“Training for a marathon started out as a life-list thing, and it turned into a lifestyle.”
-Mike Post, Runners World Challenger of the Week
This is how it all started for me folks! I signed up for the Chicago Marathon on 10-10-10 at the urging from a friend, who had run a few marathons before and was wanting to train for another one. After I had broken my foot training for the Las Vegas Half Marathon in 2009, I decided, why not? I was frustrated by the injury and ready to push myself more. I know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense… I guess I had the runner’s mentality in me already ;).
That first year of training was rough. It took discipline. I stayed in more, rather than meeting my friends out at bars and cut back on indulging in adult beverages. My friends started to get frustrated with me. I started getting frustrated with my schedule, that seemed to keep me from having any fun at all. I trained alone. I hit every milestone each week, pushing the miles past what I had run before. I disciplined myself. And I got there. By the time the marathon came, I felt bored. I didn’t want to run anymore. I didn’t have the companionship to keep me going. The last two weeks of taper, I started reaching out to anyone who would run some miles with me, just so I could make myself get them in. I swore over and over and over again that I would never run another marathon. I would never make this type of sacrifice again.
Then, the marathon came. It was incredible. Indescribable. I had so much fun! My friend and I flew through the first half of the course and were amazed to find ourselves at the half marathon mile marker. We felt great. The crowds in Chicago were motivating. I was taking in each and every neighborhood we ran through. This is what I had worked so hard for. I took my time. I enjoyed the race for what it was. It was for me. Thinking about the experience now, makes me laugh. I stopped 3 times during the race to use the porta potties! Three times! And I stopped on the side of the course to stretch at least twice in addition to the potty stops :). I was in it to finish it, nothing more, nothing less. And I did. I never hit a wall. I just kept on going. At mile 15, my friend stayed behind, injured. I ran the last part of the race alone. I was choking back tears as I neared mile 26. The feeling of accomplishment overcame me. I knew I had just conquered something big. Something that for me, was going to be life changing. 🙂 Writing this now, I find myself fighting back tears as I remember that feeling.
I came home and in one night, signed myself up for not just one more, but two more marathons to run in 2011. Chicago and Tucson :). And… well, it’s been a lifestyle I’ve adapted to, no longer a sacrifice, but a joy.
(Picture shamelessly borrowed from Run5kaday’s Blog)