the continental United States - but have been pretty terrible about documenting any of the stops along the way.
Since I’m back on the writing wagon, it’s about time I share the results of my “One Month to Marathon” crash-course training experiment. (And photos from some pretty dreamy training locations, like the Arboretum at the University of California - Davis, below.)
Back in May, I wrote about a looming marathon date and the nonexistent training I’d done to prepare. It all began with a trip to visit a friend in Western Australia (who also happens to run). My travel dates aligned perfectly with the Perth Marathon, and since I have a dream of running a marathon on every continent, the opportunity seemed too good to pass up.
I intended to train, but when a snowboarding trip led to a broken wrist and wrecked shoulder, I wound up majorly lacking mileage heading into the home stretch. My plan was to write a weekly something about my last-ditch efforts to get body and mind into marathon shape - an experiment in last-minute training, if you will. Despite best-laid plans to write and train, I ended up doing very little of either.
Instead, I crammed in some half-hearted runs while still in California, then hopped a flight to Australia two-weeks from race day. Plans to train devolved into eating, drinking, and adventuring across WA, with a few short runs along some very scenic paths (like the one below).
We did tackle one long run before the big day: a 14 miler that had views for days (and crossed the 32nd parallel!) but it was an total disaster. With heavy legs and suffering lungs from the beginning, by mile 10 we were walking every other mile, and while we got the final distance in, we became fairly convinced that there was no way we’d finish the following week’s race without some walking in the mix.
Imagine our surprise when one week later, we ran the whole thing and beat our earlier marathon time! (Granted, our previous experience was San Francisco two years before, and the hills there are no joke.) My shoes may have been a half size too small (I came away with giant blood blisters to prove it), and we may have barely kept our breakfasts down near the end, but we totally made it to the end of the Perth Marathon, with smiles on our faces, at that.
Not only was it our first international running event, but the weather was perfect, the view of the city from the finish (shown at the top of this post) was great, and there's nothing better than tackling a new adventure or athletic challenge with a close friend. Plus, like I've said before, I find running to be a great way to explore a new city - and there's something extra special about crowds of strangers (and fellow runners) cheering you on in what is quite possibly the world's friendliest accent. (Have I mentioned yet that Australian's are the absolute best?)
Anyway, if you're into running (or would like to be) and are considering a race or event, why not make an adventure out of it? Whether traveling to a new city, state, or even country, throwing a running event in the itinerary is a great way to get a feel for a place and mix things up.
Looking to try a one month marathon training plan? A note of caution - it's not the smartest nor safest way to train for 26.2 (or 42.1k, if you're in AUS, or really anywhere else in the world). If you’re not a distance person, or don’t have a base level of fitness – really, I beg you, don’t do it.
While I can look back on it now with fondness, this race was by fair the most painful I've ever attempted - which I attribute to my utter disregard for training. But if you have a solid base level of fitness (and have already told all your friends you're doing it, and/or you have a stubborn streak), it is possible to get it in gear in just a month…if you’re cool with bloody feet, screaming quads, and almost hurling on the nice woman handing out medals at the end, that is.
Get Your Marathon On:
For those with some discipline and a desire to (properly) train, Runner's World has 15 different marathon training plans to suit your fancy.
Wanna see what 42k looks like? Here's a pic of our smiling faces at the 2015 Perth Marathon finish line.