When I told people I signed up for a marathon I was surprised that so many people’s first reaction was “Why?!” They thought I was crazy! I played soccer and ran long distance throughout middle school and high school so I’ve always enjoyed running. In college, I ran my school’s Holy Half Marathon every year and at that point I made a goal that I would run a marathon someday.
I work from home and in the fall I was starting to feel a little cooped up being home all the time. I needed a reason to leave my apartment. And if I’m being totally honest, I needed a reason to change out of my pajamas every day. Winter was looming and I knew that the short days would really affect my mental health if I didn’t force myself to go outside once in awhile. I knew I wouldn’t be able to motivate myself to go outside during the freezing Wisconsin winter days if I didn’t have a reason to.
It also dawned on me that I would be turning 27 in January. I had heard somewhere that age 27 is when the female body is fully developed and supposedly at its “peak.” I put that in quotes because we all know that’ can’t be true – I’d like to think optimistically that life just gets better! But it did still send me into a quarter-life-crisis and I was frantically trying to find something to do to showcase my “peak physical fitness” (hah!). And then I remembered my goal to run a marathon someday!
I looked up some marathons and ultimately decided I wanted to run a local race as my first marathon – there’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed (with your cat snuggled next to you) the night before a race! The Milwaukee marathon was the perfect fit! Since the race was in April that gave me plenty of time to figure out a training plan AND convince my husband to sign up with me. Lucky for me, I succeeded in both of those goals – although things didn’t go quite as planned. More on that later!
The training plan I selected was Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 plan. A friend had recommended it to me and I highly recommend it for anyone trying to run their first marathon. The plan was 18 weeks but the mileage increase was gradual so I never felt like any week was unattainable.
As for convincing my husband to sign up with me – well that part was also not difficult. I spent a lot of time wallowing around the apartment, hesitating about signing up because I was sad about running by myself and how much better it would be if I had company during my long runs. Logically the only solution was that he run it with me – I made sure that he came to that conclusion himself. Looking back now, signing up with him made all the difference. It was way easier to run 16 miles on a Saturday morning with him by my side!
Receiving the confirmation e-mail made the whole thing seem real. I knew at that point I couldn’t back out as long as my body could physically make it to race day. I was just praying I would be able to prepare my mind and my body for the marathon – and I would have 18 weeks to do just that. Little did I know how the 18 weeks of hard work, and at times pure exhaustion, would affect me. Stay tuned for my next post in this blog series – putting in the work!
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