Running a Marathon
Updated: Sep 6, 2020
I confess I'm no athlete. I can't catch the ball, I can't throw the ball, I can't hit the ball with a 3-wood. I'm a bit overweight and rather slow. When I believe I'm "running," I appear to others to be "jogging"—or maybe even "lumbering," "shuffling," or "fast-walking." (Look, that morning the lady pushing her baby in a stroller passed me up, I hadn't eaten a good breakfast, okay?)
So I surprised myself a few years ago when I decided to train for and complete a marathon. Hmm. 26.2 miles. Because just 26 miles wouldn't be challenging enough, I suppose. I don't really know what I was thinking. I guess maybe I just wanted to see if I could do it. Running a marathon seemed like an appropriately formidable—and perhaps even unattainable—goal. A bucket list thing, you know?
The infamous "wall" hits most marathoners around Mile 19-20, and lasts for several miles. I look pretty zonked out here at Mile 20, in this picture from the 2016 Chevron Houston Marathon.
So to date, I've prepared for and finished three marathons. In hindsight, I feel like I made a great decision to become a marathoner. Yes, the marathon is challenging. Yes, it's rewarding. Yes, I learned a lot about myself. But what surprised me the most is becoming a marathoner is a lot of fun! Here are some reasons why:
During the 4-5 months of training leading up to Marathon Day, you can eat pretty much whatever you want and not gain weight.
Most people are very supportive as you prepare. They might think you're a little crazy, they might have doubts whether you can really do it, but they support you anyway!
The whole process of training is like solving a series of puzzles. How are you going to convince your body to run all those training miles (more than 200)? When will you find the time to train? How will you stay hydrated during those training runs? Solving the puzzles is very enjoyable.
Elation has set in around Mile 25 during the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon. No doubt, I'm thinking about that cup of frosty chocolate milk I'm going to be enjoying in a few minutes!
Marathon Day is like a celebration! Random spectators are cheering for you, encouraging you, helping you feel like a hero. After several hours of amazing positive reinforcement like that, you cross the finish line pumping your fist like a rock star! You did it! You did it! Way to go!
At the finish of the 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon. My back, hips, and legs are screaming in pain in this picture. The incongruous goofy grin is a result of the soothing endorphin bath my brain is enjoying.