A few things have happened so far this year in relation to my goal of running a marathon in 2017.
After getting tired of running the short, straight, flat path in the tiny park by my house, I set off in search of a new track and discovered I live just twenty minutes from an area that is part dogpark, part jogging park. It’s super hilly so I don’t feel I’m covering the same amount of distance in my usual time, but it’s nice to mix up which muscles I’m using during a run. Plus there are so many dogs to smile at!
I also joined the gym at my workplace – the idea was to run on the treadmill one night a week, but it turns out running on the spot and staring at the wall in a stifling basement gym is not nearly as fun as jogging outdoors. So instead I’m doing strength training again to help me conquer all those hills in the park.
Unfortunately, I’ve dealt with a few setbacks in my training too, though I knew it couldn’t be smooth sailing the whole way. Two weeks ago we had a snowstorm right before the weekend and I knew there was no chance the snow would melt by Saturday, and my friend was celebrating her birthday that night and there was even less of a chance I’d be able to handle a Sunday morning run while hungover. So I took advantage of the work gym being empty on the weekends and ran 2 hours 15 minutes – nearly a half marathon for me – on the treadmill.
It was awful. I wanted to throw up by the end of it. It was so dry I had to keep stopping after the first hour to drink water, and I was so dizzy from running in one place that I could barely walk when it was over. Once and never again.
Sadly I followed up that brutal weekend with one where I didn’t run at all. Errands and catching up with old friends happened to fill my schedule and I just couldn’t find the time (runs get much more difficult to do spontaneously when they’re over two hours long). So it came as no surprise to me yesterday morning when I tried to get back into my regular running routine and could only manage 100 minutes. It didn’t help that it snowed again on Thursday night and the sidewalks were still covered in ice by the time the weekend rolled around.
But, most significant of all so far this year is the fact that I am now officially registered for the 2017 Copenhagen Marathon!
Even though this was always the goal from back in October when I undertook this challenge, it feels surreal to actually be fully signed up. There’s no backing out now unless I want to lose a bunch of money, and honestly I’d rather commit to something difficult and with health benefits than to throw all my money away.
I still don’t really consider myself a runner. When I see all of the other joggers in the park, they seem much more “professional” than me. For all I know this could be their first run, or they’re only doing one lap while I’m doing five, yet I don’t see myself as being at the same level.
I’ve never been much of a runner in my life. In elementary school I joined the cross country team because some of my friends were on it, but I was always placed towards the end of the line of starters. One time I ran a race in a park I’d never been to before and got lost, and when I finally made it to the finish line everyone was already packing up to leave; no one seemed to notice that they had not checked off my bib number as having completed the race. So, it’s safe to say no one would consider me to have had any natural running talent.
Fifteen years later, it’s hard to believe I’m aiming to run a 42-kilometre race when I used to have to walk for part of the annual 2.5 km Terry Fox Run. I know it’s not going to be easy, and maybe I won’t achieve my goal of doing the whole race without walking, but it’s going to be damn satisfying to cross that finish line and see how far I’ve come.