A marathon was always a bucket list thing for me. Run one, check it off, and move on to something else. It was only while incredibly intoxicated–under the the influence of a true runner’s high–that I seriously considered doing another. Jana and I would be sitting at brunch post 16, 18, or 20 mile run, having asked for a second entire jar of nutella, and throwing around ideas of other marathons we should run.
Then I ran the Marine Corps in 2010 and came to my senses. Not because I had a bad race– no, quite the opposite. Because I ran a great marathon and, well, that was just out of my system.
So I guess I kind of caught myself off guard when I somewhat impulsively signed up for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon last week. I mean, impulsively is generally how I agree to these kinds of things, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise. But I’m kind of freaked out. You see, I’m not a competitive athlete in the traditional sense. I’ve never run a race to win it. In fact my goal for my first marathon was simply to finish without walking… and preferably to beat Oprah’s marathon time.
But the way in which I am competitive is with myself. I want to do better than I did last time, and I’m afraid I set myself a bit of a high bar. I had a great marathon experience. I had fun, finished strong, and felt great afterward… in fact I walked an extra two miles to brunch and was running again two days later. But I’ve seen folks who have had a bad marathon experience. It’s not pretty, and I’d rather not go there. So to try to avoid that, I’ve created a plan (me, a plan? shocker).
Notice anything? How about the fact that it starts next week. What the heck!? The marathon is in March… I really wasn’t planning to start thinking about this now. But when I counted back the weeks on Hal Higdon’s handy dandy marathon training schedule (which I used last time and trust) I realized that I would need to do more than start thinking about this now. I need to start running. Which I haven’t done in about two months.
What else do you notice? Seventeen and eighteen mile runs in January you say? Well you know what happens in January? It gets cold. And it snows. And I will be running outside in the cold and the snow if at all possible. Because the only thing I dislike more than being cold is treadmills. Training in the heat of August in D.C. was brutal, but snow can literally prevent a long run.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, essentially I’m using you. I’m using you to hold me accountable. To make sure I keep up with my training schedule and don’t say, “hey, why not just drop down to the half marathon?” So starting the week after next, you can look forward to a weekly training update… and likely some high carb recipes!