Twelve years ago a friend talked me into doing a marathon. I wasn’t a runner and never would have imaged doing a marathon, but I thought what the heck. After training for months (and my friend backing out) I did it. Fast forward to today and I have done over 15 half marathons and feel like it’s time to do another full. Why would I ever want to do another full marathon? Well, let me tell you.
When I was doing the LA Marathon I was super excited about it. Living in a small town in California it was fun because I would put on my headphones and run along the empty country roads. It gave me a time to clear my head. I was in college working towards getting a Biology degree, so school was stressful. This gave me a way to get out of the house, get in shape and just push myself further than I thought I could do.
Working towards getting up to 26.2 miles is a lot of work, but I knew that I could do it. I was running up to 20 miles at one point. Christmas came and I headed home for the holidays. This was hard because California winters are very different than Utah winters. I didn’t want to run in the snow and the elevation would kill me every time I tried to run even one mile. Clearly, this held me back and I didn’t run for the time I was home.
As I went back for the next semester, I had killed my training progress. I was basically starting all over and became frustrated. This wasn’t going to stop me from doing what I had worked so hard for. Running daily to the gym, then getting miles in on the treadmill and then running to school. It was exhausting!
The week before the race came and my friend told me she wasn’t going to be able to do the race. I was crushed! After all the work I had put into this race, I wasn’t about to back out now. Quickly I worked at finding a place to stay in LA. A friend of mine had a friend down there that said he was more than happy to let me stay at his place.
Being that my friend got me to do the race I was going to do everything with her: packet pick-up, carb loading dinner, hotel, run the race. Because she wasn’t doing it with me I felt alone and that everything was messed up. I missed the packet pick-up, barely made the carb loading dinner and the guy I stayed with was heavily into the LA club scene. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep.
My alarm went off and I quickly gathered my things so I could still get my packet before the race. I was so early I got my packet and was able to get my stuff back into my car. Finally, the time had come and I was about to run all around the city of LA soaking it all in.
The gun sounded and off we ran. Starting a marathon was such an overwhelming feeling. Walking up with so many others that have been training for this moment felt amazing. As we walked to the point our time would start, Muhammad Ali was waving to us, cheering us on. I pushed my iPod to play and off I went.
Mile two came quickly and suddenly my iPod died. Okay, how was I supposed to finish the next 24.2 miles with no music? There was no turning back now and I had to make my own music. Hearing the feet of so many other runners hitting the pavement became music to my ears. Also, running through some of the scariest parts of LA seemed absolutely insane. You looked around and you’re in the ghetto, but then a couple miles later dreams homes lined the streets. It was unreal!
Running and running. At times I felt like it was never going to end and suddenly your second worst fear in a race happens. You hit a wall (the first would be an injury and can’t finish). I was cramping up at 13 miles and realized I was only half way there, living on a prayer. But I wasn’t about to give up.
If you have ever ran in a race (5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon) you see such a variety of people: old, young, fat, skinny. I kept seeing so many people passing me and said, “I am going to finish this even if it means I am the very last person to cross the finish line!”
Every other mile I pushed myself to run, then I would walk for a mile. Other runners motivated me telling me to keep going. People on the side lines would cheer for me even if they didn’t know you. The encouragement was totally contagious and I had to keep going.
My family was in Utah and not there to cheer me on, I had no family in California to cheer for me. So to have so much support from people that had no clue who I was drove me even more to finish.
Mile 26 came and I could hear the finish line. Music and cheering filled the air and I started to pick up my pace. The pain was excruciating, but when your adrenaline kicks in you feel nothing. Suddenly I heard my name, “GO JASON GO!!!” I looked to the side line and there was my best friend and her mom. they came to support me and I had a huge burst of energy and sprinted to the end.
Crossing that finish line I was greeted with a finisher medal, foil blanket and bananas. It was the most overwhelming feeling and I loved it.
Yeah, I couldn’t walk for a week, but it gave me a memory that I will never forget. Along with that though comes the finishing time of over six hours. I have always wanted to beat that time I know that I can. Maybe it’s been years since running a marathon, but it’s time to do this.
Plus, I was probably half the size I am now and this just gives me a reason to get back in shape. When I sign up for something like a race, suddenly I become completely invested and work hard at fulfilling that goal. Plus, I want to show my kids that they can do anything. Yeah, I’ve done a marathon before, but I’m not happy with my time and it’s time to fix it.
For the next year I am going to be sharing my training updates: what I did for the week, clothing choices (because that’s important), races I plan on doing and much more I’m sure.
Hopefully you’ll follow along with me every Friday and help cheer me on. This isn’t going to be easy because I have not been working out, but it’s time for a serious change and I’m excited for it.