I’ve been a runner since high school, but all those many years ago, I was a sprinter. One mile was my longest distance ever. And I hated it. Maybe it was because I had to do it around a track, which classifies as low-level torture in my book, but nonetheless, when I ran my first 5K, I was ecstatic. I ran more than two miles…in a row…on purpose. And I got a free gigantic cotton shirt!
The first time my husband signed up for a half, soon after we had our first baby, I remember telling him, “Why would you want to do that?” (haha!) The longest I had run at that point was a couple of 10-milers, and I enjoyed that distance. Fast forward a few years…staring down the barrel of 40 years old, I had just been diagnosed with rare type of blood cancer. With my health still good and the cancer very slow-growing, I thought, who knows what the future holds? Why not run while I still can??
A college friend signed up for a half and I thought it would be fun to run with her and a good excuse to see her. She ended up not running the race, but I ran it. And, after I crossed the finish line, I just kept thinking, I bet I can run it faster. Maybe it’s the sprinter in me, but I like to go fast. I’m not fast, I just like to imagine it. 🙂
After a few halfs, the question EVERYONE would ask was, “Will you run a marath–?” Before they could even finish the word, I would say no. Non. Nein. Nyet. Never. No way.
- Training for a marathon is looooooong. And time consuming.
- Running a race for 4+ hours is mind-numbing and sickening.
- One word: Chafing.
- Two words: Black toenails.
And, finally, many friends who ran marathons to get in shape ended up the exact same weight as before or even heavier (now I know why). I was stubbornly trying to get rid of the five-ish mid-life post-baby pounds that were clinging for dear life around my waistline.
Then, with a couple more halfs under my belt and feeling like I had gotten a good grasp of the distance, the marathon questions still came. I couldn’t kick this perception of that “half finished” mentality people like to joke about. I don’t do things halfway…hahaha. Half crazy, etc. Except I’m not half crazy. I am full-on crazy. Just ask my husband. 🙂
I signed up for the 2,015 mileage challenge last year, and about a month into it I thought, well, I’m running so many freaking miles, maybe I should put these miles toward something, right? For Declare It Day 2015, my running friends gathered around cups of coffee after a chilly Saturday run and wrote down what our goals were for the year. Palms sweaty. Heart beating in my ears. I wrote down my goal.
I will run a marathon.
Gulp. So, I signed up for the Chevron Houston Marathon for January 2016. I really wanted my husband and kids to see my first marathon, but, because the logistics of staying with a husband and three kids in a hotel room in Houston would not be….ideal for me or my pre-race jitters. So, I signed up for our hometown BCS Marathon for December 2015 so they could cheer me on. I trained. I worried. I had black toenails. I chafed. And this was only during training.
And then, on a rainy, windy 50 degree day in December, I ran it. And I actually had fun. My husband and kids cheered for me every 4 miles in the cold rain. They high-fived, they waved, they held signs as they almost blew away. I cracked jokes. I people watched. I laughed. I choked down gels.
And then I did it again.
Here’s 5 reasons why I’ll do it again this year:
- Marathon training is long and challenges me in ways I never dreamed and ways I really enjoyed.
- Running a marathon was exhilarating, exciting, joyous, painful, difficult and incredible. The experience strengthened my faith in God. Period.
- One word: Vaseline.
- Two words: nail polish.
- Gels= I made friends with the chocolate Huma.
And then people asked when I would do an ultra. ugh.