½ Crazy or Full on Crazy?
My friend and I have discussed running a full marathon now for a while. We even signed up for the Miami ING a few years back with the intent to do the ½ marathon and then find a destination run for the marathon. Injuries happened and we postponed the race till the next year. My friend was still injured in 2015 and so I ran the ½ marathon by myself. The running a marathon discussion is happening again. We’re both approaching a semi-big birthday, ahem, age is just a number though really ;) and so we’ve revisited the idea again of “it’s now or never”. A little background if you please:
I started walking with a group in 2007 to meet new people. I had moved back to Miami from San Diego and thought I needed to get active and find some exercise I didn’t mind doing. I had heard of this group of people that would get together early Saturday mornings and run or walk. I had never run before in my life, so I thought that I would simply walk. The walks became something I would look forward to. We had a core group that would always meet and when I say we’d walk, we’d walk. 8 miles was the long distance of the day – we were supposed to do our shorter walks during the week to be able to do the long walks on the weekend. I’ve always walked fast and 8 miles really didn’t seem that long when you’re talking about everything that goes on with each and every walker. And that’s when the discussions first started that I should do a marathon. I only fathomed half marathon at that point. So sure enough we all started training. We pushed to do 11 miles (some did the full 13 miles as practice) but I wanted to do the full 13 on the actual race day. Sarasota, March 2008, I completed my first ½ marathon – 13.1 miles – I felt so great I even did a cartwheel over the finish line (there’s a picture somewhere to prove it). After I returned the following Saturday the other walkers now began the discussion of, “What next?” Would we do another ½ marathon or would we go for the full now? Many of the walkers told me that if I had trained for the ½ then it was the best time to continue on for the full. I took the challenge on. What did I have to lose, right? From March to May I trained and I trained a LOT! I even was able to go out to San Diego (the destination I picked for my marathon!) a few times as my nephew was turning one. I thought what better way to check out the race course and train in the elements. It just all seemed to line up (in my mind). I even after one of my trips kept my suitcase out since I was going to be going back so soon – I thought it was not only motivation but also a reminder for inspiration. Little did I know that 10 days before the race I would stub my toe on that said suitcase. Who does that?? This girl does, that’s who! I went to the doctor and the doctor said the toe was not broken, but they did advise me NOT to walk in the marathon. I told myself if the toe wasn’t broken then I was walking in that marathon. I had to after all that training and time spent. My dad has this famous saying in our family, “You gotta be tough if you’re dumb.” I kept hearing his voice say this over and over. I knew I’d be tough and overcome.
My brother dropped me off almost exactly at my corral. I was early but race ready – I had made homemade “energy” bars and had my fruit leather and water all ready to go. Trained and ready. I chose the Rock-N-Roll series for my race because I knew at least every mile I would have some form of entertainment. 26.2 miles is a long way and since I was walking I wanted to make sure others would be around as I was still walking! I would say it was mile 9 or so I got a rock in my shoe. Of all the things to happen during the race – I had not trained for that. It had formed a small blister – I took my shoe off and saw it – the medic tent told me they could take me to the end and I didn’t have to finish the race or I could continue on. Once again, my dad’s voice popped in my head, “You gotta be tough if you’re dumb.” I figured if the stubbed toe didn’t stop me, what more could 17 miles do to an already formed blister? They bandaged me up and off I went. During my race there were signs everywhere from the Team In Training groups and others as motivation:
And there were even running Elvēs (that’s right, that’s the plural of Elvis) for entertainment. Over 100 Running Elvēs were at my marathon – I’m not sure how they were in uniform and wig running in the heat. San Diego in June normally has a marine later in effect till late morning, early afternoon. The day of my marathon, it burned off at 9 am. I had the worst sun burn ever! San Diego was a great destination run. And more than that, I had my family at the end – talk about motivation. At mile 20 though I think you hit this wall (at least I did) and all I could think was there were 6 MORE miles left. I look back now and it was a mix of adrenaline/heart/sheer will to get me through to the end. Completing a marathon is like no other feeling that I can describe – you hear people try to describe it, but until you experience it you never know how you will react. I was caught up with emotion and was just overjoyed to see my nephew (and the rest of the family) I had done it, blister and all, 26.2 freaking miles. 6 hours and 10 minutes. I always say I actually walked 27.2 miles – because where they made my brother park his car was definitely another mile or two – talk about cruel!
Returning from the marathon left me with the “where do I go next” feeling with my exercise regimen. I had just walked 26.2 miles, would I start running now? I had never run before and never thought I could run. I wasn’t sure what was next. My friend Felix helped me start running. We did intervals: run 1 minute walk 4 minutes, until we worked up to run 4 minutes and walk just 1 minute. I’ve been doing intervals ever since. I have Felix to thank for introducing me to running and believing I could run. Over the years I went from running literally barefoot on the beach to running with the minimalist type shoe (since I no longer run on the beach).
4 years ago I broke my foot, the 5th metatarsal, the good old Jones’ fracture. I didn’t break my foot from the minimalist shoes, but from running in the rain in flip flops – cue dad’s favorite phrase J It took a long road to recovery after breaking my foot to even begin to run again. After having running taken away, I knew the minute I could run again I would run. Injuries are able to teach you a whole lot. I never take for granted being able to work out. A year and a half after breaking my foot I completed a half marathon (when I thought I’d be never able to run again)
Talk about an emotional roller coaster of a run that was! It was November in Puerto Rico – no one was going to be pulling a PR (personal record) in PR (Puerto Rico) that was for sure. After the first light rain shower passed over there was this rainbow and I stopped to take a picture:
I tried to savor every moment of that race, not caring what my time was like. Finishing felt like such an accomplishment – thinking back to breaking my foot and thinking would I ever be able to do what I so loved? Incredible moment for sure.
And that leads us to the present moment. To run a marathon or not? My running partner Marcela has never walked or run a marathon. We’ve run a half marathon together and I know it’s on her bucket list: run a marathon. She’s downloaded the running schedule and is determined. I’m training with her and tomorrow will be our official first day of training. Say what? I said after the first time around I’d never do this again?? Here's what I do know. Marcela is my running partner. Through thick and thin, we're training for this marathon. Marcela will be able to have that same feeling I had years ago - she'll be able to describe it to you one day. Here’s to training and here’s to learning things along the way!