Marathon Training on Vacation

For eleven days I vacationed and vacationed pretty hard — hence the absence.  I got back just over a week ago but it’s taken me a full week to get back into the swing of things.

It has been a year since I went on a true vacation (weekend trips to the Finger Lakes region do not count) and it’s been much needed.  Unfortunately as I’m sure anyone can relate to, vacations are unpredictable and chaotic.  Though my intentions were good-natured, I certainly shouldn’t have gone in with such high hopes for nailing every run… or really any run.

Carbs served with carbs at Girls Night.
Carbs served with carbs at Girls Night.

The week leading into vacation was tiring itself.  I skipped CrossFit because one of my best friends was in town for a couple days and of course we needed beer and snacks.  Then I had to squeeze in a tempo run that nearly put me on my ass, but I did hit my paces.  I also had to clean the house and get things ready for the trip.  On Friday, we met at 6am to leave so recovery (sleep) and easy runs weren’t easily scheduled for Friday or Saturday like I hoped.

We spent Friday night in Boston and I ended up feeling very ill after dinner.  It was warm outside, I definitely didn’t drink enough water and I was probably just run down.  While everyone else had drinks at the hotel bar, I laid in bed and watched Cops planning to get up early for two miles on Saturday.  I woke up early enough, but it didn’t happen either.  “I’ll do it when I get to Maine!  It’ll be way prettier to run along the beach!”

Do you know what happened?  Not that two miler.  We got caught in traffic that extended our trip by two hours.  Reaching the cottage after 5pm, still with dinner and grocery shopping to do left no daylight for me to squeeze in 20 minutes.

I ran up a mountain.
I ran up a mountain.

On Sunday, J and I headed to some carriage roads in Acadia National Park for the anticipated 15-miler.  Despite knowing directions to where I wanted to run, we had no idea that there was only one location to buy a vehicle pass and in trying to find it, I nearly ran out of gas.  So close in fact, my gauge had about 5 miles left when we finally found a gas station and I was seconds away from just pulling over and crying.  I had no idea what to do; we didn’t have any service and we were driving through nowhere!  Thankfully J stayed calm and didn’t complain one bit.

So at this point, we left the house around 7:30am planning to start by 8:00am and instead started after 10am!  It was hot.  I saw a road sign on our trail that said Eagle Lake and I thought, “How pretty!” and in order to not get lost, we just kept going left.  After nearly 3 miles of straight uphills, we got a picturesque view but I was fried.  And I was bored.  And all I kept thinking was how I wanted to be home with the group, I wondered what they were doing, and I felt bad that I was dragging J with me up a mountain.  After just over 3.5 miles I said I was calling it for now and we turned around.  We climbed uphill so much that J didn’t even pedal on the way down!  I told myself I would just finish the rest of the run at home and apologized profusely for ruining the morning, though it wasn’t either of our faults, and for picking the awful trail, but neither of us could have known.  J still didn’t complain after all this and told me he knew what getting this one run in meant to me, so he didn’t want to be the reason I didn’t do it. D’awww.

Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor

When we got home, I sat around for a little bit, ate some food and rehydrated but I couldn’t shake the incomplete feeling I had.  All I wanted to do was enjoy a night of food and drinks, but without starting vacation off on the right foot it wasn’t going to happen.  Eventually I headed back out after about 90 minutes, sans water, down the road out our cottage.  The lack of water was a terrible idea because I had already lost so much earlier in the day.  I did as much as I could, but on the way back ended up walking a little bit.  My legs were fried from the climbing earlier, I wasn’t hydrated enough, and the terrain was soft gravel (basically sand) and hilly.  It was a total shock to my body after all the city running!  Overall, I ran 14 miles with an average of 10:21 pace between the two — I cannot complain!

Mount Katahdin (and the pond we saw a MOOSE in!)
Mount Katahdin (and the pond we saw a MOOSE in!)

After Sunday though, my plan entirely derailed.  I ran only more time.  It was just four miles, all of which were easy, and the hills/sandy terrain did not get any easier.  I figured vacation would cause some bumps in my plan so I didn’t let it bother me too much.  I wanted to get my running in, but at the same time I was here to relax and have fun so if that meant some of the easy runs had to go on the backburner, so be it.

Just about 18 lbs of lobster...
Just about 18 lbs of live lobster…

We did plenty of walking, took a long hike, and overall enjoyed our time with friends.  On top of that, we certainly ate our fair share of seafood and drank more than enough beer.  But vacation is vacation and the mental aspect of it is just as important.  Maybe next time I should plan a vacation with a bunch of runners, huh?  Or just transition J and his friends into runners… I’m not sure which I have better luck at!


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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

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