My first marathon

Posted in: Running & Life

Most of my life, I have been fit as I played team sports, participated in aerobics in my twenties, and belonged to a gym. As life became more complicated, it became hard to find time to exercise while balancing the demands of marriage, three children and a high stress travel job.

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“When I start something new, I develop a plan and strictly follow it until I achieve the outcome…”

I came across a book called “Body for Life” about changing your eating patterns, and alternating weight lifting with aerobic exercise 6 days a week. The 12-week program looked sensible and convenient and took as little as 20 minutes a day to do.

My last 20 minute run for the program was in June 2004. Before this, I never ran more than a mile in my life, but I actually enjoyed the runs. My husband did the program too and moved on to sprint triathlons and was going to run the Houston marathon in January 2005. Being the competitor I am, I thought if he can do this extreme stuff, I can surely do more than 20 minutes of running. So, I signed up to do the Houston half marathon and found a 6 month training program. However, as is typical of me, after a few weeks of running, I wasn’t satisfied just doing the half, so I switched to the full marathon.

When I start something new, I develop a plan and strictly follow it until I achieve the outcome and then I take more risks for higher rewards the second time around. This first marathon was no different. I followed the marathon program religiously, running four days a week, and eating everything I was supposed to eat for 6 months. I kept a running log and wrote everything about my runs, including how I felt. Even though I never ran a marathon before, I felt prepared because I followed the plan! As the weeks went on and the miles went up, I was enjoying the challenge of running. My legs ached so badly and I was always hungry, but I felt empowered! I pushed my body to the limit and it felt great!

Just like life though, everything didn’t go to plan. It was unseasonably cold for Houston so I had to wear more clothes than anticipated. I trained alone, so running with over 10,000 people was also a challenge as I had to carefully navigate the slower runners. The adrenaline was so intense when the gun went off, I ran out way too fast hit the proverbial wall at mile 20 and didn’t think I could go another step. However, the 250,000 fans on that cold morning, and the sounds of the cheers and music along the route was incredibly inspiring. Seeing my kids several times kept me going until the end. I finished with a respectable marathon time of 4:16, choked up with tears and a deep feeling of accomplishment. As I limped back to the car that day, I vowed to come back stronger the next year. I was hooked!