To Run or Not To Run…That is the question.
One year ago almost to the day, I did something that I would have thought utterly impossible: I ran the marathon. On a cold December morning in Folsom, CA, my sister Kelly and I culminated our months of hard work, determination and training with a 26.2 mile dash to Sacramento. Our first marathon!
Sounds like this is something right out of a movie on the Lifetime Channel, right? Two sisters separated by 3,000 miles with one bond, the marathon…(insert sad music). I wish this was a well thought up script and plot, but those of you who know me well know that I am at times the Queen of Random. My life has been plagued with random events that lead my friends to respond, “Only Maria” after they hear the details of my lastest escapades.
My intention for running my very first marathon happened much of the same way. I was home for a visit and I went out for a 3 mile run and felt like I was going to die. I ran from my house to my high school, which was a pleasant jog until I turned around to come home. I then realized that my outbound jog had been so pleasant because it was all downhill. The leftover 1.5 miles return may seem pretty cursory, but adding the heat, humidity and incline it really felt like 26.2. When I got home, I got thinking, which is normally the impetus to one of my “Random Ideas”. What would running 26.2 miles really look like? How would one train for it?
Out of curiosity only, I decided to call my friend Jessica who was a marathon extraordinare. She had done something obscene like run more than one marathon in a year for a bunch of years. Keep in mind in between she stopped for a few months to have her first baby, but as soon as Aubs came out she started running marathons again and lost all of her pregancy weight within weeks time. If she wasn’t such an amazing person and a fabulous friend, this would cause real reason to hate her ;p. I broached her with the question of how one (meaning her, not me) trains for a marathon?
Now before I tell you her answer, allow me to explain the mindset of marathon runners, as it may be a little foreign to most. Let’s put it this way, allow yourself to take a trip down memory lane. When you were growing up, do you remember the kids who were great at peer pressure? They could get anyone to try anything at anytime. They probably introduced most of us to our first rebellous decision, whether it be cutting a class, trying your first beer or getting parts of your body pierced/tattooed? Remember how cool that person seemed and what a good idea they made (insert bad decision here) seem like at the time? Yeah, well marathon runners are a lot like these people.
Now back to my conversation with Jess, when I posed the marathon question to her, she responded very excitedly in one breath with a, “Great, you are going to run the marathon. This is amazing. I know just the one for you…California International Marathon. I have run it a bunch of times. I know every nook and cranny of this course and it is so much fun. I am going to get started right now on a plan for you. We are about 5 months away from you big race so no time to waste. This is so great and I am so proud of you.”
As I sat on the other line, I went through several emotions. The first was confusion. Did I say I was going to run the marathon? I thought I said how would one train for the marathon? At no point did I remember using any first person language. Then I thought well maybe I could try this running thing out for a while to appease my friend and then miraculously after week one, injure myself to never run again? Then by the end of her sentence, I thought, “Hell yeah, I am going to do this and I am going to win it.”
So the story starts to unfold.