T-Minus 9 Days Until My First Marathon!

So… there are a mere 9 days standing between me and attempting my first full marathon. Gah!! How did it creep up on me so fast?!

I’m officially in taper mode. Yesterday, I met up with my long lost running buddy Karen (she’s been injured, but is on the mend now – yay!) for our first run together in WAY too long! We’ve been doing some walks and yoga dates, but it was so great to get out and pound the pavement together again. :)


I had 5 miles on the docket per my running coach Mary. Karen and I weren’t feeling a hilly route, so instead of heading down towards the water/DC, we did a less hilly neighborhood loop.


My legs felt a little sluggish, but overall we had a great run, chatting away the whole time as per usual. :) I’m loving all the fall colors out there right now, too!



Random fun fact: way back in the day, I used to be in a group on Facebook entitled “I will go out of my way to step on that slightly crunchy-looking leaf.” Lol. I totally still will. Anyone else? ;)

It was gray and overcast when we started the run, but by the time we finished it had turned into a gorgeous, sunny morning. Hooray!


5 miles in 43 minutes and 58 seconds – check!


  • Mile 1: 8:42
  • Mile 2: 9:01
  • Mile 3: 8:45
  • Mile 4: 8:59
  • Mile 5: 8:26

Aren’t the leaves behind my watch in this photo insane?!


So – what’s the plan from now until the marathon? Here’s what I’ve got on the docket. I’m keeping all these activities very low key on the intensity/speed scale, but I think it will be a good mix of keeping my legs lightly active and resting them up:

      • Today: rest day
    • Tomorrow (Friday): 4 mile run
    • Saturday: yoga
    • Sunday: 8 mile run
    • Monday: swim
    • Tuesday: 3 mile run
    • Wednesday: yoga
    • Thursday: 2 mile run
    • Friday: rest/travel to Richmond!
    • Saturday: RICHMOND MARATHON!!!
    I’ve been using swimming and yoga as my main forms of cross training over the past month (with the exception of the Tough Mudder!). I had intentions of keeping up with CrossFit or kickboxing at least once per week (here’s my marathon training plan), but I just found that swimming and yoga have been complimenting all the running and my tight/sore muscles better. Plus, when my foot was hurting and then once it started to feel fine again, I didn’t want to risk it. It will be great to get back into CrossFit/boot camps/kickboxing after the race is over!
    Any tips or advice for me as I gear up for the marathon in just over a week? One more thing I have on the agenda already is to watch Spirit of the Marathon to pump myself up! I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before. I’m also planning to read a lot of marathon race recaps from fellow bloggers, so if you have any really inspiring (or really good “lesson learned”) recaps to recommend, please share links! :)


  1. 1

    My plan looks very similar — I’m running 10 on Saturday, 3 on Monday, 3 on Tuesday and 3.5 on Thursday…then RACE DAY on Saturday! I can’t believe it’s this close :) Pretty excited — I’ll be looking for you at the race. I’ll be in an Oiselle singlet and a bright pink tutu, so if you see me, give a shout! :) I’m actually enjoying the taper — how about you?

    • 2

      Awesome, good luck out there!! Def say hi if you see me. :) I’m not organized enough to have a race outfit yet but I’ll share pics on the blog before the race/as soon as I decide! I’m enjoying the taper, too. Getting antsy for the race to just be here already!

  2. 3

    I just ran my first at MCM and have a looooong recap on the blog :)

  3. 4

    Good luck for your marathon, you’re going to do amazingly well. Your training has been so speedy! Here’s my NYCM recap from a few days ago!

  4. 5

    So exciting! I have been following you closely lately since I’m training for my first marathon too. And I also live in Arlington (VA Square) so I recognize some of your routes…and feel your pain on the hill of death…agghhhh! I’m running that same weekend, the Philadelphia Marathon though which is on Sunday the 17th. I can’t believe the end of training is here it’s unbelievable! I’m so scared/excited to see what my body can do. And like you I’m excited to get back to my other forms of cardio after haha. I’ve missed them!

    Good luck to you! I’m sure you will do great and I’ll look forward to your recap.

    • 6

      How fun – great to hear from a fellow Arlington-er and first time marathoner! I’ve heard good things about the Philly Marathon. Good luck out there next weekend – I hope you crush it!

  5. 7

    You are doing great! There’s no more work to do, just rest up and stay healthy. Wash your hands, no high heels, walk carefully, and get pumped!

  6. 8

    Good luck! How exciting. And seriously, who doesn’t love crunching fallen leaves?!

  7. 9

    Good luck! It’s amazing crossing that finish line after your fist marathon. I’m a 46 year old man and I even wanted to cry at the accomplishment!

    The best advice I can give is to remember your form. You’re going to hit a wall around mile 17+. Almost everyone does! You will be tired but get back into your proper running form to minimize the energy output. It’s going to be hard to do but you’ll handle the next 9 +/- miles if you keep your running form in check.

    I still have issues hydrating properly but I’ve found ways to push through pain and that just comes with running more and more.

    You’re a good runner and should have no problems with this. Oh, and do what ever you have to do to motivate yourself when those walls present themselves. I’m not a big believer in pep talks or hype, but lately I’ve been screaming at myself through my inner monologue to keep going strong. I guess it’s helping because I PR’d every single race from Oct 6th through Nov 2nd this year!

    Have a great time and post lots of pics.

  8. 11

    I can’t believe its so close!! Rest up, play it safe, hydrate lots, and enjoy the taper. Crazy taper brain might kick in but that happens to everyone. Try and get a massage in early next week to loosen up your muscles and again a few days after the marathon, it really helps. I have a wonderful sports massage therapist I use, if you looking for someone. Hope to see you out on the course!

  9. 12

    hahaha I was totally part of that group too!

  10. 13

    Happy tapering!

    Here’s a recap of my first marathon, the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon:

  11. 14

    Richmond is a perfect race, the scenery is worth it alone… my favorite place along the course was the long stretch as you start running along the water.

    Good luck and embrace it… you only get one first :)

  12. 15

    Just rest up and visualize yourself completing the marathon! You’ll be great!

  13. 16

    You’re going to do amazing!! No tips here… I just did my first half!

  14. 18

    It’s coming up! You’re going to do great!

  15. 19

    You’re going to rock it!! Can’t wait to hear your recap :)

  16. 20

    I just ran my first marathon last week, ING NYC Marathon. Even though I had trained so hard, I was SO nervous for two weeks leading up. I got some great advise that I will pass on… trust in your training. What you put in, is what you will get out, and you know you trained well. Some little tips that seemed to have worked for me….I created a motivation Pintrest board filled with all the running mantras/pictures that keep me going. A few days before the race I printed some of these out and put the on my fridge, as well as my training schedule, so I could remind myself of all the miles I have logged. If it’s anything like NYC, you will be at the corrals for hours before you actually run. Bring warmer clothes than you think you will need, better safe than sorry. Enjoy every mile because it ends too fast!

  17. 22

    wohooooo love the fall and love the excitement for the first marathon!!! I truly say just enjoy it, know there will be tough moments and easy moments and soak it all in!

  18. 23

    Eek so excited for you! Can’t believe it’s so close! You’ll do amazing, you’ve been so dedicated to your training, you’ve done all you can do at this point.

  19. 24

    Good luck with the taper period! It’s tough, but also a really nice break. My biggest piece of advice for the main day is to try and enjoy every minute, both good and bad. It will be over before you know it! And then remember to ride the high for as long as possible! I just ran my first marathon at MCM. Here’s my race recap:

  20. 25

    Yay for your first marathon! I’m doing Richmond, too, but I haven’t run the course, so I sadly can’t give you pointers on it specifically. Here are some tips from my previous marathons, though:

    1) Don’t get caught up in the hype the first few miles and race too hard. Your adrenaline will be pumping, but don’t let that get you racing too fast. Always better to save energy for the end and pass people then, as opposed to pass everyone at the start and get passed later.
    2) Don’t try anything new. I would vote against any new clothes, socks, shoes, fuel, etc. I’ve made the mistake and paid for it with loads of chafing.
    3) If you are hoping to race it, set A, B, and C goals. A if the day is the best day ever, B if some things go awry, and C if the day has gone completely to hell. This means that if you don’t hit one goal, you have others to fall back on, so you won’t feel like the day is a failure. Again, if you’re not racing for a specific time, ignore this, but it’s helped me a lot.
    4) Most importantly, HAVE FUN! You’re going to be on a journey for 26.2 miles, so enjoy it and remember how awesome and lucky you are to be on it!

    Best of luck out there! Hoping that we have great weather!

  21. 27

    Ah so exciting! The last run you have for 2 miles is going to feel like you ran like a yard ha-ha. I have never run a marathon so I do not have any advice but this marathon recap made me tear up! Its so good!

  22. 28

    i think you probably already know most of the big tips, so here’s a pacing habit i recently picked up that i think helped me: take each mile at a time. do NOT think about the pace of remaining miles, and do NOT think about the pace of miles you’ve already covered! before, i would try to add/subtract speed based on what paces i hit in my past miles or what paces i think i would hit in future miles. ex, if i was aiming for an 9-minute pace and accidentally hit an 11-minute mile , i would then try to “make up for it” by running 7-minute mile on the next one. the race gods do not work this way and it knocked me out in the end! i was unnaturally adjusting my speeds and all the gear shifting hurt me at the end of the race. now, i just focus on hitting my pace EVERY mile and that is it. if i don’t make it, there’s no “catching up” later in the race. i don’t know if this makes any sense, but anyways this comment is getting quite lengthy so i am going to stop now. ha.

  23. 30

    At the starting line of my very first marathon (MCM 2007) my older sister turned to me and said “ENJOY today, for you will never have another FIRST marathon!” While you have trained hard, don’t stress too much about times and expectations. Just enjoy the day and be proud of how far you have come!! GOOD LUCK!

  24. 31

    SO exciting – you’ll do great!!!

    PS. Love those fall leaves.. I miss the colors of DC during this time of year!

  25. 32

    BIG typo in your post, A ;) It says “attempting my first full marathon” and should read: “TOTALLY ROCKING my first full marathon.”


  26. 34
    Roadrunner says:

    Yes, crunching leaves is one of life’s great pleasures! Good luck with the final week of prep. And rereading some of the classic compilations of marathon stories will fired you up big time!

  27. 35

    LOL at the crunchy leaves bit – very true!

    Good luck! You’ll do great!

  28. 36
    Miranda Kibler-Simon says:

    I was in that Facebook group too – how funny!! Good luck in the marathon

  29. 37

    Good luck Anne! I know that you’re ready to conquer this thing! Be sure to stay hydrated this next week and eat lots of “normal” foods for you. Oh and not too much fiber the night before or morning of!

  30. 38

    Spirit of the Marathon is such a fun movie for runners! It will definitely get you fired up!

  31. 39

    Good luck with your marathon – I”m sure you’ll do great!

  32. 40

    I was in that leaf-crunching facebook group too! I miss the days of silly groups. I was also in one called “Hummus is Yummus” because obviously :)

  33. 42

    Hi! I did my first marathon on October 20th – not that long ago! I was feeling exactly the same as you were when I was in the taper week – nervous but excited. I also watched Spirit of the Marathon for the first time during my taper week! It was great motivation. You’ll do great. The only advice I have is to not have too many expectations and just enjoy it :)

    If you want to read my super detailed recap, it’s here:

  34. 44

    Girrrl, you’ve GOT this! Get some running mantras when times get tough, I always like “You are always stronger than you think you are.” Truth.

    And if that doesn’t work. I’ll call my friend Ryan Gosling to make sure he’s at the end of the finish line with a few puppies. ;)

  35. 46

    My taper plan seems so much more intense than everyone else’s! That scares me, but I trust my coach and plan to cut one of next week’s runs out anyway. I’m staying at the Omni so hopefully we get to say hi at some point! What corral are you in?

    As for tips, especially for your first marathon, ENJOY IT! Richmond is a perfect first marathon — the course is gorgeous and interesting, the people are so nice and the hills aren’t bad. It’s super organized and just awesome.

  36. 48

    Good luck next weekend! You got this, girl. Can’t wait to see pics and hear a totally rockin’ race recap soon! :-) I just realized that the marathon my (off-site) supervisor has been training for is the Richmond one – it’ll be his first too. I doubt you’ll run into each other, but I’ll be cheering you both on! haha

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