Happy hump day! I hope you’re all have a great week so far. After my half marathon in April, I never shared what was next for me in terms of running. I knew what the plan was the whole time but I wasn’t ready to share. Something tells me I won’t be able to hide it much longer though… I’m running my first marathon!
The rest of this post was written on March 2, 2018. Less than 24 hours after I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18, 2018.
If you told me this time last year that I would be signing up for a marathon, I would have laughed in your face and thought you were crazy. I didn’t run. I thought I hated running since I never truly loved it despite being on the cross country and track team for all of high school. Looking back, I think I didn’t like running 6 days a week and having generic workouts. Nothing was geared towards me. Granted you can’t personalize workouts for 120 girls who run 6 days a week. But I think that’s what I needed to discover that I love running.
Instagram is a huge reason I discovered my love for running. Yes I realize how ridiculous that sounds but hear me out. Somehow I found Melissa one day. As I’m sure most of you do, I started scrolling through her feed. She became so inspiring to me. She has run 7 marathons and has run 4 Boston qualifying times on the day I’m writing this. Guess what – she wasn’t always a runner. She isn’t naturally fast either. Melissa worked hard and fought to get where she is today with her fitness levels.
A few times, I saw her post about her coaching business or her athlete’s successes. I was intrigued and considered it but never did it. Then one day I looked in the mirror and just knew something had to change. I wasn’t thrilled with the girl looking back at me. It had nothing to do with my life either. At this point Alex and I were so happy and had signed the lease to our first apartment, I was about to graduate from college with a full time job and my family was so supportive of everything I did. But I needed something else. I needed an outlet. I emailed Melissa and we started talking about her coaching me.
When I started running, my “long run” was 2.5 miles. And it was intimidating to be honest. I know it’s just 2.5 miles but I didn’t run at all at that point. I started chugging along and running to get miles in and build up my endurance. The more I ran, the more I enjoyed it. Granted maybe I didn’t love it during my run in 90+ degree heat but after I felt so good.
Once I started to enjoy running, I decided to race. So I did a 5k for charity mostly because it was in Alex’s hometown and he knew the family that runs the foundation. Then I decided to really challenge myself by running a 10 mile race. 10 miles seemed like a good place to start for a long race and it went well! Training was great and I beat my goal by almost 4 minutes which felt amazing.
The next step seemed to naturally be a half marathon. So I signed up for the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon at my alma mater for April. I trained hard. I was killing my training paces and Melissa started to make them faster. I stepped up and delivered on the faster paces. The entire process was amazing. I loved the feeling of it all.
At the end of 2017, I told Alex I think I want to run a marathon. Once he got over the shock of me voluntarily wanting to run 26.2 miles, he said he’d support me. A marathon is a commitment in terms of training so I knew that his life would be affected a little bit due to early bed times and me not participating in late night outings. Plus I’d probably bug him for foot rubs and calf massages more than I already did.
I looked into some races for fall near me. I wanted something close and not have to deal with traveling for a race. The Philadelphia Marathon seemed like the perfect race. It was close to home and a big race. I looked into reviews and it sounded like there are a lot of spectators which seemed like a reason enough. So I decided I would sign up.
Then registration opened at the end of February. I went on the website to look into it and got scared. Was I really going to do this? Was I really going to spend months training myself and working towards a new and big goal of mine? So I chickened out and didn’t sign up. I figured that it was just nerves about signing up. Once I paid it was official right? I had to run the whole darn thing. I said I would think about it more and then decide what to do.
On March 1st, I had a phone call with Melissa just to check in on half marathon training. She knew I was considering running Philly and so we talked. Once I heard her say that she knew I was ready for it and could do it, it gave me a confidence boost. Keep in mind I have never met her. We only interact via phone calls and texts and she sees my workouts on Final Surge. For someone who I know “virtually” to say that made me think I could do it. But I was still scared to sign up.
Later that day, I had a tempo run. On it I just kept thinking of the marathon. Yes 26.2 miles is a lot but I don’t just run it tomorrow. I have training to go through to get myself ready for it. While running, I decided I was going to run Philly and that was that so just sign up. After dinner that night, I grabbed my computer, credit card, and glass of wine and signed up. It was official. I’m going to be a marathoner.
Don’t be fooled, I’m scared to run 26.2 miles. I’m nervous for how my body will react to running for so long. I’m scared to somehow fail. But at the same time, I am ready. I’m ready to work hard towards a new running goal. I’m ready to train and see what my body is capable of. I’m ready to crush new distances and achieve small goals along the way. I’m excited.
There is a lot that I don’t know yet about marathon training. But I know I have a great support system around me, my training will go well and when I cross the starting line in November I’ll be prepared. Maybe the race won’t go the way I want or I won’t achieve the time goal I have set for myself. I’ll finish though and be able to call myself a marathoner.
Question of the day: If you have run a marathon, do you have any tips?