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I sometimes wish that I were the type who could just sign up for a marathon and have no other thoughts about it. That I would feel confident and not have this huge amount of angst towards it. I've read about those type of people out there. You know, the ones who just decide one day to run a marathon for the "fun of it". I'm always amazed by that and wish I could take things less serious. I put a lot of pressure on myself from the moment I make a commitment, that I cannot relax. If you have learned anything about me this year, I don't race much. The reason for this is due to my inability to handle the pressure of it all. The pressure of the race. The pressure of the physical challenges. The pressure of the mental roller coaster we all can go on. I will take months and months and months to build up for something this big. MONTHS.

Well, I'm months away now. I want to hear from you and your experiences with running your marathons. Perhaps I'm in exactly the same boat as many of you and just don't know it? I'm not sure? I admire many of you for your great accomplishments and you ability to finish a 26.2. I truly mean that. I look at the strength all of you had to cross that finish line and I want to be just like that.

So, I'm asking...

What made you decide to run your first marathon?
What goals did you have when you made that commitment?
What kinds of highs and lows did you experience?
How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it?
Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this?

Thank you for your time and thought put into this. I will read each and every word you say. I will take things to heart and try to take something from every one of you.

~M

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What made you decide to run your first marathon? I wanted to run one before I turned 25, I was 23 when I signed up, 24 when I finished. Said when I was a senior in HS I would do a marry before I turned 25 What goals did you have when you made that commitment? Finish and enjoy the experience. Time did not matter What kinds of highs and lows did you experience? Finishing, seeing all of the sights, enjoyed all of the training. The let down after finishing thinking what was next for me. How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it? I was pleased. I was less concerned with time. I wanted to take it all in and enjoy the experience. Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this? Relax and take it easy. Remember less than 1% of people in the US have completed a marathon. Simply finishing makes you pretty elite. When you meet someone and talk about running you can proudly say you ran a marathon. People know what kind of commitment that takes.
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What made you decide to run your first marathon? I had made a promise to someone a long, long time ago to run a marathon with him. He died and so did the dream. I remembered this promise soon after I turned 30 and pondered it. A year later I blurted out "I'm going to run a marathon in the next 2 years" at a family dinner and my entire family, including my mother, laughed at me. I was 225 pounds, chainsmoking couch potato who drank a lot so it was justified. That promise, but mostly that laughter spurred me on. What goals did you have when you made that commitment? To not be the horrible person I was, but to evolve into someone better, stronger, faster that people liked to be around. Someone another human being could actually care about, possibly love. What kinds of highs and lows did you experience? Way too many to describe here. I got it all. I do remember thinking "hot damn, this 11 mile run is so much harder than last week's 22". More than a few times. I also remember how much support my friends gave me, and how important that was. How touching, too. How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it? I ran it slow, but with a constant smile. It was on my home turf, and I had great support waiting for me at the end. I never walked, never felt truly horrible. Overall it was a great, defining experience. Truly it was the perfect first marathon for me. I was so ecstatic when I crossed the finish line I screamed "F--K YEAH!". You should see the picture of that one. Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this? You've got a better base training for nothing than most people here who are training for big races. You've got a year. Remember when you said you couldn't do a second half right after your first? You kicked ass. Remember when you said you couldn't do a fast 5K? You freakin' medaled while kicking ass. You have natural ability and form, Marcie. Bite the bullet and sign up. I bet you'll BQ first shot. If you come to Philly I know someone who will root for you, too.
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What made you decide to run your first marathon? My cow-orkers said they were gonna run a half. Being a typical male I said, "I can do the full..." What goals did you have when you made that commitment? Sub 3:30 What kinds of highs and lows did you experience? My first I had no lows until I finished, then I died. How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it? I just finished a marathon. How do you think I felt Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this? If you don't do it, you will wonder for the rest of your life... What if.... Sheldon
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Well i haven't done a running marathon i have done the skating equivalent What made you decide to run your first marathon? i wanted to push my limits, see what i was capable of. a bigger challenge than what i had physically ever done before in my life. What goals did you have when you made that commitment? to be able to skate 86 miles at least at a 10mph pace. on hills and traffic What kinds of highs and lows did you experience? besides being ridiculed for my lack of sanity? when i was alone on the course and what had to be my 50th hill (and only 45 miles done). i was barely moving, more like walking with skates on. i cursed myself out, "you've been training for 10 F*ing months to walk? i remember the isolation of being in "no man's land". I remember also the exhiliration of knowing that at a certain point that i was going to finish, the thrill of seeing the "city limit" sign in Atlanta knowing it was only 3 more miles. i remember the high moments when i was above pace, and the defeated sensations of struggling to move up one more hill. How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it? AWESOME!!!!! i had done what only a thousand had done before me. I had joined a "rank" of people that i had looked up at with awe. I was a (skate) marathoner. Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this? you worry because you know this is not to be lightly undertaken, you respect the race and wonder if your worthy of it. YOU ARE!!! you place certain expectations on yourself, most likely a challenge and wonder if your up to the challenge,YOU ARE!!! you understand that many things can affect your outcome some within your control and some out of your control and wonder if and how you'll overcome these. That i can't answer for you but if your smart, not over doing it you'll reduce a lot of the possible scenarios, such as injury and illness. Don't beat yourself up litterally of figuratively. you, by far, are and will be your harshest critic. I nkow this is the pot calling the kettle black, but don't be so critical on yourself. you a smart woman, you are a great runner already, you have the a great support team NOW GET OUT AND KICK SOME AZZ!!!!!!!! :coach:
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What made you decide to run your first marathon? I was 19 when I did. That was a summer of 13 road races and it was just one of many. I found that one day I ran a 10-miler in the morning and then a 16-miler in the evening and figured, what the heck, I'll run a marathon. Back in the '80s, marathons hadn't become that great benchmark in the sky that they are now. Having finished one didn't seem like a big deal in running circles back then. Heck, there was no finisher medals, no websites, no timing chips, no heart rate monitors... the only decision was, "can I run a 26.2-miler?". What goals did you have when you made that commitment? Just to finish it. What kinds of highs and lows did you experience? Maybe it was the naivety of being a teen, but I ran it off of track training and a long run of 18 (in addition to plenty of high mileage doubles). It was just another race on the schedule :shrug: How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it? There wasn't much out there back then on avoiding the bonk. I was on a great pace to around 20 and hit the wall. I would have liked to have finished with my early pace, but just finishing was reward enough the first time. It did take me 17-yrs to run my second marathon, so I guess I wasn't happy enough with the result to keep trying right away again. Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this? If there's one thing I would like you to consider is that a single 26.2 mile run doesn't define you as a person. If you are imagining some kind of grand race report that will validate something inside you, that's not really what the marathon is about. The marathon is simply a 26.2 mile run at the end of a journey. It's about the journey. It's about the training, the mindset of getting your body to a level of fitness and stamina that you won't find in any other kind of pursuit. Being able to crank out a 10-miler one day and then a 20-miler the next will happen but during a select few times in your life most likely. And in the journey of marathon training, you find more and more days where the running becomes easy. The road literally does rise up to meet your feet. Those high mileage months payoff with new found doses of runner's high. You'll think back to days you struggled with 5-milers and be amazed that 5-milers are but a morning 'work-out-the-kinks' jaunt. You will train in the rain, on the trails, down mainstreet and on all the backroads. Knowing every stretch of road in a ten mile radius of your home will give you a sense of security. A sense of place. A sense of knowing you've run that road. You've run everywhere. There's no where you can't run. And 26.2 miles on marathon day just becomes another chuck of ashpalt to peel off like the hundreds and hundreds of miles you've put behind you.
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I think I might be one of those people you were talking about. I definitely didn't take my marathon very seriously, it was almost a last minute decision to do it. However, I understand the pressure/nerves/stress you are dealing with, it reminds me of how I get facing a big music audition. I take that VERY sersiously. Anyway, lemme answer some of your questions as best I can and you can follow up if you like... So, I'm asking... What made you decide to run your first marathon? I knew I wanted to do it eventually, at the time I wanted to do one waaaaaaaaayyyy down the road after I was much faster and more perfect and etc blah blah blah. Well, I found myself running the same mileage as people training for MCM, NYCM and chicago and said "what the hey, you only live once, worst case scenario I go up and hang out with some college friends" I will say that once it was official it became VERY stressful, suddenly I doubted everything I was doing. However I was fortunate to be training my long runs with several veterans who were very reassuring. As were many people here, particularly Alanintx. What goals did you have when you made that commitment? strictly to finish. I knew this probably wouldn't be my only marathon (I still have this idea my running is going to completely chnage someday and I'll run some fabulous times ) and I wanted to get used to the idea and experience of the distance and just survive it without hating it. What kinds of highs and lows did you experience? very dramatic ones on a weekly basis. Two of the worst: I found a wall on a 16 mile run and finished bawling because I knew I didn't have 10 miles left in me. God Bless Alan for talking me down from that one. And then I got injured 3 weeks before. That was mentally crushing. However in some warped way it really helped me relax about the whole thing because instead of putting some time on myself, I really didn't think I was going to make it, so I thought "If I finish and still have a foot attached to my leg when this is over, I've succeeded" and REALLY truly meant it. How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it? Two thoughts: I was VERY VERY VERY proud. VERY proud of myself. Its people's reaction to 5:46:01 that makes me a little ashamed of that time. And yes, I know I can and plan to do better in the future but read above, that wasn't my goal for this time. I was hoping to survive the experience with all my tendons still attached. Seriously, we've chatted a tiny bit but from what I've read and know of you you have it in you. Its just a matter of combatting your brain. Seriously. Best of luck to you. edited because I noticed I didn't reply to this one: Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this? I defer to jrjo's answer. Couldn't have said it better.
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What really motivated me was.... hey wait a minute... I haven't even run a marathon!!! The closest thing I have to a marathon is participating in the same 1/2 marathon two years in a row. :P

Noley, you will be just fine. You were born to run. You train hard and you make sure that you train right. You'll do awesome. I have total confidence in you and your abilities.
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this rocks.
never done one noley, but i'd imagine if determination is part of the equation, you're good to go.
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What made you decide to run your first marathon?
I did my first marathon just to support a friend of mine who was running his first marathon after many years of smoking, drinking and drugs. I had no intention of running more than the first few miles, but I ended up finishing. My second marathon was really my first real decision to run a marathon. A friend of mine and I decided to do it, so I couldn't back out once I said yes.

What goals did you have when you made that commitment?
My first one really wasn't a commitment. Since my longest run was just 6 miles, I planned on just going to the race to support my friend and only run the first few miles. I finished in 3:53, but it wasn't pretty. For my second marathon, my goals were to finish ahead of my friend and qualify for Boston. I felt I had a shot at going sub 3:00, so that became my secret goal.

What kinds of highs and lows did you experience?
In training, I struggled badly with the long runs. I really did not like them, and I cut them very short. This showed itself in the race itself as I ran well the first 18-20 miles, but then mentally and physically broke down. It is such a long race, I just wanted to be done.

How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it?
For my first race, I was mostly just embarrassed. I told almost no one that I had even done it. I just thought of it as just something I did on a whim so it had no real significance. My second marathon was my first half way serious one, and I finished pretty well (2:49). Lots of people though I did great, but I was well aware myself that I had run no where close to what I should have run with good training. I was happy with my result, but anxious to step from a good marathon to a great one.

Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this?
I think the most important thing about a first marathon is just to finish it and not worry about how you do or what your time is. It doesn't have to be a big pressure thing. Do one to say you have done a marathon, and get experience with that distance. Then if you like it, race it a little more seriously the next time.

One other important thing is don't think you need to run a marathon to be a real runner. Most of the best runners I know have never run a marathon. It isn't the best race distance for most people, and many people would enjoy their running and be more successful at it by not doing marathons at all. If it is the right thing for you, great. If not, don't feel compelled to do it to prove something. My neighbor ran an Amercian record for 5K, which proves a lot more about her as a runner than the fact she has never done a marathon and doesn't want to.
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What made you decide to run your first marathon? My friends that I train with do a marathon every New Year's Eve. When I was 18 or 19, I had been running with them for a few years and decided that I could do it as well. What goals did you have when you made that commitment? To finish. At the time, I felt like running a marathon would make me a true distance runner. What kinds of highs and lows did you experience? Can't really remember. I was excited about finishing. I never hit the wall in that run. How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it? I was excited because I was able to finish. I had struggled for a year or two at getting over a barrier at mile 14. Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this? I agree with what Jrjo said. The journey is the main thing. For me, the race day is just another run to go out and have fun doing. You are going to be nervous the first time. You are going to be nervous the second time. Heck, you are going to be nervous the 10th time! I know I get nervous before every marathon I do. Even though I don't think I showed it, I was nervous before RnRAZ. As a last final thought, I know exactly how you are feeling. I'm feeling the same way right now about a race that I said I would do. However, I've decided that even if I decide not to do the race, I'm going to train as if I was. Then on the race day, while I sit here and regret not doing the race, at least I know to myself that I could have done it. In the end, the discovery and reformation of yourself during the process is what matters.
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this rocks.
I printed it and it is now hanging on my wall.
Sheldon
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Great stuff jrjo!
I haven't run but three times this entire calendar year and I want to go out and pump out 7 or 8 miles NOW! :|
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Great stuff jrjo!
I haven't run but three times this entire calendar year and I want to go out and pump out 7 or 8 miles NOW! :|
you guys all beat me to it. this is one of the most inspirational things i have read here...seriously this is AWESOME!!!!! :thumbsup:
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What made you decide to run your first marathon? It was an idea that just grew until one day I realized I was going to do it. I started out thinking that anyone who ran the full was nuts, insane, etc... Then I became preoccupied with people who ran 26.2 until one day, I realized I was going to do it. I then couldn't wait to start training. What goals did you have when you made that commitment? To finish, upright. Seriously. I just wanted to finish and not be in agony. What kinds of highs and lows did you experience? I can't recall any lows. Maybe there were some, and maybe I've blocked them out. I do remember amazement as our mileage progressed and I knew I was getting stronger, and stronger. How did you feel about your overall results when you completed it? When I completed my first one, I was smiling from ear to ear. Our time was horrible, embarrasing, much worse than predicted, but we had such a good time. My friend I was running with was injured, and it took a toll on her, but she kept on. I wasn't disappointed in the least. It was truly one of the best times in my life. The second, I hated. I expected too much, went out way too fast, was recovering from an injury myself, and in short, did everything wrong. I PR'd (at still a horribly slow unrespectable time) but didn't haven nearly as much fun as I did at White Rock. Can you tell me anything else that will put me at rest with this? Just think about this weeks training. Don't look at a schedule and worry about what's coming up. You can do it. The training is the hardest part (and my favorite, I love it!) The race is just the payoff for all your hard work. You can definitely do this. You are ready, and you will have a great time. I can't wait to welcome you into the club!!!
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