A few weeks ago I finally mustered up the courage to register for the half marathon I’ve been telling myself I’m going to run. It was a big step, because, uh, I’m a big chicken. So you can imagine my surprise when yesterday I felt confident enough to register for a marathon. As in full marathon. As in 26.2 miles ohmyGODwhatwasIthinking, marathon.
I know it sounds a little bonkers to register for a marathon before I’ve even run the half yet, but here’s the list of reasons why I spent $95 yesterday on something that wasn’t a handbag or a pair of shoes:
- It’s in Philadelphia. My college roommate lives in Philadelphia, but only temporarily. She’s there for PA school and will be gone by next November (when the marathon takes place.) So, I don’t have to pay for cab fares/hotel room, etc. and I get to see her (and she’s tentatively doing the half, so bonus!)
- I ran a PR 10k yesterday. It wasn’t in monumentally amazing time, but it was the best time I’ve ever run and I felt really, really good during the whole race. (And it was freakin’ hilly! Ah! The hills!) I rode up with a coworker who is a fantastic runner and the conversations we had gave me more confidence than I’ve ever had. I think it made an impact on my race, and having someone that experienced simply say, “You can run a marathon” was great encouragement.
- The timing is perfect. I’m running a half in three weeks, and there’s another half marathon right here in town in mid-September. That gives me over two months to start getting up to those 20-milers.
- It’s a cold-weather race (they say around 45 degrees at the start can be expected.) I LOVE this. I’m a big whiny baby in heat.
- The field is limited to 18,000 people (!) and it’s filled up well before October the last couple years, so I felt like I’d better commit or I’d miss my chance.
- Being able to tell my kids someday that I ran a marathon the same year I ran my first road race EVER seems like one of those awesome things which could potentially make them look at each other and be like, “Wow, mom’s a BADASS.”
- I can do it. I can. It might be slow, and I might look like death warmed over at the finish line, but I don’t care. I can do it.
Jacqueline (amazing runner coworker friend) was telling me some of her times for races when she first got started and it made me realize the good ones don’t lace up their shoes for the first time with the ability to qualify for Boston (why did I think that??) and that I can get there too. This had literally never occurred to me before. I’m such a headcase. It was also nice to have someone share my case of almost-uncontrollable nerves pre-race. (I thought I was the only person who suffered from this! Everyone else seems so calm, cool, and collected and I’m all “why the hell did I decide to do this?? I could be SLEEPING right now instead of having my stomach in KNOTS!”)
AND, she taught me this amazing little trick where you count your steps (up to 20) if you start to lose control of your pace, or focus, or whatever. Near the top of one mother of a hill at mile 4.5, my pace was getting snail-like and I started to panic, so I tried the counting trick. And it worked! I brought my pace back down over 2 minutes per mile in about a minute and a half. Victory!
My focus for the next few weeks will be gearing up for the half and weaning myself off my iPod when I run. (Which is tough, because I typically run alone, but I’ll get it.)
I’ll also be focusing on NO NEW SHOES OR HANDBAGS, because I’ve got a plane ticket to buy!