Why run 26.2 miles? I used to ask myself this question. Throughout high school and college, I always thought that someday, somehow I’d run a marathon. It was on my bucket list I guess you could say. But it was a phrase that I loosely threw around. I had these hopes while I was running 6 days a week and racing almost every weekend. After college I took some time away from running. Not much, but I wasn’t running as many miles or as often as I had in the past. Then last year I made the decision I would run a half marathon, and I did it in the beautiful city of Cleveland. It was awful weather, but it was an amazing experience, almost too good to be true. After crossing the line, I immediately knew I wanted to run more half marathons. At that time I had no desire to run a full marathon, I had no interest in running any further than 13.1 miles…ever.
Over the summer I ran and trained for three other half marathons, along with a relay team for Akron Marathon. One of the Muskie alums Molly, a marathon expert, suggested that I think about it, maybe one day I’ll have a change of heart. Kimi, who at the time was training for her first marathon told me I should definitely do it, and like her, Columbus would be a great first marathon course. Throughout the relay I gave it a lot of thought, together as a team we completed 26.2 miles, was there a possibility I could do it on my own? While waiting near the finish for Molly to dominate her leg of the relay I found myself touched by every single runner that came past us. In my heart, I knew that I would run a marathon, that I would get my own chance to run past mile marker 26.
About a month later I had reassurance that I wanted to lace up and try 26.2 miles when I watched the finish of the Columbus Marathon. If you are ever on the fence about running a marathon (or any race) watch the finish. I’m pretty sure I kept tearing up every couple of minutes. It was such a wonderful experience to watch, and had me counting down the days until I could register to run my own. Even better was watching Kimi finish, knowing she had put so much time and effort into her training, I knew I wanted to do the same.
Running 26.2 miles is going to be an experience, a year after making the decision, it’s finally my time. Why run 26.2 miles? This is why….
- Running comes full circle. I have been running for over half of my life time. It’s what I do, it’s who I am, it’s the one thing that has never let me down. I started with the 400m in middle school and continued my way into longer distances until now I’m on the doorstep of reaching 26.2. My running has changed over the past couple of years. I’ve finally come to the realization that I will most likely never run a 22:xx 5k again. And that’s ok. I want to focus on distance, I want to enjoy the hours spent running for myself, not for a time.
- Running the Shoe. One of the highlights for the marathon this year was being able to run through the Shoe. I may not be the biggest Buckeye fan out there, but I’m completely excited about this opportunity. I’ve only been to the stadium three times, but I have a feeling this will be my favorite and most memorable time there.
- Redemption. I have a bone to pick with Columbus. Last year’s half marathon wasn’t my best effort, I mentally gave up within the first mile. I was burnt out, I was injured (imagine that) and I was ready for the racing season to end. This year I want to show Columbus that I can handle it, and that I’m going to give this race all I’ve got.
- Running with Alumni. It makes me so excited that I don’t have to run the marathon alone, well kind of. I’ll be doing all 26.2 miles by myself, but I’m glad to know that cross country friends from high school and college will be going through the same race as me, experiencing everything just as I am, as we all run our first marathon. I may be running alone, but it’s good to know that I have some teammates out there on the course.
- Running 26.2. 5k, 10k, Half. I think it’s the perfect time to step up my game and challenge myself on a longer race. Who knows, it could be my new favorite race distance….