Remembering the First Marathon

Today marked another running of the Walt Disney World Marathon. Thanks to Facebook’s Memories feature, I’ve been flooded with reminders throughout the week from my own time in Orlando. And thanks to RunDisney’s Instagram account, I found myself looking at pictures of the days’ events and wishing I could be there to run it, again.

 

The funny thing is that, before Disney, I’d never had any desire a marathon. Matter of fact, I remember telling anyone who’d listen that I’d never run a marathon (why TF would I run a distance that killed a teenager?). And then my oldest sister picked up running…and decided she wanted to run a marathon. So of course, my other sister (who ran the New York City Marathon in 2003) and I got roped into going on this journey. If it’d been anybody else, I probably wouldn’t laughed in their face.  (It’s amazing what you end up doing for family, right?) But, I agreed and took some comfort in the knowledge the insanity is hereditary.

 

Most of my training leading up to the race is a blur. But, so much of the race, itself, is still fresh in my brain. Disney was a race unlike anything else I’d run up to that point or since then. To their credit, Disney goes out of their way to make this a fun marathon, and I had my share of fun along the course. (After all, what other race is going to give me the chance to stop and ride a rollercoaster halfway through the race?) And while I may have hated the world from mile 18 to mile 25, nothing topped the joy and satisfaction of crossing that finish line!

 

Disney made me challenge myself as a runner in a way I hadn’t before. Every step of training, and every step of the race made me realize I was capable of more than I could’ve imagined before the race (true story: I remember tearing up somewhere after mile 20 when I realized I was actually going to finish the race, after all). Disney made me a marathoner, and I’m looking forward to the day when I get to run Disney, again.

#chasing26.2: Thoughts on Dallas and Finishing a Marathon

Merry (belated) Christmas, and (almost) Happy New Year! I know for many of us—myself included—the end of the year can be a blur of activities, parties, family, etc. But, I hope that—in the midst of the food, the gifts, and the activities—you still find time to stop and rest.

Needless to say, my life didn’t stop after finishing Dallas. Between a work trip, playing for two weddings, and the usual end-of-year antics, today is one of the first times I’ve had to really sit down and write. Plus, if we’re keeping it honest, it’s also taken this long because I’ve been trying (and still am trying, in some ways) to really get my head around the entire marathon experience. And while I’m still not sure I’ve managed to completely “process” it all, I still want to share where I’m at, so far.

First of all, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have actually finished Dallas, this year. The DNF from 2016 bugged me in ways you can’t begin to imagine, and at times it even had me wondering if my finishing Disney was a fluke. Yes, finishing Dallas this year—regardless of the time—meant that I accomplished my goal (and who doesn’t love accomplishing a goal they’ve set for themselves?). But, more than that, finishing Dallas was the “win” I needed to remind myself that running at this distance is possible for me.

But, even as I’ve reveled in the satisfaction of completing a marathon, Dallas made me realize that I still have so much to learn when it comes to this distance. I’ve run 9 or 10 half marathons to date; I’ve finished the Disney World Marathon; and part of me thought I knew what I was getting into when I signed up to run another marathon. And yet, Dallas reminded me that 26.2 is a completely different animal. This distance that will stretch you—and break you, if I’m being honest—in ways you’d never thought possible. It is not for the faint of heart. A marathon will take everything you have, and still ask for more. So, even with all the races I’ve finished before, even with all the miles I’ve logged over the years, Dallas showed me that running marathons is still new and uncharted territory for me.

But here’s the thing: for all the time marathoning takes (both in training and on race day), for all the sore muscles and injuries, for all the internal angst about whether I could finish, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Running marathons has taught me about myself—not just what I lack, but what I am. It’s forced me to prioritize and be creative with my time so the rest of my life doesn’t go off the rails. It’s helped me learn to push myself to places and distances I never thought possible when I first started running. It’s taught me how to listen to my body. It’s taught me the value of rest. It’s made me a better person.

And while it’s going to be a while before my next marathon, I’m definitely looking forward to running more marathons in the future. 😉

5 Weeks to Race Day…

…and it’s hard not to panic. Most of my training runs have left me feeling like finishing this marathon is doable…at least the training runs under 13 miles leave me feeling that way. Anything longer than that has been ugly, brutal, and slow. Painfully slow. In fact, those long runs have been slow enough that I honestly have to consider whether it wouldn’t be better to drop from the full marathon down to the half marathon.

 

I’ve still got some time to decide one way or the other. Would I rather be running and finishing the full? Hell yes. But, if the writing on the wall says I’m not going to be able to finish the full marathon, methinks it’d be better to scale back and accomplish what I can by running the half marathon.

Back to the Grind!

You know I’m back like I never left (I never left)

Another sprint, another step (another step)

Another day, another breath (another breath)

Been chasing dreams, but I never slept (I never slept)

 

With Rock N Roll Dublin done, you may be wondering, “What’s next?”

 

Well, what’s next is the BMW Dallas Marathon in December, with a few shorter races along the way during the training schedule. As of today, it’s 16 weeks until race day, and that ever familiar cycle started over with a 30-minute run in the pre-dawn hours and Texas humidity. And yet, for the achy feet, cranky hamstring, and sluggish pace, this morning’s run still left me feeling like I could conquer the world and ready for the next round of training.

 

No two races are the same, so it stands to reason that no two training cycles are the same. The first run of training feels like flipping to a blank page in a new journal: I really don’t have a clue what’s coming over the course of the next few weeks. Do I have goals in mind? Sure. Are there things I want to learn or do better? Absolutely. But, when all is said and done, each training cycle is its own journey; all I can do is take it one day at a time, one mile at a time, and see what unfolds. I’ve had races where that blank training slate felt daunting and left me more than a little anxious. But this time? Bring. It. ON!

 

I feel glorious, glorious

Got a chance to start again

I was born for this, born for this

It’s who I am, how could I forget?

I made it through the darkest part of the night

And now I see the sunrise

Now I feel glorious, glorious

I feel glorious, glorious

–Glorious, Macklemore feat. Skylar Grey

 

PS For anyone that’s interested, I do plan on recapping my experience in Dublin. Working on that particular post (or two? I haven’t decided yet) has turned into one of those moments where all the words and thoughts in my head try to work their way out at the exact same time. So, bear with me while I work through pulling that story together.

 

PPS For anyone that enjoys running to music, check out this cover of Macklemore’s “Glorious” as performed by the cast of NBC’s (now cancelled…*sob*) show Rise. This song may or may not have been on repeat as I ran this morning. 😉

 

And So It Begins…

If the first thing you do on payday is sign up for 2–yes, that’s right, 2–races, you might be a runner! 😉

This may not be the case for every single runner on the planet, it’s certainly true of this runner, today. I’ve signed up for the Trinity River Half Marathon and the BMW Dallas Marathon. Oh, and I’m already signed up to run the Rock N Roll Dublin Half Marathon this summer. Suffice it to say, things are about to get busy in my world as training kicks into gear.

My invitation to you is to come along for the ride that is race training and running. Follow along and find out what it means to be a runner. Come hang out and laugh with me and, see what running does for the rest of my life.

Come along. Have fun.

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