Thursday, December 24, 2009

26.2 miles = marathon

wow! i remember when i thought 26.2, a marathon distance, was next to impossible until i actually did one. let me take you back to the mid 90's for a moment when i was working as a fitness consultant for baycare health systems. i was working a late shift one night, which was rare for me, since i'm such an early bird. Not many people were around, so i began straightening up all the magazines and came across a runner's world magazine. as i began thumbing thru it, i saw a pretty, one page ad for the 5th annual disney marathon. something about that ad caught my attention so i neatly ripped it out of the magazine, took it home, and stuck it up on the refridgerator. i had decided at that moment that i would give myself 6 months to train for this "next to impossible" event. at this particular time, my longest run was about 5 miles and an average pace of 9-10 min/mi. i kept the training plan simple, add 5-10 minutes to my long run each weekend and by gosh, it worked. instead of focusing on mileage, i focused on time and knew that if i could be on my feet running for at least 4 and a half hours that i could do this marathon. i can remember on many occasions, after doing my long run, sitting with ice on both knees. they weren't injured, they just weren't used to all this new found pounding.

january 11, 1998 - orlando - disney marathon
one of the best experiences of my life. period. i wasn't that fast, but finished in a respectable time of 4:08 and i remembered thinking as i crossed the finishline, that i could have kept on running another 10 miles if need be. and that's all she wrote, i was hooked!

next marathon needed to be more challenging so san fran here i come. that entailed running up and down parking garages in downtown tampa for hours on end and it worked like a charm. ran that marathon in 4 hours...and that was with hills! getting a little faster now.

qualified for my first boston marathon at disney in 1999 with only about 30 seconds to spare. it was never in my plan to qualify but it happened and i was happy, happy. as soon as i got home, i was making the travel plans and filling out my application for boston. as a side note, i've been fortunate enough to run 3 more boston's. overall, my goal for any marathon i run now is to run it in a qualifying time regardless of whether i decide to go to boston that year or not.

i saw a funny shirt the other day and it read, Oh, you ran a marathon? that's cute! and then it had a swimmer/cyclist/runner and the number 140.6 underneath it. sure made me feel like a loser : )

hope everyone has a wonderful christmas eve.
much love and peace out!

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