When I began running, completing the distance of a 5k was a huge milestone for me. (Some days it still is!) Never in a million years did I think that I would be preparing to run my first marathon in a little over a week.
What’s funny is that when I would bump into my non-running friends some of them would say, “So I hear you’re running marathons now?”. My instant thought was, “I am??”. Of course, I knew what they meant – “I see you posting constantly on Facebook about running so obviously you are one of those maniacs that run like Forrest Gump.” – but I was quick to correct them. “No, no, no. I don’t run marathons. That’s 26.2 miles…nope, not me.”
~Insert nervous laugh here.~
So… here I am, counting the days down until March 4.
I’m still without the 26.2 under my belt but I have gone as far as 20 and it.was.ugly. I think I didn’t take in enough sodium or something because I was cramping like I’ve never cramped before. In fact, if it had been race day, I couldn’t have gone one step more. My body closed down shop and was finished. Of course, that is haunting me now and I’m desperately trying to figure out how to make sure that it doesn’t happen next weekend. *Btw, if you have any suggestions, please let me know!*
I have tons of respect for the runners that have gone before me: the fast, the slow, the walkers, the ones dressed up in a full mascot costumes. If you’ve done it, I tip my cap to you. What people don’t understand, and I’m talking about non-runners and runners that haven’t experienced long distance running, there is so much more involved in running super-long distances than just throwing on your shoes and going for a run. On my long run days, I start preparing the day before. I eat and drink a certain way and start preparing myself mentally. The day of my long run, it’s on my mind constantly. I practice in my head how far I will go and even imagine myself at the turn around. (I’ve run that trail so many times that I know where most turn around spots are for each distance.) I pack my SPIBelt like I’m going on a little trip and wear a headlamp on my head. I make sure the older kids (who are watching the little ones) understand that I will be gone “x” amount of hours and I’ll either have something ready for everyone to eat for dinner or I’ll pick up something on the way home. I bring treats with me (Chocolate Zico coconut water, a banana &/or a Clif Bar) for when I finish my run so I can eat right away. And even if it wasn’t a great run, I leave with a feeling of calmness and accomplishment. It all sounds crazy when I’m typing it out…. and maybe I am a little but I love it!
I’m nervous, excited, worried, hopeful, scared, curious and really, really in awe that some folks can actually run these things in the amount of time I can run a half, lol.
My goal is simple: Just finish.
If I can finish with a smile on my face and that medal around my neck, I will be pleased.
If you have any advice or helpful tips, I’m all ears!! 🙂 Don’t forget to check out my GU giveaway that’s going on right now!!