I Am a Marathoner? – Part 1 (The Backstory Chapter)
I can honestly say that I still don’t really know what it’s like to run a marathon. To me, a marathon is a super fun race down closed city streets. This was not that. This was more of a hike-a-thon (for me at least – some people ran their butts off).
I knew what I was getting into. This was definitely not a surprise.
(Note: In the story that follows it may sound as though I regret my decision or blame other people. I don’t. I made the choice to run a trail race, and knew what I was getting into. I was just crazy, to say the least.)
(And it barely feels like a marathon. But technically, I finished 26.2 miles. I am a marathoner with a medal and all… even if it was more of a hike.)
A few weeks ago, my parents and I were talking about my first marathon, which I was planning on running in Seattle this upcoming weekend. My mom started trying to convince me to fly to Ohio so my parents could see my first full marathon. We looked at marathons, schedules, and such. Really the only one we could make work was the Mohican Marathon.
We talked back and forth for probably two hours before settling on it. I knew it was most likely a bad idea. I said I hate trails. They make my whole body ridiculously uncomfortable. I knew that you can’t watch a trail marathon from nearly as many places as you can a road marathon. Somehow my mom kept putting a positive spin on it, and I was convinced. Sort of.
Even after I’d been “convinced,” and plane tickets had been bought, and I’d paid the registration fee, I still called my dad at least every other day. “Daddy, I don’t know if I should do it. It’s a trail.” “Daddy, I’ll be at least twice as slow, maybe even more.” “I’ll be a crankypants, complaining about the awful feeling of the dirt beneath my feet.”
I tried to appeal to my dad instead of my mom mainly because he knew firsthand. He’d been with me at the Rose Bowl Half Marathon in Pasadena, and I texted him on the trail portion. “This is torture.” I sprained my ankle that day! I hate trails.
I know I’m a grown up and all, so I could’ve done whatever I wanted. I don’t know why I was sort of seeking permission not to do it. It was a struggle within myself more than anything. I loved the idea of a 36-hour time limit. (It was so generous due to the concurrent 100 mile race. I loved the idea of my family being there. But I hated the idea of being on all that uneven, dirt surface. For 26.2 miles.)
(I know, I sound like an awful person who hates nature. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Definitely more hate than love when it comes to running.)
My dad was supportive. “Sweetheart, if you don’t want to do it, don’t do it. You can pick another one.” But I couldn’t bring myself to do that. My parents really wanted to be at my first one. And with the crazy half marathoning schedule I have, in order to give my legs any chance, I had to do one in the summer. (The fall is slammed.) And I didn’t want Disney to be my race my first marathon ever. (It’s right for some people, and that’s super cool. But it is not right for me.)
So, I sucked it up and flew to visit my parents. As you know from yesterday, I didn’t sleep at all on the plane.
I landed in Columbus, and jumped in the van. My dad drove me, my mom, and my Grandma up to Loudonville. I didn’t try to sleep in the van. Sometimes a 40-minute sleep is worse than no sleep at all.
I went in and got my bib. This is one of the few races where people can say, “Oh, I’m only doing the marathon.” Most of the time, the marathon is the longest distance. Today it was the shortest.
We made it to Loudonville with just enough time for me to get my bib on, stretch a little, and get to the start line.
You could tell I was exceptionally tired because even with all my bib pinning practice this year, I put it on way to high at first. Declining motor skills – check. Excellent day for a trail race!
And this is where I will pick up tomorrow.