08 06 2014.

running the distance: a promise

northconway-marathon-1245

I’ve been wanting to write about this subject for a while now. This is my third attempt at writing it and by now I’ve realized that I have such a hard time conveying my thoughts accurately regarding this topic. So, in part because of my frustration, but also in light of recent events, I’m just going to have to spit it out. Here goes: the marathon.

Among the runners in and around my town, the marathon is considered to be one of the greatest running achievements that an eager runner can hope to aspire to. Though what the event boils down to is a 26.2 mile road race, it really is 4-months and over 450 miles of dedication.

When I first started running, I was ambitious – but I swore to myself that I’d never want to run 26.2 miles consecutively, ever. Though in my heart I loved running, it still took a carefully crafted playlist and some fashionable activewear to motivate me to go for a run.

It’s been a few years and my relationship with exercise has changed quite dramatically. I no longer run to lose or sustain my weight. I don’t run to compete. I no longer even bring music along with me. Somewhere along the line, running became a necessity. A friend. A therapist. I run to keep my sanity and to establish a 30+ minute block of time where I can think uninterrupted.

As the triathlon drew nearer, I’d joke with friends and family that my next goal would have to be a marathon. Well, it started as a joke. It started as a joke for a very long time. At some unrecognizable point, I began to say it… and actually mean it.

And then I got it stuck in my head. I had dreams about running marathons – some successfully, others not so much. It became a silent obsession and fantasy. Surely, I didn’t think I could actually do it. 4 months of training – 5 days a week? I’d brush the idea off, but it would always come back to me. I couldn’t glimpse a marathon race report without feeling compelled to read the whole thing.

The idea of running a marathon was in my head, driving me crazy. So I finally (fully) mentally committed to it yesterday. As we all know from my Tri for a Cure reflection story, once I’ve mentally committed to something, I can’t be swayed.

I’ve been very stubborn and relentless about doing what I want to do, and I don’t waver.

Emiliana Torrini

I love that quote from Emiliana Torrini (musician/songwriter who was recently featured on my favorite creative magazine: The Great Discontent) because it describes my thought process exactly.

After 6 months of toying with this idea in my head, I’m going to run a marathon.

Granted, I’m terrified when I think about the huge commitment I’m making. I’ll have to train my body to accept fuel and water during a run. I’ll have to hope to high heaven that I won’t develop some kind of GI problem or chronic runner’s trots. I’ll have to adopt the training philosophy: no excuses. I’ll have to learn to let go of perfection and competition.

But I really want to do this. I’m excited to accomplishing this. I get emotional when I think about those last few miles to the finish line. It’s over a year away and I already can’t wait.

So here is my oath. My promise to myself. In 2015, I’m going to run my first marathon. I’m going to train. I’m going to do this, and I know what I’m up against:
Blistered feet.
Broken toenails.
Shin splints.
Bad days.
Good days.
Hunger.
Trots.
Dehydration.
Small victories.
Cramps.
Defeat.
PRs.
A new adventure.


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