In less than two days our senior designer, Kami Beckendorf, and president, Atsuko Tamura, will stand on the starting line at the Bellingham Bay Marathon. Did you guys catch that? A marathon! But not just any marathon, their FIRST marathon! Nothing excites me more than witnessing people training for their first anything! The joy, excitment and anticipation of it all is simply the best. I had the honor of joining both Kami and Atusko on one of their longest training runs and naturally I barraged them with questions. But before we get to our run chat, I wanna leave Kami and AT with a little note:

No matter what happens on race day everyone at Oiselle is so freaking proud of you both. Marathons can be amazing, heartbreaking, painful and a whirlwind of emotions, but dang it, they're also incredibly memorable. The strength and focus you both have will carry you across that finish line. Thank you both for letting us share in your journey. Heads Up, Wings Out, loves!

Brenda: How are you both feeling at this very moment?

Kami: I'm feeling a lot of emotions, honestly. I was really excited until about two weeks ago when my foot started hurting. Since then it's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Luckily, I've had some help to get me to the start line, but after following my training plan pretty closely, my "tapering time" dropped to not running at all (which is not what my plan told me to do). So right now, I'm trying to stay positive, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit disappointed and nervous.

AT:  A little tired and anxious because of my own foot pain, so I'm honestly worried about being able to finish the distance. If I didn't have that, I think I would be excitedly nervous. I think this is the most intentionally prepared "thing" I've committed to since I had to pass the CPA exam to avoid being fired! This was way more fun, of course. Kami and I have been SO diligent with our training and have applied the wisdom of our fellow running sages. I've also learned along the way from my own mistakes and rookie choices about all things running.

Brenda: How did you choose a training plan and how long did you train for?

Kami: We were given a training plan from someone who's done this marathon before. I think we started training back in April, but I had some pre-training training I needed to get in, so I started run/walking back in January.

AT: We used the combination of a course specific training plan + PT foot magician adjustments to that plan. It was about 24 weeks. Good grief, that's long! But that highlights the fun of training to me - it seems like we just started and it's hard to believe it's actually "done." And we didn't miss a single part of it!

Brenda: What was your favorite part of the training?

Kami: Favorite part has definitely been getting to spend time with friends and co-workers. The support has seriously been amazing! Atsuko has been such a great running partner through the good and bad days - definitely couldn't have made it here without her! Our training plan also lined up with up with Katie and Beth as they trained for their 50k so we had a few long runs together with them, and then towards the end we were able to line up our longest run with Brenda and Jenn!

AT: So many events made this journey so memorable for immediate and future story telling - with embellishments to punch up the humor of course. Immediate things that come to mind:

Running four loops around Greenlake in monsoon rain so we could "quit" anytime and not Uber back to our cars - but we did it!

Being humbled into getting contacts after biting it "boom, face down" in front of a big hotel with coffee sipping patrons on their decks...obviously "I can see well enough" made sidewalk lips an unpleasant surprise.

Teddy's Burgers (Kaneohe plus tots) after a LONG run.

Running six extra miles looking for that last aid station in the rolling hills of PA. Thank you, Beth, for finding me.

My better half, Patrick, who made sure Saturdays were protected so I could both run, recover, and rumble if my feet would let me.

Brenda: Having reached the end of your training, what advice would you give anyone curious about taking on a marathon?

Kami: Don't do it... Just kidding! I have actually truly enjoyed training for the marathon, but I do think I did everything wrong at least once, though, so here's what I've learned:

Figure out your fueling. Everyone has a favorite gel, gummy, etc.- find out what works for you.

Pay attention to your meals before long runs and how they affect your stomach. (I think I know where every bathroom in Seattle is now)!

Listen to your body, and ask questions if something doesn't feel right.

AT: If I can do this, anyone can! It really is possible. And the training is FUN!

You'll probably enjoy the training even more if you start on a stronger physical base than starting when you're in the worst physical condition of your life. Sounds cliché and common sense, but I lived this, truly.

Smile when you're suffering - it actually works. Even when there isn't anyone around.

FUEL and HYDRATION should be revered. TRUTH. Because bonking is really a strange out of body experience that I hope not to repeat. I don't fear it, but I don't want to become a veteran in that state of being.

Brenda: Do you have a mantra for yourself come race day?

Kami: "Trust your training plan" and have fun!  

AT: Core, butt, light.

This is just a moment, not the "thing".

Don't fear injury - live the wisdom of "active recovery."

Plus AT had this to say about Kami:

One thing I want to say - without sounding like I'm blowing smoke up Kami's butt - is SHE IS MY RUN-LOVE. Without her, I wouldn't be here today and would not have done this training. She was part of "a maybe to a yes, a yes to a let's do it!"…thank you Kami for being my running partner, for expanding our training group, and pushing me on this one really, really crappy mile. Your positive outlook and kind spirit, coupled with your strength, made this an incredibly fun experience.

Hannah Calvert
Tagged: Races Racing