Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Why I Decided to Run a Marathon #neversaynever

In my almost ten years of running, I've finished at least ten official half marathons. Remember, I was the girl who swore them off. Now, the distance is very much my favorite.

At one point this Summer, a friend of mine asked me (as most of my friends do whenever I finish a half marathon) when I was going to run a full marathon. I've had no desire to ever run one. I've also had every excuse in the book:

"I teach group fitness and don't have the energy for more miles."
"I have two kids, so maybe when they're older."
"I really don't feel the need to."
"It doesn't interest me."

Truth be told, the marathon scares me. You've heard the stories, right? Of death and collapsing and pain and misfortune? Yeah, no thanks. And even though I'm loving the half marathon, they've always been a challenge for me. Except all of that changed this year. Something clicked. I started doing actual workouts to improve speed and consistency. I dialed in my nutrition before, during and after races and training runs. And I finished a half marathon this year that left me wanting more.

So I feel pretty good about my running abilities. And because of that, I generally just believe in myself a little more. I also know that I'm heading toward having both kids in school all day, which eliminates the "maybe when they're older" excuse.

Honestly, though...all of my excuses are silly. And for the first time ever, I can see myself running a full marathon. It excites me. It still scares me, but I'm okay with that. I am ultimately fearless, right?

I went to Chicago the weekend of this year's marathon to purposely surround myself with marathon fever. And boy, did I catch the bug. The city, one of my favorite cities ever, came alive with runners. The Chicago International 5K was an amazing race. It was full of running celebrities, marathoners and non-marathoners like myself. Everyone was excited, whether or not they were running the actual marathon.

And on the day of this year's Chicago Marathon, I anxiously followed friends that were running it. I stared in awe at the elites striding effortlessly across my TV screen. But there was one very distinct moment from the entire weekend that sealed the deal for me:

I stood at a podium writing that bib out at the Abbot Health and Fitness Expo when a man walked up to me: "I did that same thing last year, and I made it back. I'm running my first marathon on Sunday. Go put that on the wall. I'll see you again next year."

And he will. I'll be there. I'm doing this. #neversaynever


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