January 9, 2012

So, I have this list of 30 Things to Do in My 30s. Most of it is fairly innocuous stuff – travel to new places, reunite with friends, learn new skills… but one of those items (item number 8, between “visit a state I’ve never been to” and “read 24 books a year”) is to run a half marathon or a marathon. And that, my friends is where this running thing started. Not because I like it, not even because of the crazy weight loss journey that I’ve been on and a need to “change up” my routine, but because I made a list that I want to check everything off of.

At one point last year, I had thought, “well, maybe a 10k would be fine” – this was before we’d started running but when I was knee deep in cardio punishment for too many milkshakes and shitty genetic material. But, like anything else, I hold myself to these ridiculous ideas, and I think I knew deep down that it wasn’t going to work out that way. If I’m anything, I’m tenacious. (I’m a lot like a Jack Russell Terrier – low to the ground, a tendency to pudge up if you don’t keep me active, and total nut job once I get my mind set on something.)

Like anything else, I started preparing for running by reading. I bought three books about running as soon as I made the list (in 2008), read the first one right away, and then forgot about the rest of them until this past September. The book I’m finding most useful is the The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer, mostly because it’s exactly what it says it is. It’s written by a group of people involved in a university course specifically designed to train people to run a marathon, even if they aren’t runners when they start the course. The goal of the course is to help you successfully finish a marathon, which is the only goal Spencer and I have. People keep asking us about time: “How fast is your mile?” and I keep getting intimidated about pacing (which is difficult to gauge living in a place made entirely of hills).

Can you guess where I’m going with this?

Last night Spencer and I registered for the 2012 Honolulu Marathon kind of spur of the moment, because if you register before January 15th, the fee is incredibly low for U.S. residents. In my head I was thinking, “Even if we decide to bail, no harm no foul, right?” Of course, as soon as I clicked “confirm registration” the second time I knew there was no backing out (and Spencer was saying, “Now it’s a bet; we’ve bet $55 on each of us, and we can’t lose this bet!”).

Other than the course winding up Diamond Head* (those hills will serve us well when it comes time to climb a volcano at mile 24) I can’t think of a better first marathon to participate in. First of all, it’s in Hawaii, which is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Second of all, there are no pacing requirements, so if I get to mile 21 and need to walk a mile I can still “finish” the race. I only see this happening in a catastrophic scenario (i.e. injury), but there is something soothing about the knowledge that there is no “failure” here. Our goal is to finish, the secondary goal is to run the entire race. We do plan on doing a half marathon this fall before the full, but I’ll talk more about that later.

I have been promised that these stairs are not part of this marathon.

This view, however, may be.

The book has a 16-week training schedule to prepare for a marathon. We have about 44 weeks to be ready, which means we can take it nice and slow and prevent injury.

There’s a bit of the “oh shits” [Editor’s note: And some, “Diamondhead? Are you shitting me?!”s] settling in right now, but I think it’s going to be amazing, and I can’t wait to cross the finish line!

*The last time I climbed this crater I believe I said, “Never, ever again.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kelli January 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I’m fairly certain you said a lot worse than “Never, ever again” about that volcano (of death). :)

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