Members of Team SJS just minutes before the start of the 2010 Fox Cities Half Marathon!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How many miles are in a marathon?

It's official, summer is halfway over!  My dog, Toby, is horribly traumatized by last night's glorious display of our country's birthday.  No, he wasn't with us at the park, but the full evening of fireworks put on by the city and fellow neighbors has me wondering if he will need medication just so he can go outside to do his business from now on.  Poor thing. His constant panting and shaking and running back to the safety of the house reminds me of someone else I know.  I am into full swing marathon training now and there are days that  are filled with panting, nervous shakes and  pulling the covers back over my head to hide from the ever lurking race day.  Don't worry, Toby, I get it!  

According to the counter on my blog, I have 94 days to get ready for this thing.  And so far, things have been going...yep just that...going.  Following my training schedule has proven to be a bit more difficult than I had originally thought.  Three nights a week at the baseball diamond for my boys' games, volunteering to take on the responsibility of the concession stand, working 3 evenings a week at the salon and the unbelievable heat we have had in Wisconsin this year has only added to the difficulty of training for something of this magnitude.

My running partner, Deb, and I have also each had some physical setbacks. We have completed 2 half marathons together and have struggled with each one due to the extreme heat and humidity, not to mention the unbelievable amounts of hills in the Fort Atkinson race.  Jeez!  Oh, and we finished Green Bay this year not knowing that it had been cancelled due to the amount of runners needing medical attention along the course. We knew the heat was bad, but no one had told us that the race had been cancelled a mere 7 minutes prior to us crossing the finish line, so, as Forrest Gump would say, we just kept running. Although our times did not count that day, we knew what we had conquered on that course.  

Deb had a serious scare with a bronchial spasm that brought both of us to tears and she has had it happen a few more times.  I am dealing with runner's knee in my left and an achilles tendon issue in my right ankle.  None of these things would stop us from running at this point.  Marathon training brings on a laundry list of issues that you need to deal with as you progress in miles.  People bruise and lose toenails, ice packs are a common theme and resting on a running day will mess with your head something fierce.  It's just the nature of the beast.  Without all of these things, running a marathon would  mean nothing and everyone would be doing it.  

Our long run this week was a 12 miler.  So we have a long way to go before we hit those really scary numbers like 17, 18, 19 or the big whopper 20!  And then, once we do the 20 miles, on race day we still have 6.2 more miles to go.  Just an easy 10k, right?

My friend, Jenny, asked me this week on the long run if I ever thought I would be running a marathon.  Jenny was there cheering me on the day I finished my first sprint triathlon, and I thought for sure I might die then!  But 7 years later, I have survived TENs and have 5 half marathons under my belt.  I told her that I decided to run those 26.2 miles to push my body past the point that I ever thought it would be able to go just to prove to myself that I am no longer sick.  I am no longer teetering on the edge of  having a pulse and no longer breathing.  Because, honestly, that is what scares me the most some days.  I was just too close to that edge.  One misstep, and I would have missed those baseball games, those fireworks, those moments with my husband and children that I deserve to have.  I would have caused them pain that no children or husband or mother or father or brother or friend should ever have to feel.  This marathon is about continuing to beat an illness that has won in so many other cases, but not mine.  This  marathon is carrying me farther and farther away from death's door and I for one am grateful for it.

So here I sit, resting on a scheduled run day with ice packs on both legs and a heat advisory until tomorrow night at 10 pm.  My mind is racing, doubting that I will be ready.  But I know that I won't be and that will be ok.  Very few first timers can say that they were trained well enough for the big show.  This one is for finishing, for feeling ok when it's over (because I know  I'm not going to feel real great), and for being able to put that 26.2 sticker on my car.  That's what this one's about.  Who knows, maybe one day there will be another and that one can be for everything else.

1 comment:

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