As I’ve said before, I’m not a runner. I am a girl who runs. My 2009 New Year’s Resolution was to train for something, in an effort to raise money for a good cause, and to make my workout routine about something less than my body. That’s the only reason I started running regularly–to stop being a gym rat.
It had never occurred to me to run a marathon until I went to the Crim expo in August to pick up my race packet. I thought to myself that a lot of the runners there were doing the Crim or upcoming half-marathons as part of their marathon training. I thought to myself, “Oh it would be cool to do a marathon, but I can’t imagine doing it when you have a full-time job and have to fit in all those long runs.”
And then like an hour later, I realized, Oh wait! I don’t have a full-time job right now! And after I run the Detroit Free Press Half-marathon in October, I’ll already have half the training done. So I got to thinking more. I realized if I was going to just keep training after the half, I’d probably have to find a marathon that was someplace warm. So I Googled “marathons in January” and the first one that came up was….Disney World! When I saw that, I just kind of knew it was my marathon.
I’m not a huge Disney person. All those grown-ass women who stock up on Disney princess stuff are NOT OK in my book. But…I wouldn’t have any problem flying south for the winter! Plus our old neighbors moved to Celebration, FL a few years ago (which is a town owned by Disney and looks quite like Wisteria Lane from “Desperate Housewives”) and my family has an open invitation to stay with them. Knowing that I wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel…and that my brother could satisfy his current dream of going to Disney World…made it seem like a pretty magical option!
I also did some research and found out that the Disney marathon is supposed to be an amazing course–very flat, very good weather–and the whole theme park aspect makes it really fun for families. (Apparently, the characters are there cheering you on! So you can be all, “Oh heyyyy, Pluto! Snow White, hey, girl, heyyyy!!” while running.) My mom was initially kind of resistant to taking the whole fam to Florida (“Why do you need anyone to come with you?” I don’t know, because it’s a kind of a BFD?!) but once she saw how inexpensive flights are, she was all for it.
More for it than I was at that point, actually! Could I actually run a marathon? I was having a huge mental issue.
Still, I wasn’t sure. I mean, I’m not a runner. I am friends with runners. They are skinny and fast, with long legs! I am not skinny and not fast. This was when I was running about 6 miles for my long runs, so I was worried. I hadn’t reached the point I was at when I got injured last winter. So I was pretty concerned about whether or not I could do it physically. But right around that time, a lot of bloggers I like started posting really inspiring things about why anyone can do a marathon. (This list from NoMeatAthlete and this post from Fitness NYC really helped me–thanks guys!) I read an article in the Free Press about a woman who lost over 100 pounds, and, though she’s still relatively overweight, is training for the full marathon in Detroit next month. The more not-skinny, not-fast people I read about, the more I started to believe it was OK for me to do this.
Ultimately, the book The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer really helped. I ordered it and after reading it, I was definitely inspired. The authors are teachers who taught a marathon training class at the University of Northern Iowa. The training schedule was also really moderate to me, so that was one intimidating thing down. Hearing from all the real people who took the class and who finished the marathon was big. I started to feel like I really could do it. They tackled a lot of the psychological hangups that were holding me back.
After a year of ups and downs and huge changes–a move, a big job, an injury, followed by planning to leave NYC, planning to stay, and then having to leave–I have become really resistant to planning things ahead. I feel like your twenties is a time of constant flux and you never know what’s coming next. Before this year, I was pretty goal-oriented and type-A. “I’m going to do this, then this, and then this will happen.” College sets you up to think like that. And life post-college blows that shit up. It’s been good to realize this; I’ve gotten less hung up on where I “should” be and I’m not disappointed or freaked out when things go off course. But I also realized this month…it’s still OK to make plans! You just have to accept that your plans my change.
With this plan, even if it changes, even if I got injured again, I really wouldn’t be out that much. The registration fee, yes, but the family vacation to Florida would probably take the edge off that. Regardless, what I learn from training will probably do as much for me as finishing the actual race.
The last aspect of it was the nutrition aspect, but after my very successful appointment with the dietitian last week, I felt like I could properly fuel myself through the training process. Once I got that taken care of, I was just kind of like, OK, well, I guess I’m set? Nothing holding me back? I felt like it was something in my life that had been planned for me all along, and I was just finally being told about it.
So, when I came across an ad for the marathon in Runner’s World, I put it on my vision board! And I made this picture the background on my computer.
To me, it says Disney and running, without being extremely gay. (Sorry–I use the word gay to describe inanimate things maybe once a year, only when there’s really no better word, and, come on, Disney stuff can be really gay!!!!)
After a couple weeks of looking at that, and after reaching a point in my training where I feel more confident about my body’s capabilities, I was finally ready to make it official. So this morning I coughed up the cash and registered! Disney World Marathon January 10, 2010!