I wanted this post to be full of fun photos from my marathon adventures but for some reason blogger wouldn't let me upload any! Maybe next year I'll do a marathon-aversary with photos addition. This year you get a lot of words on the page.
June 1, 2008 I was towing the line of my very first marathon. I didn’t have a blog, I didn’t have runner friends, I followed a plan called “the non-runners guide to marathon training,” I was just learning about GU, tech clothes, proper shoes and body glide. I had no expectations and no idea how hard the journey would be or if I would finish. At that point, I’d only run one half marathon and probably a dozen or so 5k’s. I definitely did not dip my toes in the water, I jumped. I went from one or two 5k’s a year for several years, to half marathon on a whim with little training, to marathon. However, there will never be anything so satisfying as crossing the finish line in 2008! I think most of it was having no expectations, no one to compare myself against (since none of my friends had done marathons)—I don’t think a negative thought crossed my mind the whole race. It was certainly hard but also so very satisfying. Seeing Mr. Pi and getting my giant hug at the end was the best reward!
I have now crossed the finish line of 4 marathons since 2008. Each has brought a new experience, new lessons learned and with it, great self satisfaction.
Marathon #2 was just a short 7 months after marathon number 1. Marathon #2 taught me that marathons don’t necessarily get any easier. I also learned that a great outfit can bring fun comments at mile 21-24 when they are most needed. I ran through my first injury while training for marathon #2. I also ran sick. I had bronchitis and up until I hit the start line I wasn’t sure I would run the full. By now, I was blogging and had met a bunch of runner friends. I was using a “real” training plan and I knew all about the wonders of tech clothes, GU, body guide and proper shoes. Marathon #2 taught me that despite some obstacles I could push myself to finish faster and stronger.
Marathon #3 was an even shorter 5 months from marathon #2. It was a return to San Diego where I had very high expectations for a great run and a new PR. I was immersed in the blogging world and had actually met a ton of bloggers by that point and even participated in a meet up at the expo. I set ambitious goals for the race and had several people to compare myself to as many friends were also running that day. I had trained hard and expected great things. I trained virtually without injury and had scored a PR in every race I participated in leading up to the marathon. When I finally let things go at mile 23 and allowed myself to be proud with my soon-to-be new PR, even though it wasn’t the time I wanted, I finally enjoyed the race. This marathon taught me holding onto expectations and comparing myself to others was NOT a recipe for success or enjoyment. It’s a lesson I still have to tell myself every now and again. It made me think that blogging, surrounding myself by runner friends and running marathons wasn’t the best way to make me happy. Since I didn’t want to give up blogging and I certainly didn’t want to give up my friends, I decided to stop running marathons for awhile and focus my attention back to other activities I enjoyed and felt I was “good” at. I stopped running long distances and really got to a point where I was enjoying 10 miles or less and was feeling confident in my running ability. I also got the triathlon itch, bought a bike and dove head first into “tri’ing” that out. I let my friends and Mr. Pi run marathons and rack up PRs without me and I was happier for it.
Marathon #4 was over a year and a half since marathon #3. In between, I spectated several of my friends races and had been crowned the queen of the "toe-nail" signs. I had finally “recovered” from marathon’ing and was ready to tackle it again. I was ready to have fun running a marathon again and couldn’t have picked a better race than Disney to bring a little fun back to the marathon. By this point, I was a “seasoned.” I’d run three marathons, many half marathons, 5ks, a half ironman and a couple of sprint tri’s. I knew what kind of GU I liked and what kind made me want to barf. I had a favorite shoe brand, sock brand, sports bra brand, running skirt brand and shirt brand. I had also picked the best race to NOT have expectations. I was running a half and a full back-to-back my expectations for time goals were non-existent. I trained well, going through the motions I knew well. My plan was to have fun running when I could, walking when I couldn’t run anymore. I was all about taking pictures and enjoying the sights. Marathon #4 may have been my slowest but it rivaled the joyous feelings I had during and after marathon #1.
Will there be a marathon #5?