April 29, 2015

Avenue of the Giants Marathon Training: Week Whatever

This coming weekend is the Avenue of the Giants Marathon. I'll be walking my little heart out as a testament to life being GREAT after a hip replacement. I think I've only mentioned this in passing.

Shit. I could've been amassing huge pageview numbers all this time if only I'd been posting about my training.

Shit. Posting anything would have been a solid step toward increasing pageviews.

Too late now...I'm just cringing over this lost opportunity.


If you've never walked a marathon, you might not know that you actually do need to train for it. I was in denial about this for the first 8 weeks of my training program. In fact, I completely ignored those first 8 weeks. Ignored. They didn't exist. They never even happened.

My #marathontraining began on January 19th. Because I have GOALS, I jumped right in with 13 hilly miles. Two weeks later I did another 13. From there, I tried exponentially increasing my long walk mileage every two weeks for ....ummm... two weeks. And then BOOM! I was staring down the barrel of my first 20 miler. My training plan gave me time allotments instead of miles to hit. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen the pictures and read the whining about HOW FUCKING LONG 5 AND A HALF HOURS IS. Walking fast up and down hilly trails for over five hours is something I don't care to repeat until the Apocalypse is upon us and I need to walk to fucking Walnut Creek to obtain life-saving medical supplies or some such shit.



Luckily (I guess?), we are in the middle of a drought and I've had amazing training weather all spring.

Okay, I've done three walks of 20 or more miles which got progressively less enjoyable. About two-thirds of the way through the last one, all I could think about was how totally not fun it was...how boring it was...how I really didn't care to ever walk that long again. I wanted a ride home but was in the middle of a regional park/cow pasture place with NO ROADS so that was not even an option. So I ate my last BBQ ribs (yes, I bring real food on my hikes) and said, shut up, bitch, to myself. You are so fucking lucky to GET to do this. You could be limping with a motherfucking CANE. Finish the damn piece. I was so right.

I finished. Slowly, but to the bitterly smiling end.

In addition to these few really long walks, I also do shorter walks. My weekly schedule has consisted of two 3-mile walks usually around my neighborhood, one speed session on a treadmill to monitor and standardize a speed faster than my goal pace, and a "hills" workout. At first I did real hills, but then the down part was not feeling good on my hips and also seemed to take forEVER, so I switched to long intervals on the StairMaster...3 or 4x15 min HR@AT with 3-5 min rest between.

Walking can be dangerous.
Trying to text and hike was stupid.
Between the walking and the rowing and the strength training, I think I'm pretty ready.

Now for my GOALS:

Primary: Don't get kicked off the course. The first cut-off is 3.5 hours at the half. Then the course opens to traffic at 7 hours.

Secondary: Average pace of 14:30/mile, which works out to finishing in around 6:20.

Tertiary: Break 6 hours, which would be averaging 13:45/mile.

The first goal is definitely achievable. The second is only slightly faster than my first hilly 20-mile hike...and the course isn't particularly hilly so quite possible. The third is a stretch...especially since I did a timed 10 miles and averaged 13:2something on very flat terrain. Of course, I was wearing new shoes which SUCKED.

Hoka Stinson ATR.
Very soft and bouncy and unlike the Stinson Tarmac.
This is why I don't do posts about training. They are super boring. Well, mine are. Uneventfully well-prepared. I am so excited for it to be over so I can focus on rowing. Now THAT won't be boring.

Do you find the end of a training cycle to be a grind? Or do you get super excited as you get closer to your event?

Do you like your shoes soft and squishy or more on the firm side?

What do you think would be the hardest part of walking a marathon?


  1. I'm totally feeling your pain! I'm hoping for less then 5 hours and I get to run. ahhhhh! I wish I had something fun to dream about while I run. Like becoming a very rich pundit that everyone clamors to hear....or something like that.
    I LOVE the Hoka Cliftons. Not so much the Bondi's. I use the Bondi's for short runs because I bought them.
    I did one of those falls where you don't really fall but you trip and your arms are swinging like crazy to try and recover and you look like a dumbass. On a busy street. While on my phone. At least I didn't bleed.

    Good luck!!!

    1. I had a near-fall like that a couple of weeks ago. My windmilling arms threw my phone like a bullet across the street. And people were watching :(

  2. walking is so slow... I could never line up for a race and the walk... 6+ hours is just to long! I've run a 90km race that took 7h26, and that was really hard just being out there.

    you are amazing and I will but waiting to hear all about race, are you doing this alone, or are there others walking?

    1. I hope there will be some other walkers. Shit. I really hope I'm not the only one! That would be kind of hilarious.

  3. Right on, congrats on nearing the end of training! That race looks incredible. I can't wait to hear about it.

    I hate squishy shoes. I've had so many running store clerks try to put me in heavily cushioned shoes and for so long I didn't know why running felt so awkward and painful for me. It was my decision to try out a lighter more nuetral shoe and it changed my life.

    1. It's right by where I camped last summer. It's gorgeous!

  4. Five and a half hours of solid walking is hard-core. Good luck for the weekend.

  5. I will say that the walking makes you bad ass and hard core. I have done one mara at the 5 hr mark, another at the 6 hr mark. its hard but you DO feel badass at the end.
    As for feeling the grind? At the end of a training cycle holy hell yes. sometimes motivation takes a huge flying leap out the window. fack. No matter I get nervous and some bitsd of excited - but nervous - I always worry about biffy breaks. I run in Brooks Glycerine or Mizuno Prophecy for the long runs (anything over 2 hours) so I like cushioning, but not pillowy softness. IF that is a thing.

    Enjoy the scenery along the route!!

  6. Yes!! That was me! If you see me again (I'll be there ALL DAY), come up and introduce yourself. Good luck, have a great race! :)

    1. I knew it! It was right at the end. You smiled at me and I got shy.

    2. Did you blog previously as XLMIC? When you introduced yourself as Marjorie I started to wonder if you were the same blogger. Either way, it was great to meet you! :)

    3. You're so smart ;-)

      It was lovely to meet you. I wish I'd been a little more coherent!

  7. I wish I'd known you were doing this. Seriously I've been wanting to do AOG for years. I can't even imagine walking that far but I KNOW you can. You'll make the cutoff! I love squishy shoes. That said mine are firm and nasty and I need a change since I got a black blister the size of Iowa at my last 10 mile race. Training, any training pretty much exhausts me. Can't wait to hear all about this!


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