Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Ran A Marathon!

Heading into mile 9
Last Sunday I finished the Walt Disney World Marathon. It took me 5 hours and 58 minutes to complete the course, but it took me four years to finish a marathon. Completing a marathon was on my list of things to do before I turned 30. I first registered and trained for the 2009 race. That time I was officially sidelined by a dislocated knee cap a couple of weeks before the race, but the reality was I got married that fall and would have been severely undertrained if I had actually made it to the start line. The next year, I started a PhD program and moved to Michigan. I soon realized that the workload of the program and cold weather did not make marathon training realistic. I gave up before registering and kind of gave up on my marathon goal. 

In 2010, I ran two half marathons and really realized how much I enjoyed running. However, I was still in grad school and living in the cold, so training for a marathon, especially one that takes place in January, was not really an option. In May of this year, I began to ramp up my running and things started to fall into place. I moved to Richmond the beginning of July and started training. As I discussed a few months ago, I was hesitant to commit to the race because of my previous training difficulties and I didn’t want to fail again. While I was following my training plan, I didn’t sign up for the race until late October when it was a now or never decision. I am so happy I signed up and did the race. I was amazing. 

The other thing I enjoy about races at Disney is the congratulations you get from both cast members and other runners after the races. It gives you a chance to celebrate your accomplishment and have some fun at the same time. When I ran the Richmond half marathon earlier this year, we got our medals, stopped for coffee, and then went home and it was a weekend just like any other. We normally spend a day or two at the parks after the race and it is nice to have someone congratulate you. If people wouldn’t think I was crazy, I would still be wearing that medal. 

I am not setting any speed records, but every race I finish and every new PR gives me a little more confidence in myself. Before the race, I picked up a ribbon that is supposed to be a bracelet, but I wore in my hair during the race. It says, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” It was not that long ago that I thought running a marathon was impossible. Now I need to decide what other impossible things I can accomplish. 

I’ll post a full race report in a day or so.