Committing to 26.2

9 Sep

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about My Love/Hate Relationship with Marathon Training.  And I was asked how I was brave enough to sign up for a marathon in the first place.

It took me a lot of time to commit to running a marathon. Okay, maybe not as much as I thought.  I ran my first half marathon on January 15.  I trained for it in like 6 weeks. And it was all peer pressure support, that got me to that point and through that race. You can read all about that here: Happy Race-iversary! (A Little Bit O’ History). Make sure to check out the crazy friends I mention in that post  – I wouldn’t be here without them!

I never really dove into the gory details of the how and why I signed up to run a marathon.  And how my first marathon is now going to be my second marathon. So, here goes nothing.  Try to stay with me, it’s a wild ride.

Finishing my first half marathon:

After I finished my first half marathon I knew I wanted more. I was already committed to another half marathon on May 1. Would that be good enough?

When I woke up the day after the race I felt great (aside from the slight hangover … what do you get when you combine 7 crazy runners in the city after finishing a race: mass amounts of beer consumption and eventually being told to leave because the bar is closing!).  So, all hangover symptoms aside, I felt GREAT.  I even walked around Charleston for miles – literally, 6 miles or something close to that.

I figured if I felt that great after running 13 miles then maybe I was cut out for more. The wheels started turning…

Friends running their first marathon:

Two of those crazy friends I mentioned above had finished their first marathon in October and December of 2010.

One you can read about on his blog, “Running Bird”: Space Coast Marathon, All The Gory Details

The other is Coachy, and while he doesn’t write a blog, he did write this:

“If you guys ever willingly sign up for this abuse you must come run Chicago.  It was a huge party, bands and DJ’s all over, 2 million people lining the course cheering.  It was truly amazing. Despite the 8 miles of agony at the end, I’m ready to do it again…”

Yeah, he hit the dreaded wall, bad.  I’m praying that doesn’t happen to me next Saturday.  It didn’t hit me during Marathon #1, but I wasn’t moving fast or hard enough.

So, between these two, and other friends in that crazy group, my decision was definitely leaning heavy toward signing up for the race…

So, what made me pull the trigger?

Two friends in my crazy group also signed up for the Air Force Marathon to be their first marathon.  So I pretty much just said to myself, “Oh, what the hell?” if nothing else you’ll have a couple people to be miserable with for the last few miles. And so I did it.

But, now that’s not your first marathon? What happened?

Coachy happened.  He’s a persistent little devil you see. He has a goal to run all 50 states. He’s also crazy enough to run a marathon once every couple of months.  So, once we had finished running our respective races in Charlottesville, VA in April – he was already scheming his next race.  

He found the Mad Marathon in Vermont, and given that Vermont is driving distance for me, asked me if I wanted to join him. Apparently it’s really hard to find marathons in July- and Vermont was one of very few choices. I was iffy on it at first, I really didn’t think I’d be ready for a full in July.  But, since I had already run three halves, Coachy swayed me (I’m easily convinced by people to do crazy shit, can ya tell?). The course was hilly and it was probably going to be hot, so he said he’d run the whole thing with me instead of running for a PR for himself.

Well… okay.  It literally took me like 2.2 seconds to agree.  If I didn’t have to endure the torture of 26.2 miles alone, that’ll make it all better, right? 

I was scared and nervous to commit to it, with only 8 weeks to train. 

And now, as I get ready to embark on that 26.2 journey again – I’m just as scared and nervous as I was the first time.

My advice:

Do it. Don’t ever for a second think that you can’t.  If you are a runner and you think you kinda sorta maybe want to run a marathon – just. freakin. do. it.  You will not regret it.  I cried during the race.  I cried after the race.  I randomly tear up thinking about it, or when I see that 26.2 magnet on the back of my car. 

It is a HUGE accomplishment that most people will not  accomplish in their lives.  I like being part of the, “I did that crowd.”


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