June 11th, 2009
This blog is being created to document my journey on my quest to be a Marathon Runner. I'm beginning my training now to participate in the Columbus Marathon on October 18th, 2009 in Columbus Ohio.
It still feels a little awkward to call myself "a runner". I didn't start running until the beginning of August of 2008. I began by following the Couch to 5K program (see coolrunnings.com). I really just decided to follow the program to prove to myself that if I WANTED to, I could run three miles. I figured once I finished the program, I would go back to doing the other cardio stuff I much preferred. But I felt like I needed some sort of goal or something to strive for at that time. Well, lo and behold, once I finished the program I didn't want to stop running. Not because I found that I LOVED running, by any means, but moreso that after completing the program, I couldn't bear to let all the hard work that it took to get me to that point just disappear! So I maintained the running, by running 3 miles, 3 times a week. In January of 2009, a friend (formerly my kids babysitter), really encouraged me to sign up for the Commit to be Fit Half Marathon. I trained for the half marathon, and ran it with my friend Kathy (and another friend of hers). It was one of the best experiences of my life. (see my finish line photo! Oh, and that was NOT my Net time on the clock. I finished it in 2:42...not bad for my first half marathon). Really, after I crossed that finish line, I really felt like there is nothing in this world that I couldn't accomplish if I set my mind to it and really prepared myself to do what I needed to do in order to achieve it. Nothing could have said it better than John "the Penguin" Binghams saying... "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start".
After that race, I just knew I NEEDED to try to run a full marathon. First, I LOVED having a goal to train towards. I became so focused on that goal, and it really took my mind off of some of the difficult things going on in other parts of my life. Running became my outlet for stress. It helps me to clear my mind, and I felt better able to handle what life throws at me.
But I KNEW I couldn't just go into the marathon training without having some support. So Kathy and I are training and running the marathon together. We have joined a training group called The Sole of Columbus Running Training group to prepare for this journey. They are providing us with a training plan to follow, running clinics, group runs, etc. Last night, we had the kickoff party at Buck Mulligans Pub in Gahanna. We met a few people who will be taking part in the training, and everyone seems very nice, especially the guys from the stores that are running the program. I feel VERY comfortable with my choice of training groups. I'm most excited to have a group of people to do these long runs with on saturday mornings, as well as the fact that they will have water stations set up for us for those long runs! I did all my long runs by myself when I trained for the half marathon, and let's just say that is way too much time for me to be by myself thinking!
Our first long run with the group is on June 20th. Until then, I'm kind of on my own. I've been trying to increase my running to 4 days a week. I'm doing three short runs during the week of 3-4 miles each run, and then a long run on the weekend. Right now, I'm just doing between 6 and 8 miles on the weekend.
We should be getting our training program next week, which will outline the number of miles for each run. I should probably mention that when I say run, I actually do a run/walk. A lot of times I just run my short runs straight through, but for the long runs, I do walk breaks. Generally I do a 4:1 or 5:1 split, with four minutes running, one minute walking. I didn't start out that way when I did the couch to 5K program, but several people really encouraged me to try doing the run/walk intervals, and now I'm stuck with it. I just feel so much better when I incorporate walk breaks. Anyhow, I pretty much follow the Jeff Galloway run/walk program, and plan on doing that when I run the marathon in the fall.
I'm setting up this blog because I want to journal my experiences as I train for this event in my life. Someone asked me why I wanted to do this. You know, I feel pretty good about myself overall, but here's the honest-to-god truth as to why I want to run a marathon. There is nothing really special about me. I'm just your average person, living an average life. I LOVE my life, don't get me wrong. But really, there is nothing special about me. Well, there is a VERY small percentage of the population who has ever run a marathon. Being part of that group is something that sets me apart from everyone else. I just want this one thing to have as something that sets me apart from the average Joe.
And you know, I KNOW there are a lot of other people out there that can run circles around me, win races in their age group or gender group or whatnot. But I don't care. I didn't start running until I was 42 years old. I'm never going to win a race. I'm really doing this all for me, and not for anyone else. But geez, look at all the people that participate in races. Thousands. There are only a few winners that get the awards. But we're all winners, right? A lot of people can't even get out there to run. There was a quote I found on the web, and it pretty much summed it up for me...
" You need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don't run and never will... those who run but don't race...those who started training for a race but didn't carry through...those who got to the starting line but didn't cross the finish line...those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You're still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you've outlasted. "- Joe Henderson"