2 Months to the Marathon: My plan, goals and flying solo

6am on a Friday morning. I was off work preparing for friends to come into town to surprise Andrew. I decided it would be a great day to run the longest distance I’ve ever run thus far. 15 miles. I wouldn’t be able to do it over the weekend, and I’ve been warned that skipping your long runs forms a kind of runners regret I’d rather avoid. I set out right on time. Mmm more like 30 minutes after on time. I was tired, ok? I don’t need the 3rd degree here.

Slugging my way down the stairs I thought the thought I always think….”I might not even make it 3 miles but if I can step out the door and say I tried, well that’s something. Ugh, its only gonna be 3 miles I just know it.” Then suddenly, my foot hits the pavement and I’m off.

Mile 3, the caffeine is kicking in. Mile 6, I’m almost halfway through. Mile 7.5, oh my God I’m halfway through! Mile 9, eat some salt and vinegar chips on a bridge looking out at the Chicago skyline. Mile 11, wow I’m almost done! Mile 13, wow my legs are dead. Mile 14, so this is what runners delirium feels like. Mile 15, I’m making noises I’ve never heard myself make before. Mile 16, collapse. Andrew comes outside to bring me Gatorade. I tell him how much I can’t believe I just did that. How bad I wanted it and didn’t even realize it. How proud I was of myself. Then….I burst into tears. Ugly, sobby, hot tears that, combined with laughter, makes for a great audition for “One Flew over the CooCoo’s Nest.”

I don’t know how to explain it, but something about running several scary miles has a way of making you feel so free.

Then – the next week I could barely run 15 miles in a week. That’s the nature of the beast, the nature of training for a marathon. It kicks your ass while showing you what you’re made of. Now I am 2 months out, and even through all of the tears, injuries, forced rest and mental breakdowns, I want more.

About 10 months ago I had decided I would run the Chicago marathon in 2020. Now I am 2 months away and pretty much everything I thought as to how it would be is completely different now. For starters, it’s canceled so, I’m running it solo. Did you really think I was going to let some bogus “cancellation” email stop me? Psssssh. You can’t cancel my crazy ideas, okay? I also thought I’d be training with a coach every week along with a group of other runners. That got changed real fast to virtual check ins which, I stopped joining a long time ago…Nothing against the coach or other runners at all but – I just felt like I couldn’t get anything out of it. I didn’t want to be joining a zoom meeting at 6pm when I’m virtually in meetings all day at work. So, I did a lot of research myself, but still followed the training program my coach gave me.

I’m at a cross roads now. 2 months is not far away. It’s eerily close. I can feel it creeping over my shoulder like a vampire..and I don’t feel ready. I mean – I probably won’t feel ready when the day comes either, but – I want to feel much more fit and much more energized than I do right now. So, that brings me to my plan for these next 2 months, the next 60 days.

Here is what I’m striving for during this time; I’m calling it “Clean 60”

Clean eating and clean training. You know what’s funny? I think it’s probably going to be pretty messy. That’s okay. The point is to do my best to eat as clean as possible and train as clean as possible. What I mean by clean training is:

  • Hit my running mileage every week
  • Stretch and roll out
  • Strength train
  • Sleep 8-9 hours a night
  • Take care of my mental health

What I mean by eat clean is…well…eat clean:

  • Eat whole foods
  • Nothing processed
  • 3 meals a day, making sure I am getting in enough calories
  • As organic as possible
  • No alcohol (yikes)

This is hard to do in a week let alone 60 days, but the point is that I want to feel as fit as possible before running 26.2 miles, all by myself. I’m not afraid of “hard.” It’s already been hard, and the more I take care of my body, the easier it’s going to be.

Here’s roughly what my training schedule looks like over the next 8 weeks:

I’m nervous excited. Kind of how I’ve felt before my entrance in a play. Honestly, in times like these, feeling excited about anything is something to cherish. I’ll be filling you all in on my journey over these next 60 days (give or take.) Thanks for rooting me on in advance!

Okay – time to not drink and go to sleep.

Self care, self flare.



Published by Kelly Tietjen

Chicago gal offering my own take on self development, creativity, mental health and more.

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