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Name: merrymishaps (Lauren)
Home: Annapolis, MD, United States
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Thursday, May 08, 2008

the reluctant marathoner

I recently stumbled upon the Runners' Lounge. This is for Take It and Run Thursday: Marathon Mania, and for anybody who thinks they can't run a marathon.

I was never athletic as a child. I didn't do well in sports, and I didn't particularly like running.

But for some reason, I decided to give distance running a shot a few years ago when my office was starting a team for an 8K charity race.

I joined my local running club's beginner class, then moved on to their 10K class.

I trained with a group I met through the 10K class through the winter, and successfully finished my first half marathon -- 13.1 miles -- in March of 2005. It was about a year after I started running; a couple weeks before my 30th birthday.

I remember chatting with people during that race, saying I never thought I'd run a full marathon. At the time, I had no desire to.

And around mile 10, when I was exceeding my longest training run, my knees were aching. Actually, I think everything was aching! I managed to finish with a smile on my face, but I could barely walk.

Yet, I thought it was a good idea to run another one six months later. And at the finish I remember exclaiming to my running buddy how I couldn't imagine having another 13.1 miles to go. It still hurt.

I kept going with the half marathons, though. By the fall of 2006 I had completed four of them, when some of my friends started talking about running a full marathon.

Yikes! That's 26.2 miles!

But they were talking about running a very conservative marathon, using the run/walk Galloway method. That made it a bit more palatable.

I was in.

We trained throughout the winter and into the spring. We took short road trips for our long runs to get a chance in scenery. We were all first-time marathoners, and were a bit nervous about the distance. We had three 20+ mile runs, which most people don't do. Some training groups go to 22, but many stop at 20. We went up to 24!

Some of the training runs were rough. I had some knee trouble but it didn't stop me. (I did go to a doctor to make sure it wasn't anything serious!) And actually, the pain didn't come back for the 24-mile training run or on race day.

I ran with my friends, and we kept a steady pace for the entire race. I teared up a little when I saw the finish line. I did it!

It's been just over a year now since I crossed that finish line. Since then, I've run two more half marathons, a ten-miler and a handful of shorter races.

Will I run another marathon?


Sometimes I want to. Other times I remember the pain and all of the weekends we lost to long training runs.

Was it worth it?



At 9:56 PM, May 08, 2008, Anonymous zandria said...

What a great post! And what an inspiration to people who think they could never do something like that. I must admit, I'm guilty of the same kind of thinking sometimes. I like running a few miles several times a week, but a marathon? I just can't see it. But reading your post could make just about anyone think that these things are possible! :)

At 11:32 PM, May 08, 2008, Anonymous Annie said...

That's really amazing that you were able to do that - even the short runs are impressive to me! My lower body is so beat up from gymnastics, there's no way I could ever run a marathon.

I'd be a good cheerer on the sidelines though!

At 12:13 AM, May 09, 2008, Blogger Holly said...

Good post! Congrats on your marathon accomplishment. Isn't it amazing what our bodies can do when we ask them?

Personally, I think the half marathon is the perfect distance, long enough--but not too long. I do like the challenge of the full marathon distance, but it is so much MORE of everything--training, mental, soreness.

At 11:34 AM, May 09, 2008, Blogger Irish Cream said...

Great post! I totally agree that anyone can do it--all it really takes is a willingness to dedicate oneself to the goal and belief that you can indeed achieve it. Congrats on your marathon finish! It's a wonderful accomplishment!

Oddly enough, I've run a full, but never a half marathon. I've heard great things about that distance, and will be testing it out myself in a few weeks! I'm excited to see what all the fuss is about :)

Keep up the great work!

At 8:22 PM, May 09, 2008, Blogger Jason said...

I'll bet that you run another....it kinda gets in your blood.

At 9:20 AM, May 10, 2008, Blogger Gretchen said...

Great post. I did one last summer, and just signed up for another this fall.

At 5:38 PM, May 10, 2008, Blogger BOSSY said...

Eeee-yikes. Bossy is jealous.

At 7:08 PM, May 10, 2008, Blogger Rebecca said...

What an inspiring post! :)

At 4:06 PM, May 14, 2008, Blogger Tree said...

I hear you on "not sure." It is so mentally taxing in ways, that I have to work up to the courage to do it again - mentally, physically, and time-wise.

It's cool that you had a group of first timers to all experience it together.


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