Mother Runner Ramblings

This posting I would like to introduce my friend and inspiration…Aimee! She is a prior Marine, a mother of two girls, wife to a Marine, a Nurse and part time super hero when Batman is out and the Incredibles are on vacation!


Aimee – Take it Away…

Tell us a little bit about yourself – where did you get your super human powers from (I know you had your girls all natural – you crazy lady!), how is it that you can manage two girls, moving, school, and training for a marathon…you know – that basics!?

Aimee: No super human powers just a thirty-something girl whom strives on competition (When I say competition… I mean with myself). Mind you, I am not fast (even though I am in my dreams). I wish I could get it done and over within 3 hours!! It’s the one thing that I have that no one can steal, borrow, or see.


When and why did you first decide to train for a marathon?

Aimee: I decided about 3 1/2 years ago that I really wanted to run a marathon. I don’t know why, I only knew a couple of people who had done it and I wasn’t involved in their experiences enough to be inspired by it but I have always been driven by physical fitness. It was one of the major reasons I joined the Marine Corps when I was 22. The physical and mental challenge of it all beckoned to me. It is where I met my husband and father of our two beautiful heathens. Once the war started we decided it wasn’t fair to our girls to have two parents in the military so I chose to leave the MC and pursue another career. Many years later while I was living in MD I decide to run a marathon. I talked about wanting to do it for years but between my husband’s (unfortunate necessity) bilateral hip surgeries and then supporting his Marine Corps career advancement (two years alone while he was at school….you know all about that Sarah) and working as a full time Nurse Manager there was no time for a marathon.

Finally we received orders to NC and away we went. I spent some time doing part time nursing and while Chad was yet at another school my sister Gretchen (an avid runner) said, “you have until April 7th to register for the Marine Corps Marathon 2010.” The date grew closer and I hemmed and hawed but with love and support from my husband decided to sign up. What in the hell was I thinking??? A few weeks later we found out Chad would yet leave again for 6 months to Okinawa Japan. So not only was he not going to be there to motivate me and help with the girls but also I was going to be totally alone in my experience. I had also stopped working in order to give the girls (Ages 8 and 6 at the time) the most stability a military child can have considering they are missing a huge part of their support system w/ daddy being away. So off we went starting our 6 month training plan that I got off of Nike + website everything was going well until summer… NO SCHOOL and the heat rolled in. My poor kids would ride their bikes alongside me while I ran and we would make frequent stops in the 100-degree weather for water breaks. When I could, I would enroll them in half day camps so I could run as early as possible trying to beat the heat and then I would use my take 10 days (free childcare on base) for any of my long runs. Thank GOD the director there was so considerate and supportive. Finally after many visits to relatives and 3 months of blistering heat school started again. Hooray! I don’t think my training plan had any consistency until this happened. I was finally able to focus on me again minus the munchkins. I had two months to rev it up and get in shape. Clearly there were a few speed workouts or strength runs. As far as nutrition went I was listening to my sister…bad idea (what works for one does not necessarily work for another). My protein was low and I struggled with recovery. I ended up with chronic piriformis syndrome in my right leg, which made training even harder, but with stretching and trigger therapy I was able to fight through it.


So how did it all go?

Aimee: Soon enough… it was race day the girls and I drove 5 1/2 hours to the hotel where I met up with Sister, Mother, and Father. Mom and Dad were there to watch the girls during the race and Gretchen was going to run. Race morning was fun and lighthearted after 42 trips to the port-a-potty it was time to head off to the start line. At this point it took every fiber in my body not to get emotional and start crying that I finally was doing this.

The crowds started moving and soon we were running a marathon. I felt really good the first 8 miles but was pacing terribly. All that race day excitement took over and then came my back pain it was like it was frozen solid. As the race went on the pain got worse reaching around to the front of my abdominals. It was an aching pain that I had not experienced in any of my training runs and go figure… my right leg never bothered me once. I was a racing novice tearing through Gu’s, PowerAde, and water. I had a plan but was unable to focus and stick to it. I decided to just go with how I felt. By mile 18 I was a MENTAL MESS. Every stride hurt and I was struggling big time the fight ended when at mile 20 I met the “Bridge.” A nearly 2-mile bridge that during a marathon feels like the entire 26.2 miles and I hit the wall. I know now that all that happened was by not sticking to my plan I had let my glucose stores plummet, it had nothing to do with my training because believe me I put in the long runs. I finally found a little mojo and got my jog on and by the time I got to the home stretch I was looking everywhere for my kids. Just a glance of their faces would have sent my spirits soaring but I never saw them. I was angry, disappointed, and about to puke!! Or so it felt. I found a grassy spot and collapsed. I just finished my long time dream and was completely dissatisfied… WTF!!! Like I said, I am competitive… I ran a 5:07.

Within a week after I registered for the Yeungling Shamrock Marathon in March 2011. I was going to redeem myself. The Marathon was now my “foe” and we were going to war!! This time I did a 4-month program and went from 5 days a week to 6 days a week plan, which quickly turned into a “run when your hamstrings can” plan. Luckily you can train through hamstring issues (provided they are not ruptured). I never ran more than 17 mi long run and my last two months of training were measly. I was hoping the excessive rest would prove to be some magic medicine for increased speed on race day. THIS TIME…I had a plan and WAS sticking to it! Not to mention it was completely crucial that I did. About a month before the marathon I started to eat “Paleo” which mean no grains, legumes, dairy, OR PASTA. Everything is clean, no processed foods EXCEPT during endurance sports. The race was awesome minus the horrendous wind and low temp that morning. I felt good, I didn’t hit the wall and I shaved 20 minutes off my time. I felt amazing at the end. I had beat mile 18-26.2 and passed a considerable amount of people doing it. I never gave up and while I walked water stations towards the end, had two potty breaks, and had to stretch my back (yet again) I had improved. Plus my husband and children were there and I saw all their smiling faces while they screamed for me.


Any advice for other female runners contemplating the plunge into marathon training?

Aimee: I am still a novice marathoner and hope someday to break 4 hours maybe even 3 1/2 with luck but if you are contemplating doing it stop and just sign up once you pay the $100 bucks you’ve got to follow through. Take your time stick to your plan and remember every race is a learning tool. In retrospect I learned sooooooo much from my first marathon it is ridiculous. Enjoy it let it empower you and it will change a little bit of you forever.