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Marathon Thoughts and Am I Superwoman?

July 7, 2008

I’m seriously considering running a marathon, but I’m also seriously scared. I sketched out a training schedule that has me running a 5k next month (easy!) then starting a half marathon training program (concluding in November or so), then starting a full marathon training program concluding March 1st, the LA marathon. Yikes. I do not want to lose my toenails.

Budget considerations:

  • New running shoes, $70 x 2 = $140 (I figure I’ll go through my current pair and up to two more. Realistic?)
  • L.A. Race Fee: $105
  • Fees for other planned races: $165 (a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and $50 extra in case I want to add another one.)
  • Paid Training Program: $0 – $125 (Any thoughts on these?)
  • Total: $410-$535 (Am I forgetting anything?)

This takes me from today until the beginning of March, roughly 8 moths of commitment (mostly of time, but also money). It comes out to roughly $50-$65/month. If I’m going to do this, I need to make a Marathon category in my budget, because that is how I like to do things. Where can I steal $50/mo from? I can get $30 by canceling cable, which I probably should just do anyway. I’m reluctant, because I think I get a lot for that $30: DVR service and a lot of channels. In the fall, I will not have a student loan payment. I wanted to save the difference, but I suppose I could divert a small portion to this project.

And what about time? Could I really accomplish all of the following:

  • Work full time (40 hrs/week)
  • Grad student part time (15 hrs/week)
  • Work part time for start-up (10 hrs/week. This is not certain, still considering.)
  • Train for a marathon 6 hrs/week
  • Plan a wedding (Also not certain, but there is a good probability.) ? hrs/week.
  • Sleep (3 hrs/week) Kidding. Much much more than that…
  • Have a life

That is about 71 hours a week in committed time (work, part time work, marathon, and grad school). Ten hours a day, including weekends. What are my priorities? My full time job is first, and grad school is second. After that, I’m just not sure. That is what I need to answer for myself.

I’m quite torn about the new opportunity. On one hand, it sounds interesting. I’m not completely sold that the company will be a success, but I think it’ll be viable in the short term and might have long term potential. It would benefit my career even if it fails by diversifying my background. I really feel like turning it away would be a mistake, that I’m young and this is an opportunity I should seize. I know that I absolutely can’t promise any more than 10 hours/week, and I’m not sure he would be interested in that little commitment. If not, I understand, and my choices is made for me… On the other hand… I have a lot of other stuff I want to do now. Could I even manage work + school + part time gig? Am I superwoman?

No, I am probably not superwoman. (But maybe? Possibly?)

(I was up until almost 1 a.m. writing this, thinking, and casually surfing the internet for marathon training info. Sigh. Definitely NOT superwoman.)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. tom permalink
    July 7, 2008 12:07 pm

    Judging from that list… I’d say you are superwoman! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. July 7, 2008 12:10 pm

    @tom – Or I’d have to be if I actually could accomplish all that at once! Right now my list is short: Work 40 hours, have a life!

  3. July 7, 2008 1:17 pm

    I think you could cancel your cable depending on what you watch and DVR. There is a lot of television being put on the interwebs for free and minimal prices. ie Hulu and the network websites them selves. You can make marathon training part of your having a life. Make it a social thing part of the time. Have running buddies, etc. The rest is just about scheduling and a caffeine habit I suppose.

  4. July 7, 2008 1:47 pm

    I think there would be times when it would be really busy, but it’s probably doable.

    Some thoughts:
    I wouldn’t sign up for anything until you have committed yourself to running — I have toyed with the marathon idea myself, but I’ve never been able to stick to running consistently. You said that you were having knee problems, so make sure it doesn’t come back before you sign up for a bunch of races.

    Maybe start out doing 5Ks and 10Ks to see if you like it/how much time it takes? There’s nothing saying you have to sign up for everything right away.

    Again, I’m not a big runner, so YMMV.

    Planning a wedding should not be a huge time suck! There will be time you spend looking at things, deciding on colors and dresses and stuff like that, but I’m starting my planning and I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Don’t get sucked into the propaganda, and it should be pretty easy! Or, opt for a long engagement.

    As far as everything else goes, the time drain will probably suck, but you are very young. Getting schooling out of the way will give you more opportunities and higher income in the future. The part time work gives you a really unique experience, and it will always be something you can have on your resume and refer back to during job interviews. Even if it fails or if you need to quit after trying to do school and two jobs.

    Sorry, I wrote you a novel. The thing to remember is that besides full-time work and school, if the rest of it gets to be too much, you can give it up.

  5. July 7, 2008 2:23 pm

    @P.A – Yes, definitely not signing up for any races until they are near. They all allow almost last minute sign up (for ~$10 extra) and that is certainly my plan!

    I hope that is how my planning goes. I’m not really “into” weddingy stuff, so maybe it is all just hype.

    I’m leaning more and more towards offering him 10/hr week (perhaps more before school starts) and seeing if he is even interested. I hate being in a state of indecision.

  6. July 7, 2008 3:39 pm


    Just be careful… that’s a lot to consider in one week. When are you going to blog?!

    Seriously, though, you may want to be careful scheduling yourself when you already have the big three- WORK, SCHOOL, and SIDE-WORK. Those three are key, not to mention having a life. You work to pay the bills; you go to school to improve yourself; and you do side-work to go big! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Exercise, a wedding, and the other things that come up in your life will be important too.

    Honestly, just be careful. Err on the side of not too much if you’re worried about your ability to become Superwoman.

  7. July 7, 2008 4:44 pm

    @tshipp – Thanks for the words of caution. I am nervous! When I have spare time (ie, now) I start to come up with a million ideas of things I want to do (um, i also have french podcasts downloaded. I realize that is a pipe dream though).

    I think that if I do commit to side work, I will run and try to do a few 5k or 10ks… but probably post phone serious marathon running training for another year. No need to do it all at once.

  8. July 7, 2008 8:13 pm

    Good luck with all of it – being fresh out of college in the working world, I am taking a break from being extremely busy. In college, I took 6 classes (5 was normal) each my final 2 semesters, plus I worked 15 hours a week, maintained a high GPA and I was very actively involved in 2 clubs. It was a lot, I loved it, but now I am taking a break and just going to work & coming home ๐Ÿ™‚ I think you ARE superwoman for even considering all that!!

  9. July 7, 2008 8:55 pm

    @MoneyMaus – I know what you mean about college and wanting to relax after that! The nice thing about college is you can be super busy, but you aren’t locked to a 9-5 job. I worked better with the flexibility… but yeah, that is a lot to have going on.

  10. cait permalink
    July 8, 2008 4:26 am

    I’d say go for it–though it might look like you are scheduling things tightly, I think you’re being smart about it building up race-wise, moving from 5k to 10k to half and then full–I managed to train for and run my first half and full marathon within four or five months of each other with minimal injuries (I did fall/slip off the side of the road at 6am one day and sort of wreck myself once, but that was in Vermont in February, so I doubt that sort of thing would apply in California) and it can be really motivating to other aspects of your life–measurable goals that are achieved in short order can do wonders for your motivation in slower-paced things like work and school.
    I’ve never paid for a training plan. There are lots of options available online at runners world and the like for free. I did buy myself a heart rate monitor after the half so I could do some more intense training, so you might consider that (they’re pricey though). If you want to make it a social thing I’d say joining a running group could be a good option–and it is fairly likely if you’re racing locally you’re going to run into the same people at 5 &10ks and might be able to put your own together from there.
    Knock ’em dead SuperGirl!!

  11. July 8, 2008 7:30 am

    As long as you wear shoes that fit properly and take care of your feet, I don’t think you’ll lose any nails. I ran in college (steeple if you’re interested), and I only knew one girl that would lose toe nails. I think it was because she would wear training flats to our workouts….which would be okay if they were under 10 miles (track speed work stuff).

    I don’t think the marathon training classes are that fantastic (usually they’re pretty lame–I have a few friends that teach them). I would recommend finding a running group (usually free) to run with for support and advice. I received a lot of advice from a women’s running group that I run with once a week. If you’re interested in workouts, look for a local track club (usually they charge because they have to pay for track time).

  12. July 8, 2008 8:19 am

    The first marathon I did I ran with a charity, and that was an incredible experience. The second I joined a training program. At that point I’m really glad I did, I wasn’t yet motivated enough to get up on my own to run 15+ miles (at that point I wasn’t motivated enough to run 10+ on my own). However, you can do the same thing if you can find a running group, just be sure that they are committed to running on the same schedule as you. Right now I’m training on my own, but I have a running partner for the really long runs and my boyfriend will run the short ones with me.

    Running with a goal in mind actually keeps me more orgainzed and I find I get more accomplished. It is sort of the philosophy of the less time you have the more you can do. If you undertake all of this my suggestion is to find a time every week for just you. I love keeping Sunday’s for that, where I don’t run and I do what I need to do, whether that is sleeping in, wathcing a movie or reading a book.

    Good luck with your decision. The best part of running a marathon is pushing yourself and being amazed at what your body can do. Oh and you’ll be in awesome shape. =)

    One more thing, I have to disagree with SavingDiva. I wear shoes that fit properly (go to a running store and don’t walk out of there until they have seen you run in the shoes you are going to buy) and I take care of my feet. I think a lot of losing toenails has to do with how you run. I also think you can be prone to losing them. I trained with my old roommate and she never lost one.

  13. Michele permalink
    July 8, 2008 10:43 am

    Not sure if you’ve decided whether or not you’re going to run the 2009 marathong (which I think is actually March 2, not that it matters), but just wanted to let you know that you can sign up for LA Roadrunners training with your Marathon registration for a total of $165 before the beginning of August (which is a $10 savings I think compared to signing up for them separately). You run with the program every week, and they create a training program for you to run 4 more times a week. Additionally they offer nutritional guidance and motivational speakers and stuff during your weekly training. From what I’ve heard it’s a pretty good organization (and I think a pretty good deal, considering it’s training from August until the marathon). In terms of everything else… I actually asked a friend of mine the same question because I’m thinking of running the marathon this year as well, and will be in school and working. He’s a serious runner (ran his first marathon at age 12), and he thinks that not only is it totally doable, but rather than being completely worn down I should actually have more energy for everything else, as long as I follow the training and am eating correctly and all that.

    I’m one of those people who needs outside guidance and motivation, so I’m definitely going to take advantage of the training if I decide to run it.

    Also, I don’t think you need to do the other organized runs, but that’s just my opinion. If you do the training program (which is cheaper than the combined registration fees of the other runs) it should prepare you for the marathon, and you will run long distances through it. Actually, I take that back, I don’t think you need to do the prep runs AND the training, I think doing either one would be enough, and you would just need to decide which is better for you personally.

    PS about the training – A LOT of people run the LA marathon, so the training groups are pretty large (and organized) I’ve heard, which I think makes them more motivational/fun, but again, just a personal opinion ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. whentheelephantsarrive permalink
    July 9, 2008 11:30 pm

    Found your blog randomly…. really the major point here is that it’s a major lifestyle choice to take marathon training. You mentioned in an later post that you think you’re putting it off for a while. In general for training, instead of paying a lot of money, running clubs are great, and has a great training program website that’s free. I used it for my first half. It might be worth trying even for your 10K’s and halfs.

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