Earlier this year I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh – my first ever full marathon. This week I officially began my training. I thought this topic a good one for reinvigorating the blog…
As a kid, I never did anything active that would be considered a sport. That’s not to say I sat on my butt all day and played video games or the like – I partook in and enjoyed bike riding, swimming, rope jumping, and other non-competitive, casual examples of exertion. But other than a brief stint in dance class pre-puberty and height spurt, my participation in any sort of organized athletics was null. As a teenager, though obsessively motivated to achieve straight A’s, I was fairly apathetic about any such school or other involvement required of something like playing soccer or running track. I much preferred to do what was necessary to keep the report card gleaming, and fill the rest of my time with debaucherous things that I’ll refrain from recapping. As far as exercise goes, I can quite vividly picture the first time I decided that I was going to try running (I was 17-ish) and the near death feeling I experienced after a 1/4 mile. I also recall a time toward the end of high school when my BFF and I decided that in an effort to prepare for college and the possible weight gain, we should work to maintain our size 0 bodies by eating lettuce for lunch and walking 4-5 miles at night. Fitness just wasn’t my jam.
Then came college. I’m not sure what the primary instigator was – free fitness center at my complex, ever present fear of packing on pounds, general boredom – but I suddenly took an interest in working out. Sure it was low level stuff – 30 minutes at the gym a few days a week – but it was certainly more regular exercise than I had ever gotten in my life, and I kind of liked it. Then came friends. As in I made new ones. And they also had taken an interest in using their free apartment complex gym. I began spending nearly all my free time over at their place, and that time consisted mostly of calculus homework, gym visits, and pre-gaming while we whorified ourselves for a trip to the club. Looking back, I’d strongly argue that that time in my life was when I became conscious of the fact that I’m perhaps more competitive than the average Jane. Not because of the calculus homework – I was already used to being better at school. And nobody (hopefully) wants to win the drunk college hooker competition. No, it was the working out that brought to the surface this shining quality of mine where I feel perversely good about crushing others. I could run faster and longer than my friends. And I loved every minute of it.
A year or so later I met Pete, who also had an interest in running, and over the next few years of college we kept at it together, going perhaps as far as five miles at a time – nothing serious, but enough to feel sufficiently worked out. After college, as we started our “adult” lives, moves, job changes and other things that happen when you’re trying to establish yourself as a proper grown up, sometimes trumped running and it moved up and down the priority list. But it never totally left. I can remember the first time I ran six miles – it was while we were living in Carrboro, with a local running group called the Runnegades. It was tough and painful and awesome, and I was absurdly sore the next couple days. My first seven miler was sort of an accident in that I only intended to run 3.5 to a place where I expected some friends to be that could drive me home. They weren’t there. Back I ran. After that I was pretty much all in and with a number of 5K’s, 10K’s and half marathons under my belt, there’s only one logical next step (or steps! 26.2 miles of them!).
I’ve thought about and talked about running a full marathon for a long time, and I’m excited as hell and totally freaked out that it’s finally going to happen. Sunday, April 13th, 2014 is a going to be a pretty damn big day for me and I just hope with all my powers of positive energy that everything goes okay. Of course okay is relative and I’m tempering my expectations for this because I haven’t the slightest clue what it feels like to run for so long. So the goal is this: finish. Okay, okay, I maybe secretly have a more specific goal in mind, but I don’t like to talk about those things because my competitiveness is married to a general distaste for failure, and if I publicly announce a time and don’t beat it, I’ll feel quite awful.
Week one in the books! 21 weeks and a giant pile of running to go.