The Marathon

I started running back in 2012. It was really out of necessity. I was two kids in and could not run after them at the park when they took off on me. It was pathetic. It was also the cheapest thing I could do to get in shape and didn’t take a lot of time out of my already busy day.

Fast forward 8 years. I’ve run three half marathons, a handful of 10ks and many 5ks. And then the pandemic hit and I stopped running. (Okay, so I shouldn’t really blame the pandemic – several other things happened like a major depressive episode, my dad moving into a retirement home and a busy life with three kids). But suffice it to say, I got lazy. And soft.

One afternoon while sitting on my front lawn with my neighbors for a “physically distanced drink” my girlfriend texted me about having to walk her London marathon virtually and asked me to join her for a portion of it. I was a glass or three in when I wrote “I’ll do it all with you!”

So I started going for more walks to train. I started walking 10 km once a week to work and it felt good. About once a week I force myself out for a run, which is really mostly walking with some running. Every October where I live there is a big race and this year it went virtual, of course. The race organizers offered a deal where you can sign up for all four distances (5 km, 10 km, 21.1 km and 42.2 km) with the stipulation that you have to complete them during the month of October. Participants can run or walk the distances.

So, I signed up for all four races. I mean, it’s just walking, right? Can’t be that hard, and I figured I would run a little too. It was the motivation I needed to get my ass off the couch and exercise

The 5 km and 10 km races were easy. Not my best times to be sure, but that was to be expected given how lazy I’ve been all year.

I set out for the half marathon two weekends ago. By 12 km I started flirting with the idea of just doing the marathon. It had been weighing on my mind a lot. I was rightly scared of the distance and as I imagined finishing the half marathon I realized that I might not want to start over again another day to do the full. So after some back and forth texting with my husband who was at home with our 3 kids, I decided to seriously consider doing the marathon.

And I did!!!

The second half was grueling. My brother and his wife met me around 30 km and walked 4 km with me. The distraction was exactly what I needed because by then my hips started to hurt, the blisters on my heels were burning and I was feeling defeated. At 40 km I started texting my husband to meet me. I tried running a little because that didn’t hurt nearly as much as walking did.

And then I looked at my watch and saw it.

I became a marathoner.

And I’m pretty sure I will do it again. But maybe in a year.

To A Marathoner.

My friend ran her first marathon today in Chicago. I’ve been following her training over the past 19 weeks and have been completely in awe of her. Her determination, perseverance and dedication is to be commended. She crushed her expected finishing time by 7 minutes.

I have been giddy with excitement for her all day.

When I started running 2 years ago, I’m not sure I even knew what a marathon distance was, let alone have any desire to run one! So tonight I wanted to honor my friend somehow. There’s no way I could ever run for as long as she did today but I felt I had it in me to try for a personal best for her.

I headed out for a 5km run. I pushed myself and gave it my all. I tried to run a sub-35 minute 5km but fell short by 45 seconds.

I’ve run 10km four times since July. Every single one was hard, but the last one felt different. I ran it 4 minutes faster (1:14:13) than the first time (1:18:20). I didn’t feel like everything hurt the next day. I actually felt stronger than ever before.

The very thought of running 42.2km has always seemed a little crazy to me. But suddenly half that distance doesn’t seem all that far. Maybe in a few years it might even be possible.

Never say never.

So to my friend GK, I say THANK YOU for inspiring me to keep going 1 kilometer at a time.

The Road to 10K

Bad blogger.  It’s 13 days into November and this is my first post of the month.  I have had a bit of a writer’s block, struggling to come up with a catchy phrase or topic to write about.  It’s not for lack of interesting cases coming through my office door or hilarious antics from my children.

I’ve been focussed on work and on running.

I haven’t written about running in a while.  Back in September, I developed some lateral knee pain which most of my running friends told me was probably related to a tight IT band.  They were right!  I saw a physiotherapist and after a few sessions and advice on changing my running gait, the pain disappeared and I was back on track.  I continued to run intervals of 5:1 and got my 5K down to about 35 minutes.

Then I saw a patient who is a marathon runner and we talked about running.  He suggested that I run for time, not distance. His feeling was that if I learn to run for 45 minutes, eventually the distance will come.  It was an interesting challenge. I was curious to see if I could run for 20 minutes without stopping.  So one night in October, I had only about 20 minutes to run, so I went out and did it.  The next run was 25 minutes, and the one after that was 30 minutes.  Boo ya!  I could do it!  Damn, those runs felt great.

Then Plaguetober hit and I got into a running rut. I went almost 8 days without running and boy, was I feeling sluggish.  It took a few runs to get back into it and I hadn’t felt the soreness and stiffness in my legs for a while. I didn’t like that feeling.   I had dropped a good 6 lbs from the stomach flu, so I was keen to get back to work and keep those extra pounds off.  However, with a recent mini-vacation away to celebrate my mother’s 72nd birthday, I don’t think that was a realistic goal!  (haha!)

Anyway, I was ready for a good run.  I mapped it out in my head and my goal was 6km.  And I did it by running  6-7 minute intervals (with 1 minute walk breaks).  I can’t describe the euphoric feeling when I looked at the MapMyRun app and saw that I finished 6.2km in 44 minutes.  YES!!!  I am by no means anywhere close to that marathoner but for me, having never run before, and basically getting up off the couch to 6km in 4 months is something I am beyond proud of.  Having my daughter ask me, “Mommy, are you going out for a run?”  – well, it’s the best thing in the world.

My brother asked me recently what my goal was.  A marathon?  I told him I had no set goal in mind.  I am just running to keep healthy and feel good.  But the more I think about it, the more I think I’d like to be able to say I can run 10k.  Maybe when I reach that goal, I’ll say that I want to run a half-marathon.  I don’t know.  All I do know is that I’m just going to run.