Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Marathon

In my last post, I subtly mentioned that I plan (hope) to run a marathon in 2013. Surprisingly, I have yet to make a big deal of that on my blog but I am, in fact, registered for my first marathon in only four short months. The race is the Vermont City Marathon (VCM) on Sunday, May 26 in Burlington, VT.

For a long time, I've dreamed about this race. I first heard of it when my cousin and aunt ran the relay together in 2010. Then last year, they convinced my other cousin and her boyfriend two join them. While they were all training for this race, I was somewhat wishful that I could join them but I was gearing up to ride my bike across the country and in no mental or physical shape to be a part of the action. But the desire to join them eventually was strong.

On a random day in South Dakota this summer my uncle called my mom and we passed the phone around over dinner to catch up with him. It got me thinking about him and his girls. And it got me thinking about their race. About an hour later, I texted Josh saying that I was making the trip to Vermont the next memorial day weekend and he agreed to join me. At the time, I wasn't sure I'd register for the full 26.2 miles but I knew I wanted to make the journey. I planned to train for and run Philly before making a decision about which distance to register for.

But registration for the marathon opened on November 1 and I was afraid of it filling up. I was 17 days away from Philly but my training was going well and I felt strong. So I set my alarm for 6AM and I registered for the race.  I ran a good race in Philly, continued feeling confident, and then took an unplanned, confusing month off of running. I was terrified of what the month off, and the potential injury would mean for my ability to train for and run VCM. But I got better, did my research, and realized that, as a beginner, I can take it fairly easy in training and in the months leading up to training.

Now, I have not run more than 5 miles since the Philadelphia Half. I have done many short runs, ridden many a stationary bike, and worked hard to build muscle and strengthen my core. My training plan, which my experienced friend Nikki has helped me perfect, has me scheduled to begin next Monday. As I think about all the other things I have going on the next four months- lots of wedding planning; our biggest work event of the year; a week-long, most likely sleep-depriving, conference in California; another season of soccer; my first two hired cake jobs (both in the same week)- I'm not as excited about training as I want to be. I feel fit and I feel excited about my trip to Vermont. But the fact that I'm about to begin training for a race distance that seemed crazy to me less than three years ago doesn't seem real yet.

Without being a quitter, I'm trying to keep life in perspective. I will begin my training cycle as scheduled and stick to it as long as my foot and my mind will allow. I have every intention of running the full race. But I also won't let it take over my life. If training feels like a chore and a burden then I may drop down to the half. But I'm optimistic that once I get started, it will be fun and good. In reality, most weeks of my training schedule don't require more hours of working out than I do in an average week. And, whatever happens with this race and the months leading up to it, I am ecstatic about being in Vermont with all but one of my favorite Vermonsters. My cousin Emily will be in Chile for the semester but my cousin Katy and aunt Joann are running the relay and Katy's boyfriend Simon and my friend Nikki are also running the full. All that is something to look forward to!

Have you ever registered for a race and then wondered if you can really do it? If you've run a marathon, did you have jitters before your training began?


  1. Carrie! I'm so excited for you! VCM is such a fun race. I don't know if you remember or ever heard but I injured my hip while training last spring and stopped training for the month leading up to the marathon. I went into the race not expecting to be able to finish, but it was so much fun and there was so much energy from all the fans cheering me and everyone else on that I was able to push through it. No matter what the next few months hold for you, I know you can do it! I'll be cheering you on from Chile :)

  2. Good luck!! This year will be my first VCM too, and I'm really excited because I've heard so many great things about it. However - I completely understand the hesitation that comes at the beginning of a training cycle. I'm usually super motivated when I first sign up and then feel significantly less so when the training cycle starts back up -- especially when it's the middle of winter and I'm feeling out of shape. Last year I had registered for Boston while also planning a wedding and working two jobs. It was stressful and overwhelming sometimes and I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. But you just take it one day at a time and make a commitment to yourself that you'll just do what you can...and not feel guilty if that's less than you had originally planned. Just try to enjoy the process :)