I’m thinking about running a marathon next Fall. Actually I’ve been “thinking” about running a marathon for a long time now. My go to excuse has always been that I wouldn’t have the time to train between work and kids activities and hubby’s travel schedule. So having recently quit my job, I seem to be all out of excuses. I’m a bit preoccupied right now with deciding if I will in fact do this or not. I’m turning fifty this year and it seems like a good milestone to work towards and check off my list. Right? So why is so hard for me to commit?
The marathon I wanted to run was in San Francisco in October. It was the Nike women’s marathon that had an amazing (albeit hilly) course with spectacular views winding through the city and past the Golden Gate Bridge. I envisioned myself running; no bounding, through the streets of San Francisco as the fog parted and the sun shone down on me leaping across the finish line with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. How’s that for incentive. Not to mention the hunky firemen handing out Tiffany necklaces at the finish line. I am writing this in the past tense because Nike, in their infinite wisdom, has chosen not to offer the full marathon in October of 2014. I have to say I was a bit deflated when I heard this. “Now what?” I thought.
I’ve been a regular runner since I was in my late twenties. I’m not a great runner. I think if I had to sum up my running style it would be consistent. I’ve never run any faster than a 10 minute mile, even after weeks of training. But on any given day I can go out and run a solid 4-6 miles (with hills) and feel pretty good. I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t had any major injuries. Stiff sore muscles and a couple of bulging discs (not caused by running) have occasionally sidelined me for short periods, but for the most part, I have been lucky. There’s this guy who runs quite regularly in my area. I would love to run like him. He makes it look so effortless and natural. Like a gazelle. I’m more like a small pony.
What does it take to run a marathon ? What is the motivation ? What is holding me back from committing? Could it be the monumental effort it would take to push my body to run 26.2 miles? I have run a half marathon before and have been told that the rule of thumb is, if you can do that, then you can do a full marathon. Who makes these rules anyway? I’ve read all the training advice. Printed out the training program. They totally make it seem doable. Actually, the reality is that it is doable. It won’t be fast or pretty but it is doable. On my run this morning I thought “I feel really good. If I just follow the program I will be fine.” The voice inside my head when I am running is very different from the voice inside my head during the rest of the day and way different from the voice in my head at 7:00 in the morning.
I guess what it comes down to is deciding if I want to push my body to do it at this point in my life? It’s only 18 weeks of training and then if I never want to run again I would be okay. I think. Why is this so hard? Why do I do this when I have to make a decision? I did it when I was deciding whether or not to quit my job. Back and forth, back and forth. I nearly drove my husband crazy one weekend changing my mind every half an hour. I know that when I finally do make a decision it will be the right one and that I will see it through.
I thought that writing about this dilemma might aid in my decision making process. Not so much. It’s interesting to me that I started this post thinking about running a marathon but in actual fact what is bothering me is the fact that I find it so hard to make a decision and commit. The Best Thing in Life would be for somebody to just register me and tell me that I’m doing it. But what would I learn from that?