Two years ago today, October 6, 2013, I ran my first full marathon in Portland, OR.
I don’t know what made me want to run a full marathon; maybe it’s just a natural thing to occur after running for a few years but I got it in my head I wanted to run the Portland marathon so I set out to do so. I hired a running coach and joined a running group to help motivate and keep me accountable for those extremely early, long, hot summer morning training runs. That is definitely the best thing I did. I truly believe hiring a running coach helped prevent me from overtraining and becoming injured like I have done in the past for half marathons. If I had printed out a training schedule from the internet, I would’ve tried my very best to run each day just as it was laid out in the plan. But we all know that things don’t always go according to plan. There are injuries, sick days, travel plans, work, school, etc. that come into play and my running coach, Lisa Menninger, was so great at helping me navigate those outside stressors.
“There’s no better feeling in the world than starting off thinking you can’t do something and you do it anyway.” – Dolvett Quince, Biggest Loser
Since I had struggled with some knee injuries in the past, I was not sure I could make it through marathon training but I knew I had to try. And surprisingly, my training went better than expected and I successfully completed the marathon.
I love my medal!
Training for a full marathon takes a lot of time, hard work, and dedication. I was in graduate school at the time and had just started my sports nutrition internship with the University of Utah athletics department so I had a lot going on. But I actually ended up really enjoying the challenge of training and the accomplishment I felt after a long run. I remember driving home early one weekend a few weeks after the marathon and I saw someone out running and I actually thought to myself “I miss those early morning training runs”. And then I couldn’t believe I even thought that! I mean, I LOVE to sleep! LOL. But there is something great about getting up before the sun and hitting the pavement. It was also great because my running group met at the same location every Saturday morning and we would see other runners out training as well. There was something comforting about seeing the same faces every Saturday morning. These are people I had never met or spoken with but we would smile and wave as we passed each other on the path.
My most memorable training run was when I was out running 20 miles one Saturday morning. It was hot and the route was open and sunny. Around mile 18, I was trying to decide if I should call it a day or keep going for the full 20. At that point, a man and his son rode by on their bikes and I heard the son say, “Dad, is she running?” and the dad replied, “No, she’s just jogging… taking her time jogging.” Ouch. Dagger to the heart. 1. I can hear you! 2. I am just trying to stay upright at this point, don’t judge me! It’s fun to laugh about now though.
I am so grateful for my aunt Lynn who went with me to Portland and cheered for me during the race. She was also a lifesaver after the race when I could barely get back up after sitting or laying down. She let me lay in bed most of the day and she would run out and bring food back to our hotel room.
Must elevate the legs! Ouch. My body was hurting.
“I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible” – John Hanc
I read a lot of running books leading up to the marathon including:
These guys were running ULTRA marathons, which means they were running marathon+ distances for training runs! Talk about good inspiration to help with my mindset during marathon training. It is always good to read inspiring stories about others who are doing far more than I could ever imagine doing. It helps to put things into perspective.
I learned so much about myself, my determination, and my physical abilities during marathon training. I am so thankful I went through that experience. And now, two years later, I guess the memory of the pain has passed because I am signed up for my second full marathon – Big Sur Marathon in California in April of next year. I am in a new state, a new city, a new apartment, and a new job this time around. And I will be training throughout the winter for a spring marathon versus training throughout the summer for a fall marathon. That might be a struggle since I am currently residing in Minneapolis, MN. I have already spoken to a running coach that I think will be wonderful in helping me train and I have been looking into running groups that get together in the dead of winter. I believe I will need some group motivation to get my butt out of bed during freezing cold temperatures this winter. Stay tuned for those training updates!
Of course I love this image because I’m a runner and a dietitian! But really I just love quotes, images, cute gift ideas, etc. that are running related or not.
Any running/inspiration books you recommend?