To hell and back has begun

When I started running last fall, my goal was to find a new way to burn calories.  Trying to run a 5K was part of trying to be sure I stuck with it.  Then I decided to try to run a 10K.  Then I decided to try to run a half marathon.

No one is more amazed than I am that I successfully ran anything.   If I think about it too much, I actually find it confusing and surreal.

I've been contemplating trying to run a full marathon ever since I finished the the half marathon.   Originally, I thought a new challenge would be good to help me keep my workouts on track.   Part of me was probably a little afraid I'd pack the 60 pounds back on if I didn't stay on track.
But then my 39th birthday started approaching and I started thinking I should go for the full marathon as a last hurrah before turning 40.   My knees aren't getting any younger and I thought if I'm ever going to do it I may as well do it before my knees get any older. 

I even read a couple books about marathons while I was debating it.  Books that didn't sugar coat how hard it would be.  Books that mention blisters and toe nails falling off and how the last 6.2 will feel like a lifetime. 

I thought the 13.1 miles felt really, really long both times I ran a half marathon.  I remember seeing my Garmin hit mile 9 and being amazed that I felt like I had been running forever and lived a whole lifetime out on the course only to realize I still had another 4 miles to go.   A marathon is twice the distance as a half marathon.   If a half marathon felt like a lifetime by mile 9,  I have mad respect for 26.2.   And at my slow plodding 10 minute mile pace, a marathon would take me 5 hours to finish.  In a row.  Running.  5 hours.  Did I mention 5 hours? That's sick on so many levels.  Seriously. 
And then one day I had an epiphany while watching American Ninja Warrior with my husband and kids.  I may or may not be the first person to have ever had an epiphany while watching that show.   It's a show where super fit people run a super ridiculously hard obstacle course.  Mostly men with incredible upper arm strength and great balance.

The most popular topic in my house during the show is will the guy successfully complete the obstacles.  Sometimes we like to pretend we could do it better than the contestants.  They had one obstacle recently that involved hanging from a bar and using your arms to sort of bicycle the bar to move you and the bar 15 feet.  My kids claimed it looked easy.

After I laughed they enjoyed telling me there's no way I could do it.  I laughed and agreed.  And then my husband, who had only been half listening while closely monitoring NFL.com said to me without even thinking about it, You didn't think you could run a half marathon either but you did.  And then he told my kids, You never know.

Truer words have never been spoken.  And that's when I knew I had to try.
Running 26.2 miles is really, really intimidating.  Heck, just training for a marathon is really, really intimidating.  I can't for the life of me imagine running 22 miles for a training run.  If I'm going to run 22 miles, there should really be a medal around my neck at the end.   And lots of chocolate chip cookies.  And if there isn't, why am I wasting my time and what's wrong with my brain?

So I'm pretty scared.   My friend Pinterest has been comforting me by pointing out that doing scary things is good for me.
See.  Told you.
So I'm going all in.  I even slapped my credit card down to register for a race at the end of February before I could chicken out.

My trip to hell and back started at the end of August.   5 pleasant miles in 85 degree weather.  Followed by 6 tough miles in 93 degree weather.  And 7 death march miles this past weekend swimming through humid as hell 87 degrees.  Please tell me cooler weather is coming soon.
Strangely enough, the scary part to me isn't so much whether or not I'll finish.  I'm delusional enough to figure I can get to the finish line somehow someway regardless of how ugly.  The thing that has me scared is how I'll get to the finish line and what condition I'll be in when I get there.

Worst case scenario is the hot mess express stuck walking the last 16 miles in tears wishing someone would just shoot me to put me out of my misery.  Best case scenario is a sprint across the finish line waving my hands in the air like I just don't care using every last drop in my gas tank.  My money is on somewhere in the middle.

I can't wait to find out how it turns out.  But still really, really intimidated.   I've decided excited but intimidated isn't a bad place to be.

Let's do this.  Or let's at least try.


wood0327 said...

Just found your blog recently--loved your post. It is so fitting as I just finished running my first ever 5K on Saturday! I didn't think I could do it, and I thought I was going to die while running it, but I did it and it felt great!! Tipping my hat to you for training for the big 26.2!! My big girl panties aren't that brave yet:)

Anonymous said...

That is awesome! You can so do it if you want too!

Anonymous said...

I loved this post, especially the quote from your husband. I am a horrible, horrible (it needs to be said twice), terrible, slow runner. I was out for a short run this morning and it dawned on me that I used to require 4 walking breaks to complete the same distance I just completed with one break. It isn't much, and it definitely isn't a half marathon (yet), but it's progress and I'm excited. This post made me want to sign up for something and scare myself too. Good luck with your marathon!! You'll do a fantastic job. Run it like a ninja :)

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Best of luck to you! I cheered my best friend on in the New York marathon about five years ago. It was inspiring to follow her around town.

She was going to attempt it again, but during training realized her body was telling her not to do it.

Just listen to your body - you'll be all set!

Proving I Can said...

Good luck on your new goal and considering the other goals you have reached I am sure this one is within your reach too! I can't even imagine walking 2 miles let alone running anything beyond that so "cheers" to you

Cassandra Schmigotzki said...

Good luck in your marathon training! I don't know that I could even walk that far.

Gracielle Tamanio said...

This post is so inspirational! You can do it! This is coming from a girl who cannot even run a mile. I'll be cheering you on from the virtual finish line!

Gracielle from mommya-z

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is amazing! I love your humor and how you talked yourself through this! I truly have nothing but admiration for those who do marathons. 6 miles was my max in college and I haven't gone past (or probably even done 6) since!

All the best for you and your new project. I'll be keeping up! Stopping by from SITS! :)

Amy Farrington said...

Reminds me of the quote "she believed she could and so she did." And so you will. Congrats!

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