The Big Question
The last few clinics have been about strategy for the upcoming Calgary Marathon. At this point, as any marathoner knows, physically, we are pretty well-tuned. We have run miles and miles and miles. Now, it’s all in our head.
So, the question becomes.. Why am I doing this?
It’s a good question. And one every runner must answer prior to lining up at the start line. Trust me, you do not want to be searching for meaning at mile 23 on a marathon course. You will cry. You will possibly walk off the course and quit. Good advice I received from marathoners prior to my first race and now I am passing it on.. know why you are out there.
A little background.. I got started in this marathon thing thinking that it was a “bucket list” item. I imagined JB and I sitting around when we are old, listening our smartypants grandchildren going on about their accomplishments, when their mother/father says to them, “you know, your grandmother ran a marathon.” They will immediately bow at my feet, ooing and aahing, in awe of my prowess. And then ask how I got so old. So that ridiculous daydream, inspired by a Chicago Marathon poster on Michigan Avenue, is how it started. From there, I met Jennifer. She had a marathon medal and some pictures in her “office” ( I put office in quotes because it was really a tiny cubicle only befitting a Skinner mouse) and I asked what they were all about. Jennifer proceeded to tell me about The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team In Training and the marathon training program. It sounded like a good charity, good program, so I looked into it. But I wasn’t quite ready. At that time, I had never run more than a 5k and truth be told, it had been awhile. Jennifer suggested a half marathon in Madison and handed me a training program. We trained and ran the Madison Half Marathon in spring 2009. After completion of my first half-marathon I was hooked.
I proceeded to run two marathons with Team In Training. The fundraising for cancer research and patients was rewarding, as were the friendships that came out of training for those races. When we moved to Calgary last fall I continued to run and exercise. I wanted to run a spring marathon, but did not know where to start. Also, training can get lonely. So I took my own advice and reached out, enrolled in a “new school” and made some new friends through the Running Room.
Back to the recent clinic and the issue at hand. Why am I doing this? I have been pondering the question a bit during my solo runs. Here is what I have..
1. I am running for me. This sounds selfish and I say it a little sheepishly. I have run for charity and felt great about it, but this time it’s just me. I have a finish time goal in mind and it is a number that has been on my mind for about a year.
2. I am running for my family. I would simply not be able to do all the training, etc, if not for the support I receive from JB and my kids. I miss weekend breakfasts, stretch while I help them with homework and they always are there to listen to my running stories. The kids are even willing to help me roll out my legs when needed, (for the going rate of $0.25 each). So I also run with thankfulness for JB and our kids, my parents and parents-in-law and all those in my family that support me through this masochist adventure.
3. I run for a lot of friends.. some listed here. Jennifer, who first told me I could run a marathon. Mike, who probably thought I would not take him up on an offer to be a running partner when the mileage got upwards of obnoxious. Seth, who is running his first full marathon on the same day as me, though a country and time zone away. In my mind, I will be running with him. Rick, who I roped into a couple of half marathons and is running his first marathon this spring. Lisa, a friend from long ago. Her mom told my mom that she started running after seeing that I had done it, (we are from Lake Wobegon :)). She is running her first half marathon this spring and I am proud of her. For so many other running buddies. Jess, Dione, Dano, Lori, Captain Efficiency, Mike, Dayo, Paul.. Other friends that, while not runners, are stronger than I can imagine. Lisa, who is battling brain cancer. Cheryl, who is battling breast cancer. Leslie, who battled and WON the battle against breast cancer. All the other folks fighting battles that make the fatigue/soreness/delirium we face at mile 23 seem so insignificant.
Five days and counting. I would say that this will be my last marathon, but who am I kidding?