Last year, when I signed up for my first half marathons, I didn’t really tell anyone outside of my running friends. Mike made sure everyone knew, bringing it up in conversations with friends. “Guess what Kerri’s doing?” It made me nervous to have so many people know about my plan. What if I was the last one to cross the finish line? What if I failed? As the weeks of training passed, I became more confident in my ability, trusting that I would definitely finish. As I am less than a month away from my third half, it is time to find that faith in myself again.
A friend and I applied for the New York Marathon Lottery. The odds of getting in were slim, but it seemed like a good chance to let fate decide if we were ready to run a full marathon.
“Do you think you’ll get in?” Mike asked before the drawing.
“Probably not. There are a lot of names in the lottery.”
Prim said the same thing,” he reminded me.
On the day of the drawing, I left the NYRR site open on my computer, checking it every so often. By the end of the day, we were officially told that we were not among the nine percent of entrants who won a spot in the marathon. We both thought we would be relieved. Instead, we were both disappointed and began looking at other marathons, deciding on Philadelphia. It’s flat and is known for a fun atmosphere. After texting about it for a day, we decided to register. We decided to be geeks and also order marathon training shirts.
We researched training plans, deciding on a twenty-week plan the seemed quite manageable. Perfect timing aligns the training of the half and full marathons; the day we complete the half begins the training for the full.
Even though I have a training plan, paid for the race, and booked a hotel, it still does not seem real. Based on my half marathon times, I should be able to complete the full in six and a half hours. However, my goal is simply to finish. Registration requests a six-teen minute mile pace, but people went over that in last year’s results. I know I can do that.
I am still wondering why I thought this was a good idea. Here are my best thoughts:
To prove to myself that I can. Each time I do something out of my comfort zone, the feeling of accomplishment makes me want more experiences.
Never did I envision me as a runner. As a chubby kid who preferred sitting and reading books, I had panic attacks over gym class, especially when the Presidential Physical Fitness testing time rolled around. To make matters worse, my maiden name began with an A, making me the first kid to have to attempt each activity. The class stood around watching me try to complete sit-ups or pull-ups. It was humiliating and stress-inducing.
I want to prove to myself that I can set and meet seemingly impossible goals.
I want Liam to see that I can reach difficult goals. He is my cheerleader. He writes me notes of encouragement, offers encouragement, and celebrates successes with me. I want him to see the value of setting goals and working to reach them.
Today, we took Liam to the Boston Museum of Science, his reward for a stellar report card. Because the Boston Marathon is next week, they were offering a bunch of marathon-related activities. Liam was able to learn how bib chips work. I was excited to see a presentation called “How to Train for a Marathon.” When we went back to the area for the session, the gentleman leading the session, Rick Murh, was there and came over the chat.
“What made you decide to go for the full marathon?” he asked me.
“I signed up for the New York City Marathon lottery. I thought I would be relieved when I didn’t make it in, but instead, I was sad.”
“That’s how you know you’re ready.”
Murh explained that he has trained over 20,000 people to run marathons. When people ask if they are ready, he explains, “You’ve got everything it takes but it will take everything you’ve got.”
After explaining about proper form, cadence, negative splits, he shared a secret he tells all first-time marathon runners. When people ask “What was your time?” he tells people to say, “The time of my life.” His goal is for runners to have the time of their lives.
As I transition from half marathon to marathon training, I need to remember those two pieces of perspective.