So I’m sitting here, eating mint chocolate chip ice cream out of the carton. Not exactly a shining marathon-training moment, but it is my one rest day. Someone had to polish it off.

Well, three weeks straight of 5-6 training days in a row and I’m feeling it – both in good and not-so-good ways. On the positive side: I’ve had some awesome runs in the past week and I’m feeling stronger tackling hills. I swear my leg muscles look a teeny, tiny bit leaner and more defined, too. But, on the other hand: I’m a little sore (back of my lower right hamstring is a bit twinge-y and tender; I’ve decided I am not going to Google this) and I’m just…feeling the increased mileage and consecutive days of training. I am sleeping very, very soundly and deeply, which is a rather big accomplishment for a mom of three kids.

We’ve had gorgeous winter weather here in the past week — fluffy white snow, little wind, sunshine. Here’s a pic of one of my most favorite places to run  — The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a renovation of dozens of historic buildings formerly known as the Traverse City State Hospital, and previously, the Northern Michigan Asylum.

Meandering roads, beautiful trails, historic buildings...and a really, really great coffee shop

I’m just hoping I can maintain this momentum and stay injury-free as my training progresses. Week 4 gets underway tomorrow and here’s what I’m trying to keep in mind: Build a strong foundation. “Your base training is the foundation of everything you want to do,” Lisa tells me at our last weekly check-in meeting.

While my more immediate goal is running the Bayshore Marathon this spring, she explains, a lifetime of running is what’s behind the base training I’m working so hard to establish now. The idea is to “always be in a position to be able to do a 30-minute run. Base training establishes your foundation, physically and mentally.”

Once my base training is strong, I’ll be moving onto different kinds of training runs in preparation of my Memorial Day weekend marathon: long slow distances, tempo, pace and interval. The final piece: speedwork.

But I can’t get too far ahead of myself – it really only makes me more tired at this point to think of all that lies ahead. Instead, I’m trying like crazy to build, build, build. Slow and steady. Nice and easy. And have faith that the work I put in now is going to pay off later.

Makes sense then that this week’s goal is about keeping track only of distance, not pace. Go the distance, only check pace after the run. I can do this… yep, it’s pretty cool hearing how I’m doing at each mile mark, thanks to the friendly woman on my Nike+GPS, but I can live without her for awhile. On a few recent runs I’ve found myself completely lost in the moment; I’m awestruck at the sunlight streaming through ice-encrusted tree branches and the massive snowflakes filling the air around me as I trudge a path along West Grand Traverse Bay.

One more picture, this one I snapped at the end of a rolling side street not far from downtown. I was the only person on this road — not even a car drove by — and it was so serene and peaceful. Snow was falling, I could see my breath in the frigid air.

End of the road.

This weekend I’ll be running my first Frozen Foot Race, a 5-miler here in Traverse City. Anyone else got a winter race coming up?

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