Monday, July 8, 2024

Considering Running A Marathon. Am I Crazy?

Lately, I keep having this "crazy" idea that I want to run a marathon. Back in high school, in the 1980's, I wanted to run one, but I never did. Before I had the chance, I moved to Miami and struggled to acclimate to the heat. I had grown up in Minnesota so you can imagine the change. Just for reference, I now live in North Carolina but the summers are still crazy hot here. But at least there's some semblance of  seasons. 

I've been a runner pretty much the whole time. However, Between 1998 when my first child was born and today it's been sporadic at best. I'd say the last time I was in decent shape still was in 2012 when I broke 2 hours for the Half. I ran a 1:57 and really did not train at all. In 2013 I ran another Half-Marathon with no training but was a little over 2 Hours. Why does it matter the times? Well, after that Half, I pretty much stopped running. I would run a 5K here or there, but nothing consistent. 

In 2018, I ran a 10K with my son and after the award ceremony, I could barely walk to the car. I was in excruciating pain! I tried to rest, I tried to stretch, but nothing really helped. I had a horrible case of Plantar Fasciitis. Literally a couple of years went by but every time I thought I had taken enough time off, the pain would come back the moment I ran. 

Long story short, I switched to minimalist shoes after reading Born to Run and it changed everything! I trained and ran, completely pain free, a Half in 2022, but my time was 3 hours and 6 minutes. 

So - Knowing all that, I am now in a situation where I find myself regretting that I ever stopped running. And I'm having regrets that I never took on the Marathon. There's one coming up in March, 2025 here in Asheville where I live. It's incredibly flat so it seems like the ideal introduction to the Marathon. If I attempt it, I would not be looking to compete at all obviously. My goal would be to just complete it and beat the cutoff time of 6.5 hours. 

So, why am I crazy? I work in Elections. Is it crazy to try to train for a Marathon during a Presidential Election year when I'm working 60+ hour weeks? Is it crazy to train for a marathon in barefoot-style shoes? Is it crazy to train for your first Marathon at age 57? The answer to all of this is - maybe. 

However, here's my thoughts: 

  • If not now, when? Yes, it will be hard to train with work being so crazy, but I'll have all Summer and Fall to ramp up mileage and save the really long runs for December, January and February - my favorite months due to the temperature. 
  • I'm never going to be this young again and I'm sure there have been people that ran their first marathon later than this. 
  • The Tarahumara runners mentioned in the book, Born to Run, run ultras in sandals. There are also completely barefoot distance runners such as Zola Budd in the 1984 Olympics and Abebe Bikila in the 1960 marathon. He won in Olympic record time running barefoot!  
So - Registration opens up for the March Marathon in Asheville on July 17th. I have about a week to decide. 

Yesterday, I went out for a four mile run. But it had been so long since I had run on the greenway, I remembered the 2 mile turnaround incorrectly. Instead of 4 miles, I ran 5.57! I was going really slow and didn't want to look at my watch for fear it would take me out of my running trance, which is why I wasn't aware of the 2 mile mark. What was so great about this run was that even though I was slow, I ran the whole time. Just two weeks before I had tried to run 3 miles and had to walk two different times. This got me thinking that with the right mental state, I can actually train for and run a Marathon. 

I know this sounds weird - saying "maybe I can actually run a marathon" - I have coached numerous people to their first marathon so I don't know why I should be any different. I guess we all have those demons that sit on our shoulder and tell us we aren't good enough. I ran again tonight for just a short run and felt good. All signs are pointing to me signing up for a Marathon next week. I'll keep you posted!

Considering Running A Marathon. Am I Crazy?

Lately, I keep having this "crazy" idea that I want to run a marathon. Back in high school, in the 1980's, I wanted to run one...