September 7, 2011
About a Month Left until M-Day
It's been a busy few weeks around here. School is in full swing, big kids are busy with football and cheerleading, and I'm trying my darndest to get out and run. The marathon I am running is coming up in 1 month and 2 days. I am so not ready for it. I still can't believe I'm really going to run 26.2 miles, willingly. I've been reading up on training and other people's first marathon experiences. I don't know if the stories help or are making the fear worse! A common theme is people are sore for a week after running, can't walk down stairs, and are ready to throw in the towel and quit as they enter the devil's territory at mile 20. Most people train for months for a marathon, getting in a few 20 milers ahead of time. The longest I've run is 14 miles. I've gotten in several 10-14 mile runs, but no 20 milers. And I'm not sure I'll get one in. This really isn't how I wanted to train for my first marathon. I wanted to feel more ready. My goal is to run at least two 16 milers beforehand. The biggest problem I have is finding the time to do these long runs. I'm not fast at all, so I need a block of 4 hours or so if I want to get in a 16 mile run. I did 14 miles in 2:50. That's a lot of time to block out of a day when you work full time, have kids in activities and the sun starts setting earlier and earlier. I do have a plan. My main goal is just to finish it in under 6:30 because that is the cut-off time to be an "official" finisher. I'm not worried I can't do the distance, I know I can do the 26 miles, I'm just worried I can't do the miles fast enough. If I'm going to run the damn thing, I sure as hell want to be an official finisher! I'll be signing up with a pace team of 5:45...that way I'll start out slow, have someone to pace me, and if need be, I can slow down a bit and have some time to play with to come in under 6:30. Holy cow, I could be running for more than 6 hours! Most people who run marathons probably have a goal to come in under 4 hours. I can't even imagine being able to run that fast for that long at this point. There are times I think that I must have some kind of mental illness because I'm going to run it, despite the lack of adequate training in my mind, and after reading the stories of how miserable people feel during and after the race. But there is also something else common in marathon stories - that sense of accomplishment. The feeling that people get when they cross the finish line, that they did something most people never will. A marathon is a purely personal, solo victory. There isn't a team to help you if you start to slow down and run out of steam. No one can train your mind and body to run for hours. No one can run it for you. I can only imagine what it will feel like when I finally cross that finish line, knowing that I accomplished something I thought I never would. After 4 kids, with the youngest being only 12 months, I will have completed my first (and maybe last) marathon. Who knows, maybe this will be the first of several marathons. Guess we'll have to see.