I’m embarking on a huge endeavor. This week, I begin training for my first marathon.
The story unfolds to more than a year ago, when my sister urged me to put my name in the New York City Marathon lottery. I entered my name and credit card info for sh*ts and giggles. My husband ran the marathon with my brother-in-law the year before. I saw how it was technically feasible to train for, complete, and feel happy about. They were both over the moon with the experience. My sister and I were spectators, hustling around on foot and via subway to various points throughout the city to cheer on our husbands. We watched them tackle the initial leg of the race, full of energy, to the midpoint where the still had fuel in the tank, but maybe a bit less energetic, to the end, when the fatigue was apparent, but so was their drive to finish strong. I was in awe of the runners – all of them – and felt it was something I could never do.
Then, one day in 2014, my card was charged by New York Road Runners. By luck of the draw, I’d gotten into this competitive race. Maybe even against my wishes, I’d gotten in…
I’ve been running since college, when it was the cheapest and simplest form of exercise. Fifteen years later, I consider myself a seasoned runner. I’ve done six half-marathons and have another in the queue. As a distance, the marathon has always loomed large. Whenever I run a half-marathon coupled with a marathon, I thank God when the marathoners split off that I’m not running their race. The distance and demands on your body is, frankly, scary.
Last summer I started training for the 2014 marathon and was simply not excited. I was really anxious and had GI troubles whenever I ran. We had many other new things happening, and I delayed entry for one year, permitted under race rules. Which brings me to June of this year.
From what I know of the NYC Marathon, the November race is a 26.2 mile block party. It is a festive, populated event with enthusiastic fans lining the streets. Runners wear shirts with their names printed on the front and back, and are encouraged by perfect strangers. In addition to my name, I’m going to ask a friend to embroider ‘First Time Marathoner’ on my shirt for some extra support. Every little bit will help.
Successfully training for months to run 26.2 happily is a HUGE personal goal. I need to hit the pavement or treadmill before my kids wake up, on lunch breaks, and with my children for the shorter runs to minimize impact on home life. I must manage what I eat and drink, and stretch in a more dedicated way (like many amateur athletes who’ve evaded injury, I’m a half-hearted stretcher). It won’t be easy, but if all goes as planned, I know this is possible. I’ve had two babies; isn’t pregnancy – and even motherhood – a sort of marathon?? Of course I can do this!
I’ve enlisted some fellow runner mamas to train with me. My sister and brother-in-law will run the race too. And I’m actually kind of excited for this journey.