While visions of unicorns, danced in her head…

Reality Check: Marathon Monday is in 19 Weeks. 

Reality Check Number 2: The party is about to be over.

I’ve got 7 days. So repeat after me.  Put down the IPA, Colby. Pick up your beloved Hansons Marathon Method. This will become your Bible. You will not complain about running in freezing temps.  You will lay off the suds. You will eat copious amounts of spinach and leafy greens. You will make sleep a priority. You will cross train. You will work your goddamn core. You’ve got one week before you start training to run the race of your dreams.  You waited your whole life for this- DON’T SCREW AROUND. 

*puts on game face*

Right after my game face was firmly planted, I randomly burst into tears. Yup. Totally true. While running intervals tonight it really sunk in- It was time to start training. Official Training starts next Monday. In one week. So like a total Crazy Pants, I sobbed.  Not because I was dreading training. Not because I was overjoyed. I cried because I was overwhelmed. I was beside myself. I’m training to run THE Boston Marathon. I can’t even wrap my head around it. Still! It’s a dream. The enormity of Boston. I never thought I’d ever run it. I never thought I would earn that BQ. It’s so damn big. 

So tonight, like I do every single time since I started this Boston Marathon journey, I visualized myself turning onto Boylston as I ran. I tried to imagine how I would feel so close to the finish. I visualized every breath, every stride. I allowed my imaginary feeling to sink in.  Such hallowed ground. I imagined myself seeing that finish line. I am Boston Strong. It moves me every time I visualize it. I finished my run, and headed home to find a package from my very best friend, Tina. What a nice surprise. She always knows exactly the right words to say at the exact right time. That’s a true Best Friend. If you find one good friend in life you are lucky. Me? I Found Tina. That means I hit the jackpot.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m taking my pillow to bed. I’ve got some dreaming to do. Thanks, T! Muahhhh!


Are you kicking off training for a Spring Marathon soon? Do you practice visualization techniques


25 thoughts on “While visions of unicorns, danced in her head…

  1. I am toying with the idea of a spring marathon and this post just about pushed me into entering! Do you use the Hansons beginner or advanced program? Advanced program looks a little terrifying, but the beginner one is probably doable.

    Have so much fun training!!

    • DO IT!!! I used Hansons Advanced program. And yes, it’s terrifying BUT. It works. Their program works. Both of them do. I know it seems counter-intuitive- the lack of a traditional long run, but cumulative fatigue is no joke. Training on tired legs winds up training you for those last 6 miles. And training your legs to run at your desired pace made all of the difference for me. It kicked my ass. It showed me what I was made of. And it worked for me! Good luck Ashley! Figure out what will work for you! I’m no coach, but I am a believer. 🙂

  2. I have some clients doing visualizations right now–I’m hoping that it helps her. But I am so happy for you. You really did work so hard, you believed so hard, and you did. And soon, you will did did.

  3. That pillow is so perfect!! What an incredible gift and friend. I got burned out on my marathon training in 2016. I promised myself I would not do a spring marathon (and being a local race ambassador for a full marathon it will probably make me quite jealous when I’m only running the half!).

    • Burn out is REAL. I needed this break after Marine Corps. Although somehow in my head I thought it was longer! I am happy to by back in the saddle again. And my girl Tina- can’t talk about her enough. She’s the best- to run Boston TOGETHER is such a gift! What a day that will be!!!! 🙂

  4. That pillow is perfection. I try to visualize success when the going gets tough, but sometimes a good swift kick in the pants is necessary…

    Thankfully no spring marathon for me (my husband and I are about to move 900 miles), but I did just register to be a charity runner for the NYCM in 2017 and I’m trying not to let panic set in just yet!

    • Isn’t it though? I love it. And I’m with you with the swift kick. I find that I use it more during the last few weeks of training. That’s really when you need to train your mind. Where ya moving to!!?! That’s exciting! And New York is simply amazing. Love that you’re running for a charity. Always means just a little bit more. 🙂

  5. Visualizations, yes, a zillion times. Books: 26.2 Miles to Boston (read & re-read, will help w course viz), Racing Wisely, Running Within, Champion’s Mind.

    Hill training, yes – start runs with downhills, then sharp uphill at 0.5, then rolling, etc. For treadmill runs, have the course profile so you can simulate (downhill = 0 if all mill can do).

    Random things that have helped me:
    Know that the water stops are every mile after 1st 2-3 and that they are on BOTH sides of street, staggered, so you don’t have to change sides. (also, if uphills make tummy tight, as they can for some, look at profile to figure out where to take gel, etc.) If you’re going to take the provided drink, test it ahead of time.

    Practice nutrition and timing. At least a few long run days, especially if you normally run first thing, get up awful early and then go through your pre-race routine timed as it will be on race day including breakfast, snack, sitting/standing as you will be forced to (on floor, ground). For example (me): get up 3-5a as I have to get ride out to where club bus is, eat something, sit around house IN RUNNING KIT (w robe over it), then pretend get on club bus, sit more, pretend get to Village, walk around a little, sit or stand, have whatever snacks. Guess your corral time and know they’ll start sending you over 30+ minutes earlier, so walking and standing pre-start, portapotty stops. Start at least a few of your long runs at estimated wave start time (10:20, 10:50, 11:15).

    Excited for you!

    • Wowzah! You’re a pro!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to jot down some pointers- and for the book recommendations! I plan on doing a few long runs around the time of my start as well as strategic hill placement during long runs. I have an opportunity to run along the course which will also be helpful. I’m looking forward to it. So damn much. 😊

  6. That pillow is so great! I get jitters thinking about crossing the line of my first ironman in April. I get the OVERWHELM, I’m feeling it now. 🙂

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