I ran my first marathon a little less than five years ago.
I was 44 years old, and it was the New York City Marathon.
I’m an average runner. I’m not elite or fast or even in the top 50% of most races I participate in.
But I love running because it keeps me constantly challenging myself and reminding me that I’m tougher than I think I am.
I was in the best shape I had been in in years, and my time was a 4:37 which wasn’t anything amazing, but it was respectable.
The next year I ran the Hartford Marathon.
I had trained consistently for that race.
I was feeling very good the day of the race.
I went out way to fast, and thought I was going to die by mile 18.
Like literally die.
I didn’t think I’d finish.
I was a Division I swimmer and I’ve given birth five times and I am no stranger to physical discomfort and I can say without a doubt that the Hartford Marathon is the most pain I have ever been in in my life.
I slept for about 18 hours after that one.
My time was a 4:44.
It wasn’t embarrassing, but the way I ran the race really, really pissed me off.
I was super disappointed.
I ran a few more marathons after that.
And then I kind of fell off the running wagon for about eighteen months.
Then I gained about a thousand pounds, and was feeling physically like garbage, and decided it was time to get my ass back in shape again.
That was in May.
And I set a goal for myself.
I registered for the Hartford Marathon, and I was going to run a smarter race.
I would not only beat the time I had run in 2014, but I would break 4:30 for the first time ever.
Shortly after that proclamation, I was contacted by a running coach who offered to give me a customized training plan.
I accepted her offer without hesitation.
That was three months ago.
She set me up with a special app and gave me detailed and customized workouts.
And then our town got slammed by a microburst which kind of derailed me for a little bit, and then summer came and I just did not plan well.
And I hardly did any of the stuff my coach gave me.
I just failed to make it happen.
I was running, but not the way I wanted to.
Or really needed to if I was going achieve that goal of running a best time.
I underestimated how challenging it would be to get runs in over the summer with all the kids home and my husband not around that much to help.
I failed to execute the plan.
So when my coach contacted me last week to see how my training had been going and to see if I had run the half marathon I was registered for in the beginning of August, I told her that I had not missed the half marathon, but that I had seriously dropped the ball in the training department.
She texted me back and told me she thought I should just do the half marathon. That I hadn’t been training enough and with only eight weeks until the marathon it was unlikely I’d have a good and fun race.
I’ll be honest.
That thought had also crossed my mind.
Now that she had suggested it, I had to really consider it.
She’s the expert, and she knows what she’s talking about.
I thought and thought about it.
And I thought about it.
She’s probably right.
But if I don’t run that marathon, I’ll be really mad at myself.
If I run the half marathon, I’ll be there at the finish line watching the marathoner’s finish a little while later and I’ll regret not doing it. I be super disappointed.
Plus, you know what?
I need to prove this to myself.
It won’t be fast. I won’t run a best time.
I may be a good thirty minutes slower than my time last year.
But I’m running that marathon, goddammit.
I’m gonna finish them, or I’m gonna die trying.
But I’m not wussing out.
And when I cross that finish line on October 13th, I’m going to know that nothing is too big and nothing is too hard and there is really nothing that I can’t do.