Sunday, July 21, 2013

Couch to marathon in 8 months

For the first time in my life, I am enjoying running. As long as I can remember I thought that running was hell. Sweating, panting, side cramps, nausea... What could be worse? I used to dread the half mile time test in elementary school, I remember feeling nervous and queasy all day. The stretching test however... That was my forte. Then the mile run in middle school and high school- that was awful too. I don't think I ever ran the entire thing without walking.

You may ask why I started training for a marathon.

I don't think I have an answer. I have multiple reasons: Luke wants to, I want to practice focus and discipline, I have the time, I have been craving a big goal, etc. None of those feels like an answer! I guess I just started and now that I've started I'm not going to stop.

Back in February I finally joined a gym about about a year without exercise! I'm ashamed to even write that. I started by running very very short distances. Half a mile, 3/4 mile, a mile, 1.25, etc. It took me FOUR months to work up to being able to regularly run three miles. It was really tough too! Thankfully I have a support network of runners who would encourage me and tell me to just keep going. 0-3 was definitely harder than 3-6, or 3-9!

Marathon training started the first week of June with 3 mile runs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then on Saturday I had my first big long run- a whopping SIX MILES! I had never run more than three miles and I was terrified. I thought- there is no way my body can do this. I'm not strong enough, I don't have enough stamina and endurance. Luke and I ran the six miles together and got lost, so thankfully I had my GPS on. And I did it! I ran six miles! It felt great afterward and terrible during. But I was SO proud of myself. I remember thinking "so this is why people do physical tasks that sound awful".

I'm now a month and a half in to training! It has been harder and easier than expected. Sometimes the long distances aren't bad at all. 5-6 miles has become relatively easy for me, and I never thought that would happen! The hardest bits are scheduling when to run, eating the right fuel and keeping hydrated, and staying positive. When I run I often end up comparing myself to other runners and feeling like I'm not good enough, fast enough, strong enough, etc.

But I'm doing this. and I'm not going to stop.