The idea of running a marathon was always a life goal for me. One of many tasks on my own personal bucket list. I believe it was somewhere in between climbing a mountain and becoming a fire fighter. For many, completing a 26.2 mile run seems like a taunting task. What would possess a person to try and tackle such a distance? For some, the very idea of running itself can be downright scary! Others incorporate it into their very lifestyle.
In my personal story, my love of running started at an early age when I learned how to play soccer. I was never the fastest runner, or the most skilled. I always considered myself as somewhere in the middle of the pack. Not the best, but not the worst either. What I lacked in speed and skill, I made up for in pure determination and effort. I always gave it 110% on the field. This kind of attitude stuck with me in all my future sport endeavors. Whether it was at tryouts for a high school team, physical fitness tests applying to a fire department, or putting in some time at the gym, as long as I knew I gave it my best effort, I was happy regardless of the outcome.
I ran my first marathon on June 19th, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I had known a few people from my hometown who had entered it before and they always talked about what an experience it was. Many people I asked recommended that a half marathon would be good first attempt at long distance running. I, however, have the “go big or go home” mentality with personal challenges so I chose the full marathon.
I gave myself plently of time to train. Over 6 months to be exact! I only had one goal for the marathon. Finish it. I didn’t care about what place I finished, nor the time I posted. Simply crossing the finish line was victory enough for me. Correction, being physically able to cross the finish line on my own was my goal. I had to remember that there were the rare occasions where participants actually died while running a marathon!
The training itself was harder than the actual run. Being disciplined enough to keep a schedule of running days was a challenge, and granted I didn’t actually follow an official ”marathon for beginners” rulebook. I read a lot about what to eat, how to train and the preparation that was both physically and mentally, but never stuck to a single schedule or training plan. I learned rather quickly that I had to make a training schedule that fit my own life. My training was always adapting and changing, but it never stopped.
Some weeks were spent outdoors running, while others were in a gym on a treadmill. I had a simple goal with every training day. Run a little longer and further each time. Baby steps were the key, I never tried to make huge leaps with distance, just short increments each time. If I ran 9 miles one day, the next day I would shoot for 9.5 miles and so on. Every training day was a new accomplishment. Each new mile was one more closer to 26.2! I assumed if I kept up this routine, how hard could 26.2 miles be?