Monday, January 18, 2010

Why the marathon?

A couple of things have happened recently that have made me wonder why I want to continue to run the marathon. When my husband gave me a whole pile of gu for Christmas, my instant response was, "This will get me through at least two marathon training seasons." He gave me a look as if he was completely shocked (sidenote: does he think gu tastes so good I eat it for fun??). And when I started talking about doing Madison in the spring and actually registered for it, I again got a little gripe from my husband.

I never thought I would run a marathon. When I was younger, I was the nerdy, indoor kid - give me a book or let me practice the piano and I was happy. I could not finish the one mile run in gym class without walking. Even once I started running, I assumed I would be happy with 5k's and 10k's. I remember saying, "I know I'll never want to run a full marathon."

Fast forward to today: I've completed three fulls and am registered for my fourth. I'm planning on getting in my fifth and possibly my sixth this year as well. I don't see an end to my marathon days. Why wasn't one enough? I think there is something a tiny bit magical about the marathon. It's not just the race itself. It's the months of anticipation and planning, picturing myself crossing the finish line as I cross off all my training runs. It's the mix of fear and excitement at the start line, and knowing there are thousands of people standing around me feeling the same way. It's having those moments where I think there is absolutely no way I will be able to finish and then running one more mile. It's finding enough energy to "sprint" across the finish line.

Why do you return to the marathon?

14 comments:

Mama said...

I've been asking myself that a lot lately. The first one was to say I did it. I'm still trying to figure out why I'm training for a second. I'll let you know when I figure it out.

MCM Mama

livelaughloveandrun said...

I haven't gotten to the marathon, but I know I'll return to the half for the accomplishment. I have never felt as accomplished as when I finished my half. Also, I love the way my body feels after all of those months of training!

Jamoosh said...

Unlike shorter distances, I think the marathon distance always offers up a challenge - no matter how many you have done.

Jill said...

I like how my body feels complete and whole while on a marathon training program, it take a higher level of committment and I like that feeling. Plus, I think each marathon I run, I learn something about me that I never knew before. I love the experiences of each and every one of them.

That's great about Madison, considering you got all that GU and all, may as well use it :)!

Julie said...

That was beautifully said Heather, the last paragraph gave me goose bumps!

D10 said...

I agree with everything you said. For me, it is definitely about the journey and learning about myself.

ShutUpandRun said...

For me it's all about pushing my body and mind to limits it doesn't go to often. I also like doing something that not everyone can say they can do.

Marlene said...

Good post.

There's just something about the marathon that continues to lure me back. It's such a massive challenge that offers a feeling of such accomplishment... I have yet to find that anywhere else.

April said...

Good for you!! I've not done a full yet. I feel panicky just thinking about a full! I'm considering one in Dec of this year and hoping that I will calm down the closer it gets.
3 full marathons completed is an amazing accomplishment! Congrats!

Katie A. said...

Good question: I think I do it to keep myself sane. I love training, that's why I am always signed up for at least 2 or three full's during the year and a ton of halfs. They keep me balanced and I just love the feeling and rush you get when you finally cross the finish line and you have completed what you started. Glad you're sticking with it - the hubbs will come around :)

Mike Russell said...

Great question. I do long distance races because of the challenge. I like getting to that point of physical weakness and being able to count on my brain to carry me through. I actually love the training more than the racing!

Running Through Life said...

I haven't made it to the big show yet, but after Madison this year, I hope to be able to answer that question.

Mel-2nd Chances said...

I haven't made peace with my marathon attempt yet, and am not yet ready to cross back into that training now that I've crossed to the dark side of triathlon. Won't say never though, because like you, I'm doing many things I never thought I would too :) I'm just relieved that I don't feel I NEED the marathon like I did before.

Jeri said...

I was the nerdy kid reading a book when I was little too! I ended up being athletic in HS, but give me a book over running anyday when I was younger. I found a physical fitness test I had to do in 2nd grade, it took me 12 MINUTES to run a 1/2 mile. wow.
My reason to try to marathon is to challenge myself to do something bigger and scarier than I have ever done before. so excited! :D