Only Crazy People Run Marathons

That may be true.

But everyone’s a little crazy.

Does that mean everyone should run a marathon? No.

But CAN anyone run a marathon? Yes.

So for day 4 of my binge of post-marathon glow ranting, we will discuss how anyone can run a marathon. And the benefits that come along with it.

Seriously, I was never, ever a runner. I’m pretty sure my own parents had to hide a chuckle when I used to run the short distance from first base to second base in pee wee softball. And things never improved. When I played basketball for a rec league I’m pretty sure I NEVER made a break away for a lay up. The court was too far for me to run too fast. And I hated running. So there’s that.

I won’t re-bore you with the details of how I got hooked on running. You can read all that here (oh, and that friend who convinced me to sign up for my first 5k? coming into town this weekend…yay!).

And I’ve written plenty of posts on how moving to NYC made it impossible for someone like myself (who had had a little taste of distance running with my first half marathon and Ragnar Relay) to NOT get into the running scene. And shortly after, intrigued by the marathon.

So say you’re crazy enough to enjoy running a little bit. And you’re crazy enough to join a running group, or try a race for the first time. That’s all you need to get the itch to run a little faster or a little further somewhere down the road. And lots of recreational runners follow that pattern. They start out at 1 mile. Then 3, then 6, then 13. And sometimes the running stops there and the excuses start.

“I’m not in shape enough to run a marathon.” I certainly won’t be the first to tell you, and Runner’s World and Hal Higdon and the rest of the world won’t be the last…in order to begin training for a marathon, the recommended “base” fitness level is being able to run for at least 30 minutes straight. That’s it. If you can run a mile right now–in 15, 11, or 9 minutes. It won’t take you long to work your way up to 3 miles. And BOOM! You’re ready to start.

“My job keeps me too busy.” Ha. I didn’t have the time to waste attempting to make a pie (that I’ve successfully made 43243 times in the past) and fail last night. Twice. But there’s a burnt mess of cold pumpkin and runny egg in the dumpster outside this morning.

Any who. The only time you need to carve out to train for a marathon is time you should be carving out for yourself anyway. If you don’t have one free slot of time in the amount of 30 minutes to upwards of 3 hours in two whole weekend days to give to yourself and the great outdoors, than we need to have a conversation on the side where I tell you to quit your job because life is short and happiness is important. But that’s a lecture for another day. The bottom line is, if you want there to be time, there will be time. A friend of mine is a lawyer, whom–if his job is anywhere near as demanding as the JD’s–we can assume works 80-100 hour weeks. And he completed his first marathon two weeks ago on the very tough streets of New York (awesome job, again!). Alls you need is a weekly long run!

“I don’t have the time to train for a marathon.” How many times did quasi-jokingly chide and berate myself for using Hal’s “easiest” training plan? A lot (let’s be clear though, no marathon training plan is “easy”). But the point is, there are a million different plans out there, and if you want to you will certainly be able to find one that fits into your schedule. Marathon training does NOT need to take over your life, as so many seem to think. Over the course of the last 18 or so weeks, I still managed to travel to places like Chicago and Arkansas, make multiple trips to visit my family in Richmond, spend weekends out on Fire Island, host bachelorette parties and go to weddings, attend cooking and painting classes in the city and do every touristy thing I wanted to do. And still train for a marathon. You can too!

“I’m scared of hurting myself.” Who isn’t? But you can hurt yourself falling in the shower,  or hopping down the subway stairs, or walking down the street. But with marathon training, you’ll be less likely to injure yourself. Because you’ll be eating healthy (well, if you are good and follow a healthy running diet…not saying I did…because I didn’t) and stretching a lot and building muscle and all kinds of other health/scientific words that I don’t have the credentials to be using.

“I’m scared I won’t be fast enough and I’ll disappoint myself.” Oh hi, did you pull that excuse out of my marathonwining mind? Because I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I said to my mother on Race Day Eve when I was trying to explain why I had a stomach ache. She yelled at me. “You say you LOVEEEE to run and you love it SOOO much that you PAID MONEY to register for this race and YOU TRAINED for allll this time to run a MARATHON! Who cares how fast you do it, as long as you do it? And you will do it fast enough FOR YOU because YOU did the training!”

Or something like that. Well put mom, well put.

And you’re probably saying right now, what I said in response to her: easier said than done. But if you have the slightest twinge of desire to want to run a marathon, you are likely already a runner. And runners always compete with themselves. So whether its not getting the time you want in a 5k or 26.2 miles, the point is the challenge. So what if you don’t get the time you want? You trained and you tried and you challenged yourself to train and to try. And you can always have a rematch.

“I’m scared I won’t finish.” Again. So you don’t finish. If you were scared every single time you got in your car that your car wouldn’t make it to your destination, you’d never leave your house. But you trust your car. So trust your body. And just like sometimes your car is physically unable to keep on chugging on a certain drive for whatever tiny or gigantic reason, your body sometimes needs a tune-up, or a little juice. So you give it a rest and then give it another whirl. Don’t believe me? Ask Dori (and p.s., congrats again, Dori!).

I’m not advocating that everyyyone in the world who likes to lace up some sneaks now and then sign up for a marathon…that’s just crazy. I’m just saying if there’s something you’ve thought about trying–whether its running 26.2 miles, or going back to school, or scuba diving or attempting karaoke– but didn’t for any number of silly reasons…then try it. You’d be really, really surprised what you are capable of. And the feeling of success and achievement that comes after it? There’s absolutely nothing like it.


Your turn!

– What’s something that you did that wowed even you?

– What’s something on your bucket list that you haven’t crossed off yet? Let’s get worrrkin’ on it!


13 Responses to “Only Crazy People Run Marathons”

  1. 1 sweatpassionandtears November 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I can’t wait to be crazy!!! I guess planning on running a marathon makes me half way there.

    I am afraid I won’t finish, but that’s really only if someone comes up and knocks me in the knees Tonya Harding style.

  2. 3 Running in Mommyland November 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Oh my gosh, you just wrote exactly all the things that have been floating in my head forever!

    I just signed up for my first marathon, which is now 4 months away. I’ve always wanted to run one, but was too scared.

    Oh…and the thing about hurting yourself, not running! Just did THAT last week! Maybe I am nuts!

  3. 5 Kelly November 18, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I think running a marathon is such a HUGE accomplishment! Every time I think about the fact that I’ve done one (well, two now), I’m proud of myself. And I want to do more! They are so oddly addicting.

    • 6 marathon winer November 18, 2011 at 11:00 am

      i couldnt agreeeeee moreeee! hope your IT bands getting better so you can go into whatever you train for next feeeling gooood! but i FIRST hope you take plenty of time off. i know i plan to 🙂

  4. 7 thethinksicanthink November 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I am proud of all of my marathons, but I want one where I really blow myself away, so to speak. We shall see….

  5. 8 Carolyn December 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Funny that I should stumble onto this blog today… after seeing the Biggest Loser contestants run a marathon. Every time I watch one of those episodes, I can’t help but think I want to run a full marathon. I’ve done a half in 2009 and now think I need the next big thing to get me out of my rut. Maybe 2012 will be the year…

    • 9 marathon winer December 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      oh my goodness! i found that SO motivating after i ran my first half and was toying with the idea of a marathon. they accomplish amazing things on that show!! just goes to show, if there’s a will there’s always a way!! let me know if you end up signing up, would love to hear all about it!!

  6. 10 Long Time Marathoner December 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    After reading about 100 year old Fauja Singh finishing the marathon in Toronto in October I have been pumped up ever since. I’m 35 years younger than he is and have enjoyed running marathons since 1977. I am getting slower but that is okay because it is great fun and I love to run. So please don’t let your time dissaude you but get out on the course and enjoy it. Keep running! You meet the nicest people and get lots of good exercise.

  1. 1 Do you think you’ll do another? « Marathon Winer Trackback on November 29, 2011 at 11:29 am
  2. 2 Empire State of Mind « Marathon Winer Trackback on December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm
  3. 3 I Love All Things Marathoning! Except For Those Things I Don’t Love… « Marathon Winer Trackback on April 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm

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