Since I began running I always knew that I was going to run a marathon someday. I didn’t know how long a marathon was or the type of training it would require. All I knew was that I wanted in.
My favorite holiday is Marathon Monday. I’m not joking. I love it more than Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. I’m like a little kid screaming my brains out on the sidelines when the runners come through. I probably also like Marathon Monday so much because it always falls right around my birthday. When my parents ask me how I want to celebrate my birthday my answer is always the same. “Watch the Boston Marathon!” To think that in three months I’m going to run my first 26.2 is mind-blowing! I’m so excited that I can’t even put it into words.
I’m in the midst of reading Hal Higdon’s book, “Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide” that a good friend of mine lent me (Thank you!). In the first chapter of the book he talks about the mystique surrounding the marathon and describes it absolutely perfectly. There’s just something really special about the marathon. As Hal says, “You can run 5-k races until your dresser drawers overflow with t-shirts, but it’s not quite the same as going to the starting line of a marathon.”
I think it’s partly because of the amount of training that goes into such a race. Many people can pull off a 5k with hardly any preparation. After all, my brother can still beat me with little to no training! A marathon, though. That’s a different beast. You really have to train for it. As I’m learning, training for a spring marathon (at least in Vermont) is pretty tough. Logging in all those miles when it’s freezing cold outside and surviving the snow/ice is pretty tough.
The distance and challenge also gives the race its magic. Many people view it as the ultimate distance race (although there are plenty of ultra marathons popping up now). When I tell people that I’ve run a half marathon they often reply, “So when are you going to do a full?” It’s kind of like the test of all tests. Although it’s not my main reason to do it, I just want to be able to say that I’ve run a marathon. I want to be part of the group of runners that have experienced the training, the pain, and the victory of crossing that finish line.
Hal Higdon talks about marathon runners having a “glow” about them – kind of similar to pregnant women. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I definitely am excited. When I think about the race I can’t help but smile. I’m nervous and excited all at the same time! To think that I’m going to accomplish something I’ve been dreaming about since I started running is pretty amazing. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll even run Boston.
What do you think makes the marathon so special? How was your first marathon?