As you all know, I signed up for my first marathon this year. And ever since before I signed up, ever since I thought that I was possibly going to sign up for it, I've been extremely nervous about it. My marathon is in October of this year. My official training doesn't start until June.
I've signed up for 3 half marathons this year just for some extra training. The first was the Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio (Yes, I do live in Chicago). I completed that run and had a PR of 2:14:11 (9 mins ahead of my best time!). The 2nd half this year will be in a small town of Plano, Illinois. My Aunt and Uncle live there and I can spend the night before at their house. I just registered for this run and it's on June 5th. The cost was only $35 and I figured that I couldn't beat that! Half Marathons generally cost over $70. Then the last half marathon I registered for this year is the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon in Chicago in August. This is the half marathon I run every year.
Then the BIG run, the Chicago Marathon. To say I'm nervous is an understatement! I'm terrified actually. But I'm just going to do my training and hope my feet and knees hold up.
Before I started running half marathons and before I lost any weight at all, my friend (that I started running 5k's with) was doing the Chicago Marathon. This must have been 2005. I was going to meet up with her at mile 13.1 just to run a few miles with her for support. I was not a registered runner. I was just a spectator." With the way the Chicago Marathon is laid out, if you don't get out of the middle of the run by maybe mile 17, then you are stuck with it. It continues WAY south and then back north to the finish. So as I was helping my friend run, I had to make a decision by mile 17. I could stop at that mile and wish her luck, or continue running the entire second half with her.
Well, she was hurting by mile 17, tired, exhausted. And since she was running fairly slow and also walking, I could keep up with her pace just fine. I decided to help her finish. And I'm glad I did. By mile 19-20, she started crying and said she couldn't finish! I told her she could! Let's just walk a little. You will be fine. Just keep going!
At the end of the run, I moved out of the way and let her cross the finish. I wasn't registered and didn't want to cross the finish line. She has repeatedly thanked me since that day for helping her finish. She said she doesn't know if she couldn't do it without my support. I'm sure she would have found the determination to finish somewhere (she had family and friends cheering at certain mile markers), but I feel glad that I could help.
Also, that day gave me the strength and knowledge that I could do a half marathon. Because I did! It was an unofficial half and I didn't time myself, but I did do 13.1 miles! Well, 5 half marathons in, my times have moved from 2:55:55 (first half in 2006) to 2:14:11 (last half in April 2011).
I'm not running with anyone for the Chicago Marathon. I'm solo. For my first official half, I ran with someone the whole way and feel if not for her, I wouldn't have made it! So my goal is to have a support group. I need to make sure some friends and family come to support me along the way. I'm going to need it.
I'm trying to convince my cousin's husband Nick (aka Mr. Anonymous) to run the second half with me like I did with my friend Nelly. Nick started running 1.5 years ago and is doing great! The longest run he has ran is a 10k, but he is getting the itch to do a half. I thought, this will be perfect because he won't have to register, I will be running extremely slowly at that point and he can support me!! I'll keep you posted on this! I'm also going to recruit some additional people to have between mile 19-26!! I'm going to need it!! (Oh, I said that already!!). Well, it's true!
So, who are the marathoners that I would like to congratulate? Dave from Experience Life (read about Dave's Marathon experience here) and Jodi from Run, Jodi, Run (read about her 2011 Marathon experience here). You both showed incredible strength and determination! Congratulations to both of you! You inspire me (and make me even more terrified!). Haha! And it was eerily weird reading both of these reports because they ran together and it was almost like they were written together! But it was fun to get both perspectives on what happened that day!
And congratulations to the millions of other runners out there that do crazy things like running 26.2 miles for the shear fun of it!! (Crazy people!!) :-)