On Feb 19, 2011, I registered to run the Chicago Marathon on Oct 9, 2011. It will be my first marathon. I keep little notes about my running experiences and it was suggested that I post them as a blog. So here they are. I'll add new notes as I dig them up.
I am excited and I am nervous about running a marathon. A little scarred too. But I’m actually very confident that I will be able to run the entire distance and that I will be able to post a reasonably good time. I’m anticipating being able to average a 10:00min/mile pace, completing the run in 4hrs 22minutes or better. My real goal is to be closer to 4hrs. But everyone tells me that my “ultimate” goal should be to just finish. Ok – I’ll make that my goal – but I want to finish between 4hrs and 4hrs 22minutes. Now the trick is to get to the starting line healthy and strong.
My biggest mental hurdle in deciding to run my first marathon is that I don’t want to wind up permanently hurting myself in any way. I’ve been afraid of pushing myself so far that I do something that permanently pulls, tears, or breaks something in my body, and then I wind up regretting the effort for the rest of my life. --- But obviously I’ve gotten past that.
I started running about 2 1/2 years ago purely for the cardio-vascular benefits. Since I'm in my 50's I thought that might be a good idea... but who in their right mind starts running at that age? In the beginning I struggled horribly. I couldn’t run a quarter mile without stopping. I sucked at running. It was embarrassing. It took me a *long* time before I could comfortably run even a single mile, never mind 3. It was ugly and difficult. But I did it. AnnDee was a huge inspiration for me. Eventually I was able to do a 4 mile St. Patrick's Day run (it was more of a beer fest than a run…), and then a 5K race. Those events were good fun and I've run several events since. The term “race” with me is a misnomer – I’m not racing anyone but myself – there just happen to be a lot of other people also running… I found that I really liked the “controlled chaos” of each race event and most of the people are pretty cool folks. The masses pretty much kept me moving, and I loved the finish.
In 2010 I was thinking of doing a 10K and got talked into doing a Half Marathon by a poker buddy and that was really the start of it. I had such a good time with that first HM that I did second one just a few months later. I found that I enjoyed the distance running, and was thinking that HM was my comfortable zone. It might still be.
But about 3 months after my second HM I started wanting to run a full marathon. Not that I had to, or that I should, but rather that I wanted to. That was a big catharsis for me. I wanted to feel that ‘dig deep, dig hard’ feeling and get it done. I love that feeling, that tremendous internal joy, that comes with a physical accomplishment. I am confident that I have the ability to make it through the Chicago Marathon, but I also know that it will be hard on me. But I will love, totally love, the feeling afterwards. Even as I write this I am giddy about the expected feeling.