I love reading running blogs to hear about different goals and motivators runners have. I’m always struck that while running brings us together, it’s a very personal journey. Recently I read a really interesting post from Deborah at Confessions of a Mother Runner about why she does not want to run a full marathon. I can totally understand her points. I’ve put a lot of thought into my decision to run a marathon, and my pros and cons are different. One of the reasons Deborah gave for not running a marathon is because she loves running so much and doesn’t want running to become a chore, as in, “Ugh, I have to run 15 miles this weekend.” That was really interesting to me because one of the biggest reasons I want to run a full marathon is the same reason Deborah doesn’t–because I love running so much!
I’ve done the Hanson’s half-marathon plan twice, so I know very well that I’m in for a very tough 18 weeks of training. But at the same time, I’m so excited thinking about running 45-50 miles a week. I know that those 10-mile, early-morning runs before work will be ridiculously tough, but I also know the feeling of accomplishment and pride I’ll get from them. I love that while the most taxing thing most people do before work is brushing their teeth, I’m out there for nearly two hours gutting it out. Yes, I can run 50 miles in a week and 10 miles before work whenever I want and don’t need to train for a marathon to do that. But while we runners think going to bed at 8 p.m. on a Friday night to start a Saturday long run at 5 a.m. to beat the heat is normal, my non-running husband, family, and friends think it’s crazy. Plus, I can’t just run 50 miles a week on a whim. I’d need to ensure I’m eating well, hydrating properly, sleeping enough, and doing all the injury prevention things I do like stretching, foam rolling, and strength training for the whole week. So ,for me, marathon training is a good excuse to put running first and run as much as I want.
It’s not just the training I’m excited about. I’m also really excited about running the 26.2 distance. I’ve never run more than the half marathon distance. What will it be like to hit the 18-mile mark, then the 20, then the 24? What state will my body be in? And what about my emotional state? I may love it or I may hate it, but I’ll never know until I try. A marathon is a new distance challenge that I’m excited to tackle.
While I’m looking forward to starting training at the end of this month for my November 6 marathon (a small, local race on a rails-to-trails course), I’ve been also making sure I wisely use my time before training starts. I’m calling this the Season of Fun Jennifer. Yes, getting up early on a weekend to do a long run with friends is fun. For me. But not for my husband who wants me to go out for drinks on Friday night. Or friends who want us to come over their house for a night of drinking around their firepit. So the Season of Fun Jennifer is really about my making running less of a priority and putting other parts of my life first. Because that’s really my only con to marathon training–not having time to do all the other things.
One of my big goals for this year was finding a good balance between running and everything else. I’ve said before, but I can get pretty obsessive when I’m into something. This year I wanted to lose some of that single-mindedness and focus also on having the time for social things as well as more mundane things like doing things around my house and yard. I remember that Hanna from the Millennial Next Door said that she finds balance seasonally. When she’s training, running comes first, but in the periods between training, she focuses on other things. That’s pretty much what I’ve done this year, and it’s been working really well for me.
So lately I’ve been saying yes. Yes to happy hour on a Tuesday. Yes to having as many drinks as I want (which, admittedly, is like three max because I have such a low alcohol tolerance!) Yes to snacking on Swedish Fish, Twizzlers, and other candy that I know is so bad for me. Yes to going out to dinner during the work week. Yes to sleeping in a bit and starting weekend runs late. I know I’ll be saying no to all of these and more once training starts, but for now I’m saying yes.
The other thing I’ve been doing is de-cluttering, cleaning, and organizing my house. Last training cycle, I was really frustrated that I had so little time to clean and had a messy house. So now I’m deep-cleaning rooms and closets, getting rid of clutter and things I don’t truly love, and trying to get things as organized as possible.
I’ve also been doing the same thing to the outside. I’ve been weeding and cleaning our back yard, where we spend a lot of time in summer. I bought and planted a bunch of veggie plants–two types of tomatoes, two types of peppers, romaine lettuce, kale, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, basil, cilantro, and catnip for my cats.
The other thing I’ve been doing is drafting my race schedule. I’d like to do races as training runs. Because I tend to have a lot of anxiety over races, I think using them as training runs will be good to both help me lessen anxiety as well as get in my long runs. I’ll wait to register until I get my final training plan from my Hansons’ coach. My plan will be based on the Hansons’ beginner marathon plan but modified for me specifically. In the meantime, I did register for the marathon itself. I’m full of !!!! when I see this!
I’ve actually been planning to run a full marathon for two years and have spent these last two years building a foundation. The time is almost here! Can I say how excited I am any more without being completely annoying? Until then, the Season of Fun (and Cleaning) Jennifer continues.