Monday, February 1, 2010

Call Me Crazy, But...

Last night, I stayed up until midnight to register for the Chicago Marathon this coming October. I've been thinking about it, talking about it, even added it to my "Future Races" section ages ago. But, last night I was having serious second thoughts. If the sign up had occurred after my half marathon and that had gone well, I think I would have felt differently. Instead, I found myself debating whether to throw down $135 for something I don't even know if I can physically do. Between the half in April and October, I'll have to DOUBLE the miles I can run. Double! Why did I want to do this anyway? Had I lost my mind? Had reading all the Runner's World articles and people's running blogs given me a false sense of ability? May be I should wait for a while, maybe do another half...

Around, 9 p.m., I sat down for a long talk with B. about it. We determined that yes, I really did want to do this. Why? Because somewhere along the line, I really started to enjoy running, and I want to see what my body is capable of. While more experience would be great, why train for something without a goal in mind? So, what was I afraid of? Failure, plain and simple.

I've never been one to participate in things I'm not awesome at. I quite choir. I quit basketball. I avoided math classes as much as possible. I'm sure there are other examples...Just because I wasn't "the best." I don't like being mediocre. And, in running, I'm mediocre on a good day. I'll never be super fast. I'll never win any medals. Kara Goucher has nothing to look over her shoulder about here. I was worried that I'd get lazy about the time and sweat required to train. And, I was worried that I would get out there on the course and not be able to finish. There's a 6 1/2 hour time limit for the course. That's about a 15 minute/mile pace. I walk that fast. But, I kept obsessing about the unknown and worrying about getting part way through only to get kicked off the course for being too slow.

B. told me that while the decision was ultimately mine alone, he'd support me through it all (and kick me out of bed early on weekend mornings to get my long runs in). My mom replied to my tweet wondering aloud if I could do it with this: "You've always accomplished anything you set your mind to." True. At least two people believe in me...That was the reassurance boost I needed.

So, when midnight rolled around, I was sitting in front of my laptop with my credit card in hand, punching in the info that would make me a future Chicago marathoner.

While it's great to strive to be the best at things, I think I can learn a lot from doing something that's hard for me and sticking with it. I may never break the tape or qualify for Boston, but I can be the best runner I am personally capable of being. I'm not really competing with the other runners on the course. I'm competing with myself alone. Plus, I'll only get better with practice. I've already come much farther than I would have ever dreamed with a little determination and time spent on the road. I've gone from being the girl who said "I'd never run that far--that's just crazy" to being one of the so-called crazies.

Any advice from past marathoners?
Any training plan recommendations?
Has anyone done the Chicago marathon and have tips?


  1. That's awesome, I wish u the best of luck in ur training and may u break any times that u set for yourself. I should be back up there by then so I will come out and support you.

  2. WOW - way to go! I think it's very exciting. Not sure if I'll ever do a full marathon, but at this point I'm not saying never.

    I have that same issue with having to be good at what I do. I've always been the type to be one of the best, or find something else. Running has challenged me with this so much because I'm very average at best and I know in my mind that I don't have what it takes to be "great". But I can be very good "for me" and I'm trying really hard to improve just "for me".

    Good luck with your training. I'm excited to watch you go along.

  3. Awesome!!! Congrats to you for registering and deciding to tackle a marathon. You can do it!!! Good luck with all of your training!!!!!

  4. Wow,good for you of course you can do it!!! Good luck with your training I am having similar doubts about doing my first half I think once I buckle down and register I will feel like I don't know if I can do this and more like now no matter what I will do this. :)