There are people competing in marathons, and there are people completing marathons. The beautiful thing is, the sport is big enough to embrace all of us.
The New York Times kicked off its “mile by mile” series this week. One post a day for every mile of the New York City Marathon. Every day this series takes you on the journey of the NYC Marathon. The course. The people who run this event. The raw emotion.. This is the kind of sports journalism I love reading.
The series kicked off Monday October 8th… It’s funny that it worked out this way. Monday was also day ONE of Austin Marathon training for me. My very first 26.2! To say I’m absolutely nervous, excited, anxious, etc about the 19 (well.. nearly 18 now) weeks ahead of me would be the understatement of my life.
Every day this week I have hopped on my laptop to read the mile by mile post of the day before I head out on my training runs. It has helped fuel this first week of Marathon Training. But, lets be honest… The first few weeks of training for a Marathon are really just “base building”.. Yesterday I was putting together MY marathon training plan. The combined efforts of Hal Hidgon, and the knowlege I have about my own body I designed a plan I think will work for me.. (At least for now. The one thing I have learned from running blogs is that marathon training is designed to be tweaked as time progresses.)
I found myself really daunted by the 18.5 weeks ahead of me! My easy runs were feeling pretty easy, but the schedule was lying in front of me only going up up up up and UP. 12 jumps up to FIFTEEN. 16…18….20…
Those are big numbers… Yet none of them are nearly as big as the end goal… 26.2.… That is an ENTIRE 10k on top of the 20 miles most of us train for. The idea is to trust our bodies. Trust the training. The training mixed with the adrenaline and smart choices are ‘supposed’ to carry us through to the finish.
The reality of that really sank in Wednesday night. Yeah ok… The 10k. My already least favorite distance is now what stands between my confidence level, and a little over 18 weeks from now. I know by following a plan I can make it up to 20 miles… But the beauty of the marathon, the excitement, the fear. That thing about the marathon that keeps everyone going back is the unknown. The fact that even if you push your training to 22 or even 23 miles before race day… Those miles that haven’t been trained. Even that POINT TWO… That’s what gets you.
I was in “what the eff have I signed myself up for?!?!?!” mode.
A dear friend of mine (thank goodness for good friends where you sometimes least expect them, right?!) sat me down that night with a beer and told me to shut up, train my butt off, and do the damn thing. He also recommended a great movie to watch to light a fire under my ass, so to speak The Spirit of the Marathon. I had heard of this movie before. A lot of runners love the movie. A lot of marathon host cities play it Marathon Weekend, even.
It did just that. I watched it before bed, had awesome vivid dreams and woke up in the morning ready to dominate these next few months. I cried during the movie. I laughed during the movie. I nodded my head in understanding during the movie… Even though no one else was in my room. (You know you’re a runner when…)
Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us.
I recommend everyone who is a runner or has ever considered starting running, watches this movie. It captures the spirit of the marathon, it really does. From an elite athlete, down to a novice who has never raced before in their life.
The Spirit of The Marathon is a documentary that follows different stories of marathoners training for the Chicago Marathon in 2005.
Deena Kastor, Olympic Bronze Medal Marathoner who had a fire to win the 2005 Chicago Marathon, which would be her first major marathon win.
Daniel Njenga, World Class Marathoner from Kenya who trains in Japan. One of the all-time fastest Marathoners in the world running a personal best of 2:06:16.
Ryan Bradley, Ryan is a competitive, yet recreational marathoner who was aiming to qualify for the Boston Marathon at the 2005 Chicago Marathon.
Leah Caille, A first time marathoner who tries to make sense of her life and body through running.
Gerald Meyers, A 70 year old man training for his 5th marathon with his daughter Rona who is running her very first marathon!
Lori O’Conner, a Northwestern University Student who is taking on her first marathon after having naturally progressed from middle-distance races. She is also raising money for Genesis of Pittsburgh, the non-profit adoption agency, which matched her with a family as an infant.
When this movie ended, I was in completely awh… Yeah, there were some really cheesy parts, but it was great! The marathon. What a concept. What a challenge. It humbles and excites everyone from a brand new runner, all the way up to the world class athletes who have done it a number of times.
I was. No, I am so giddy for training now. I am confident. No, not in the sense that I’ll actually cross that finish line with any gas left in the tank… But, confident that I have the fire. I have the drive and motivation to do this.
As much as marathons are about the physical fitness, and endurance.. They also require a specific mind set. Heck, it takes a certain kind of person to even literally want to run a marathon. I mean WANT to, not just talk about doing it someday.. Getting your mind on board is 55% of the challenge! I have the right mind set now, and I am ready to make the sacrifices. This training is MINE.
Have you Watched Spirit of the Marathon? What did you think? If not, hop on over to HULU. The documentary is available for free!