Wow, two posts in a month...it must be record or something!
Anyway, thank you to all who either responded via commenting on the blog, via email, or even via Facebook regarding my marathon dilemma...and the dilemma is no longer a dilemma.....dun, dun, dun....I AM going to train for a marathon. In fact, the training has already started. I think I mentioned in my last blog entry that they recommend if you are not a strong runner (i.e. you don't already run longer distances) that you take as much as a year to train. This helps eliminate injury, eases you into the longer distances and just generally makes the process go smoother. So, the particular training schedule I am on takes 19 weeks to build you up to running 10 miles, then you plateau there for a while until 19 weeks before the marathon when you start building up to about 20-22 miles.
I am already learning a lot from the training even this early on. My friend Kristie, who ran the Chicago marathon says that physically, once you are up to running those higher distances, running the marathon is not that much harder on your body. But, she says that it is a huge mental challenge. And, I am seeing that even at short distances like 4 miles (side note: I can hardly believe that I am saying 4 miles is a "short" distance!). What I have noticed already is my huge tendency to want to either a. quit/stop or b. want to run the marathon, but not want to put in the work.
I have always said that Americans live in a "fast food" society: we want it all, we want it fast and we do not want to work at it. Several examples come to mind: we want to lose weight, but we want to be able to eat what we want and not have to work at self-discipline and control. We want to be out of debt, but we are not willing to put the work into cutting back expenses or not using our credit cards. We want a good job, but we are not willing to work our way up the ladder, or put the effort into going to school to get that job (or in some cases, we want to win the Lottery and not have to work at all!). We want to go on great vacations, but we charge it to our credit cards instead of saving up.
We want all of these things and yet are for the most part not willing to do our part to get them. Now, you would think that all of the discipline that I learned from losing those 50 pounds (and keeping them off for the last year and a half) would have prepared me for using that same discipline when it comes to running. Alas, this is not the case. And, maybe it is easier (I have had a lot of people tell me when I tell them about the marathon that "they could never do that.") for me than others. I do seem to have a bit more determination in me than the average person. But, that propensity to want something while not having to work at it still nips at my ankles almost ever time I run.
What I am realizing is that the first mile is always the hardest (why is that???). Once I push through those thoughts of quitting or stopping and get past that first mile, things seem to get a bit easier. However, even throughout the rest of my running, there are still moments when I hear the "just walk" phrase run through my head. In those moments, I am almost always not THAT tired. And, in fact, during the run I did last night I determined NOT to listen, and just keep going and I ended up being just fine and not at all unable to finish. In fact, I probably could have kept going for quite a while longer and been fine.
So, I can see what Kristie and others meant by how much of running can be a mental thing. It really is. I know I have thought that it is only a physical thing....how far can your muscles and bones take you. But, I see that there is a very big part of training that involves your mind and your will.
This will be an interesting journey!