The second I crossed the finish line for my first half-marathon in 2016, people started asking me, “So, when’s your marathon?” Running a half-marathon for the first time was so emotional. My family was there at the finish line. I kept telling myself to “keep it together,” but I could feel my eyes started to get watery. And from so much mental fatigue, I just let it happen. A few tears had started falling down my face: first because I was just so happy to have crossed the finish line, but second because I was laughing at myself for crying in the first place. And my niece was the cutest. I wanted to hold her, but I was so exhausted, so a photo on the ground was the safest.
I did not think I’d run a marathon.
At the end of July 2016, I did one of those Inflatable races in Madison and jammed my knee. You’d think it was because of the running — nope. It was because I slid down a slid and the ground just came up too
quickly and BOOM. My knee jammed when i hit the ground. I did some PT stretches and weights for my knee, and I was cleared to run my half-marathon at the end of August. I knew I wasn’t going to be going for a PR, but I had already signed up with my work, and we were sponsored. So I ran it, well, I walked most of it.
I definitely did not think about running a marathon then.
I’m pretty sure I had some major runner’s high in 2016, and not because I had racked up a ton of mileage, but because I was doing new things. I had signed up for 3 half-marathons. I couldn’t tell you now what possessed me to do that. I do remember that I had signed up for these right away, not realizing how close the dates were to the last two, but I was just really ready to take on the challenge. The 3rd one was in September 2016. This half-marathon went pretty well, despite the rain. The scenic route made it easy to forget how far I had left to go.
Even though I had a 4 minute PR, I still didn’t think about running a marathon.
2016 running season ended. Not a marathon thought passed through my mind. It only came up when other people would ask me about running a marathon. I had zero intentions of it. “You really want me to run 26.2 miles? I think not.”
May 2017, I ran a half-marathon by myself. And, by that I mean, I trained for it alone. I drive up there alone. I had no one waiting for me at the finish line. I grabbed lunch by myself. And drove home by myself. Any race that I do, I typically end up running by myself, even if I come with other people. I know everyone is at different places in their running journey, so I can’t expect someone to run NEXT to me the whole time. But Pewaukee, I was literally by myself. It was something new for me. Not having anyone around to celebrate. While that may seem sad and depressing, it was a really powerful feeling. Doing my absolute best with no one watching was oddly satisfying.
I still didn’t think about training for a marathon.
My 5th half-marathon was in Colorado. I did want to train to actually run it, but my friend was nervous about the altitude change, so we agreed ahead of time to walk it. This particular race didn’t have a time-limit, so it was perfect for that. I brought my camera and took some breathtaking photos in the mountains. It was amazing to have finished my 5th half-marathon, but there was also this feeling of “did I REALLY finish it?” just because we didn’t run it. It didn’t feel as much like an accomplishment as the rest of my races, but I was still really happy that we did it.
I most definitely didn’t think about training for a marathon after this.
October 2017 was the most emotional race I have ever run (even to date.) My brother-in-law’s grandma had passed and running was something he turned to. He expressed interest in running a half, so I said I would do it with him. He trained with his daughter Baylee, pushing her in the stroller every mile. He was THE ONLY one who pushed a stroller in the
half-marathon. This race wasn’t even my best time. I actually got sick half-way through it (pretty sure it was from what I had eaten the night before). So not only was there a ton of emotion from pushing through a stomach ache, but seeing my family and Chris at the finish line… I don’t think there will ever be words to describe that. This could be an entire blog post as it is, so I’ll leave you with our photo.
And, yup, you guessed it — I still didn’t think about a marathon!
This was of great surprise to a lot of people. I had finished 6 half-marathons with no intention of running a marathon. I wanted to set some more challenging
goals for 2018, but a marathon just wasn’t one of them. And I was 100% okay with this decision. It wasn’t something that weighed heavily on me. Not one bit. No one was going to make me feel guilty for not running a marathon. I decided to do Ragnar, so that was a huge step for me. And I also wanted to beat my half-marathon time. I knew I would need to change what I was doing for training. I had slacked on cross-training: whether it was weight lifting or swimming or literally ANYTHING else other than running. My friend Sarah convinced me to sign up at the Kenosha YMCA with her, so I did. I also signed up to run 2,018 miles in 2018 with my friend Sokhon as a team of 2. (So 1,009 miles a person). My highest mileage ever for a year was around 650 or so. So shooting for 1,000 scared me.
March 3rd, 2018
My first run with Kenosha Running Club. And the day my life changed — I just didn’t know it yet. I felt so accepted. The first thing I told Josh was, “I found my people.” I made more and more friends who I eventually opened up and shared my goals with:
- Running 1,000+ miles in a year
- Running Ragnar
- Getting a half-marathon PR
- Running from my house in Kenosha to my mom’s house in Racine.
I will save the anticipation — I accomplished every single one of these goals. Every Single. One.
My half-marathon was May 5th. I shaved off another 3 mins from my PR time.
I did not think about running a marathon.
Ragnar was May 18th-19th. This should really be another blog post as well. My three legs weren’t very long, but running on no sleep, and not a lot of food was challenging! I did not think about running a marathon..
Looking back, though.. the next few months is when the seeds started to get planted. I just didn’t know it yet. Throughout the next few months of making friends in KRC, I had expressed how I wanted to run from my house in Kenosha to my mom’s house in Racine — and some of my friends hopped right on board! 17 miles. It would be the longest I had ever run. Also during these few months, I was asked to do the Ragnar Trail in Sept. It would perfectly align with running to
my mom’s so I hopped on board to that too!
When the day came to run to my mom’s I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be. But there was just not any pressure to be done by a certain time. The day before, I dropped my car off at my mom’s along with everyone’s bag for a change of clothes. I planned the route, including where all the gas stations were for water and bathroom breaks. I was prepared. It was the most fun run I have ever done. We even joked about how we weren’t that far off from the marathon training plan.
For the first time ever, I toyed with the idea of running a marathon.
Ragnar trail came and went, and marathon training was in the back of my head.
“You know, when you train for a marathon, you only run up to mile 20. You’ve ran up to 17 miles already. That’s only 3 runs that you haven’t run the distance for yet.”
And that’s how it happened.
Three weeks after running to my moms and running my second Ragnar trail, it hit me. I COULD do this. I knew I had the support system. I had so many people I could run with. Okay, so there were also margaritas involved. BUT, whenever people ask me why I decided to run a marathon- it just isn’t quite a simple answer. It took me a long time to wrap my mind around running a half-marathon, and here I am training for a marathon.
I’m going to honest though, It still doesn’t quite feel like I am training for a marathon yet. The distances I’m running now are all for a half-marathon. I think my mind is secretly tricking me, but I’ll figure it out real quick after the end of this month when I’m not stopping at 13 miles…
I plan to post more of my marathon chronicles every Monday. Time got a little away from me, but better late than never!
Cheers to sore legs.