First Marathon Story: Emily from Em in NYC!You may remember that last year, I ran several first marathon storieson my blog. I wanted to share…View Post

First Marathon Story: Emily from Em in NYC!

You may remember that last year, I ran several first marathon storieson my blog. I wanted to share…

View Post

First Marathon Story: Valerie

Happy Friday! I just got out of work, and I am SO excited for a long weekend.

Here’s another First Marathon Story, from another one of my gchat besties, Valerie. I will probably say this any time I post one of these, but I am SO excited for her.

val disney.jpg




Zero to 26.2

Years running

I ran my first 5K in March 2011 and have been running on and off since then, but only regularly since June of this year.

Marathon training for

Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2013

Why I decided to run a marathon

Other than because I’ve lost my mind? It’s something I’d been thinking about for a few years, and becoming friends with a bunch of runners only made the voice in the back of my head stronger. I’ve never been particularly athletic, and it’s something I want to prove to myself that I can do.

My fiance Kevin and I went to Disney World with friends a couple years ago, and ever since we’ve thought it would be fun to do the marathon there if we ever made the commitment to do a long race. With the Disney marathon’s 20th anniversary in January (and my upcoming 30th birthday later this year) I figured this year was as good as any to do it!

How is marathon training measuring up to your expectations? What’s better or worse than you expected?

First of all, running is HARD. It’s just not something that comes naturally for me. I started out with a nearly 17 minute mile and over 10 weeks have gotten that down to just under 15 on a good day. Thankfully we still have 4.5 months to go for me to get stronger and faster.

One thing that’s definitely easier than I’d anticipated is just getting out there and running four times a week. We just missed our first run this past week, and that’s because we were up in New York and our feet were worn out from all the walking. It’s been really great to have Kevin as my training partner and to help keep me accountable. As for anything that’s harder than I expected, I honestly expected this to be kind of awful and, well, it hasn’t been! It’s hard during, of course, but I always feel better once I’ve finished a run. We’re only up to 5 .5 miles, though, so I expect my feelings may change once we approach double digit mileage.

Number of days running per week

Four. We’re following Hal Higdon’s Novice Supreme training plan to the letter, except that I need to get better about doing cross training.

What are you most excited about for the race?

Crossing the finish line and having the volunteers place the medal around my neck! I have several friends who are also running the marathon and half marathon that weekend, so I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone down there. We’re making a vacation out of the trip and will spend the four days after the race hobbling around the parks, and yes, I will wear my medal every single day.

What are you most terrified of?

The sweepers. Disney makes you maintain a 16 minute per mile pace, or they politely escort you to the loser van. The idea of spending 7 months training, trying your best and then not finishing makes me want to throw up.

Do you think you’ll ever run another marathon?

Let’s see how I do with the first one before deciding! I’ve heard they’ve addictive, but time will tell.

Number of black toenails so far

Zero and I hope to keep it that way! But I have an extensive nail polish collection should the need arise.

First Marathon Story: Kimra

A bunch of my friends have decided to drink the marathon Kool-Aid and are training for their first marathons. I’m ridiculously excited for them—and everyone else training for their first marathons. I remember how excited I was for my first marathon and want to vicariously live through others’ first times, so I’m starting an Official Blog Series sharing the stories of those training for their first marathons. Are you training for your first marathon and want to be featured? Email me at theodora.blanchfield @ and I will feature you!

Today’s installment comes from another one of my gchat besties, Kimra!


Name: Kimra

Blog: Every Day is Another Dumb Adventure (

Years running: 5

Marathon training for: Berlin Marathon — September 30, 2012

Why I decided to run a marathon

Two years ago, when I was training for my first half-marathon, I learned that I loved longer distances. I spent three months out of town for work that year, and as my long runs got longer, I got to explore more of my temporary home on foot. I started researching marathons the day after I finished that half! But I also tend to get injured easily, and I was wary of committing to a big race that I might not be able to complete. What finally got me to take a chance was a combination of a great course and great timing.
Last year, I spent about 48 hours in Berlin and fell head-over-heels in love with the city. My husband and I went for a run there, through the Tiergarten and the Brandenburg gate, and I almost immediately started trying to figure out how we could do that again someday. When I saw the Berlin marathon course and realized it was a giant loop that would let me see 26.2 different miles of this city I loved, I was sold. And when I realized the timing worked out so that we could hop over to Munich for Oktoberfest a couple of days later, I knew that even if the worst case happened and I couldn’t race, I’d at least get a great vacation!
How is marathon training measuring up to your expectations? What’s better or worse than you expected
I feel like this is where the cool kids would complain about marathon training interfering with their social life, but I’m a homebody anyway and my husband is also running Berlin, so it’s not much of a hardship to stay in on Fridays to eat pasta and wake up early to run. (I did switch my long run to Saturday from Sunday though, so I can have one weekend night where I don’t have to worry about how what I’m doing will affect the next day’s training.)I honestly expected to be much more of a basket case about training. I got injured in January, and I spent a lot of time worrying about whether I’d be able to run Berlin at all.
Thanks largely to an awesome physical therapist, my training has actually gone really well, but that early stress gave me a “one day at a time” attitude about the marathon. The honeymoon phase where I’m excited to wake up and run has never really ended, knock on wood.In terms of what’s harder than I expected: I’ve definitely taken a bit of an ego hit on my speed.
Granted, I wasn’t exactly fast before marathon training, but it’s still been hard to watch my average pace drop lower as my runs have gotten longer. I don’t have any speedwork in this training plan, and I miss pushing myself on the track. It’s also held me back from making as many social running plans as I assumed I would, because the people I typically run with are running much faster than I am right now — and even if they wouldn’t mind slowing down, I’m still self-conscious about it.
Number of days running per week
Three, plus one day of deep-water running in the pool. When my physical therapist and I mapped out my “comeback” earlier this year, we ended up with a pretty conservative schedule. It’s lower-mileage than a lot of plans out there, and I think I’d want more miles under my belt if I had a really aggressive time goal, but I’m confident this will get me to the start (and the finish!).
What are you most excited about for the race?
So many things! I’m excited about the shakeout run the day before, where roughly half the marathon field jogs to Berlin’s Olympic stadium for breakfast. I’m excited about seeing my parents, who are coming to cheer, somewhere on the course. I’m excited about meeting people from all over the world who are coming to run this big race. And I’m excited to really test my limits and see if I can run strong for longer than I’ve ever run before. I’m also looking forward to lots of German beer after, let’s be honest.
What are you most terrified of?
I keep having dreams about packing, so I guess I’m afraid of forgetting something! I’m also afraid of getting injured before the race — less from running at this point than from something dumb like falling down the stairs or tripping on my cats’ food dishes. Actually, most of my fears are about logistics: What if my flight gets delayed and I miss the expo? What if my travel foam roller gets confiscated at customs? What if I’m jetlagged and sleep through my alarm on race morning?
Do you think you’ll ever run another marathon?
Absolutely. (Though ask me again on October 1!) I do think I’ll take a break and do something with lower mileage and more speedwork next, but I have a Google Doc with races I want to do someday, and the list of marathons on it keeps getting longer.
Number of black toenails so far
Zero! Though after several years of ballet as a teenager, I’m not sure mine could rightly be classified as “toenails” to begin with.
Leave Kimra some love, tips or tell me about your first time. Running a marathon, that is.
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