Training for my birthday race — the Marine Corps Marathon — begins today!

Here I am finishing the Salisbury Marathon on April 6. I hope to break 4:45 at the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 27.

Disclaimer: I received access to Endure Strong training to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews!

Many people probably wouldn’t choose to run for nearly five hours on their birthday, but that’s what I’ve chosen to do this year.

I will ring in 29 by running the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Va., on Oct. 27, 2019.

I got into the race during rush registration earlier this year, and we are now 16 weeks out. I’ve been running, but since training for the Baltimore 10 Miler with Endure Strong, I haven’t been using a training plan. Andrew from the Endure Strong team said I could download a base plan, but between training cycles, I enjoy not having a plan to follow. So, I decided to run without a plan during the last few weeks before I get into training.

I felt great at the Baltimore 10 Miler — I didn’t hit my goal time, but I felt strong on a hot day and on a hilly course. I want to see what it’s like to follow a full plan with Team Endure Strong — I started the Baltimore 10 Miler plan about halfway through — so I decided to do that for the Marine Corps Marathon.

I have access to the team through BibRave through the end of August, and then I will be able to continue with the team at a discounted monthly rate. The plan I chose will get me up to a peak week of 45 miles. There are also video calls with Coach Jared Ward every other week and a message board.

Last year, I planned to run a race on my birthday for the first time ever, but the race — and a backup race — were canceled due to weather. So, I am excited to be able to meet that goal at this year’s Marine Corps Marathon, which is on my birthday.

I have not yet run the Marine Corps Marathon, but I have heard amazing things about this race. It’s also relatively close to home, at about two hours and 15 minutes. I’ll still be staying in a hotel, but I won’t have the cost of taking a full-out vacation. My grandfather also served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

I’m excited to be traveling to the race with my friend Veronica, and I’ve already been enjoying being a part of the Marine Corps Marathon & 10K Club on Facebook.

My goal for this race will again be to break 4:45. Although my PR is 4:17:45, that was my first marathon, and I have not been able to surpass that. This will be my 11th marathon.

At the Salisbury Marathon this April, I had the same goal, and I came close, with a time of 4:50:41. My splits were pretty even, aside from a quick bathroom break, until my pace started dropping off around Mile 18, and drastically slowed from Miles 22-25.

That time — on a flat course in my hometown — was faster than both of my 2018 marathons, and although I know the Marine Corps Marathon does have hills, I’m hoping the Endure Strong training, along with the crowd support of fun signs and cheering on race day, will help get me to a sub-4:45 race. I’ll be sure to work in some running on hills, too.

I put a goal time of 4:44 into the Endure Strong website, and there are designated pace zones for each run, which will hopefully help get me to my goal time, too. I always encourage people to make the majority of their mileage easy when training, and the easy-paced runs can be as slow as I want them to be.

Today is a rest day on the plan, but I’m excited to head to yoga tonight and then get into the training starting tomorrow.

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