Ok, I admit it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a runner’s high :). But I do try and run. In January 2007, I ran my first (and only) marathon.
I had attended a meeting in June 2006 with a group called “Team in Training (TNT).” I really liked what they were providing for a destination race. They would give you a coach, a training schedule, they paid for you hotel, race entry and airfare and they provided weekly group training sessions. In exchange for all of this, if you signed up with the group, you agreed to raise a set amount of money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The fundraising amount was a little scary (it was almost $4000) but TNT did have what they called recommitment where you reach the halfway point in your training and determine whether or not you are going to continue on to the race and continue with your fundraising or you could drop out. If you dropped out, 100% of what you had already raised would go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
I learned several things while training for my first ever marathon. The first was that running is 80% mental. It was amazing to see how far I could continue to push my body when my mind was telling me I couldn’t continue. I think too often we let our mind dictate what is going to happen in our lives. Sometimes we have to block out what our head is telling us and listen to our bodies or our hearts.
Another thing I learned is that right now, I don’t ever want to run another marathon. Of course, I know there is a possibility that this could change but right now, I say no way. It’s funny because our coach told us that when we were done with our race, we would know right away whether or not we wanted to do it again. One of the girls I trained with (who is a great friend now) finished strong and when I saw her right after, she said, “I want to do that again!!” I said, “That was tough and I am not ready to commit to another one.”
Finally, I learned that it is a lot more fun to run in a race than it is to train for that race. When you are training for a marathon, you are commiting huge chunks of time during your week to training. The race does make the training worth it but it is a very big time commitment.
My actual race was a tough one. I live in Tennessee and the race we chose to go to was in Arizona. The temperature on race morning ended up being the coldest they had seen in sixteen years. It did warm up, though as the sun came out. Because I was not used to the elevation, I hit a wall about mile eleven and could not get my breathing under control anytime I was running. I ended up walking over half of the marathon and finished in 6:24:42.
Mom & Dad had come out for the race and my dad met me about mile 21 and kept me company for a little while which was very helpful. And I was happy to finish under the seven hour cutoff time for the race (we did have a couple of people on our TNT team who did not make the cutoff).
I am proud to be able to say that I have completed a marathon and every so often I think I would like to try and beat my finish time but then I think about all of the training that has to go into it. At that point, I decide to stick to half marathons and my favorite–triathlons (for more information on these, you’ll have to read my “S” post tomorrow).