From 1 block to 1 marathon in less than 1 year

Ready to run

In 2010, I was a 39-year-old, unhappily married mother of a teenager, and I wanted to run away from home. So one day I walked out the front door, popped on my headset, and started running. And I made it about a block.

But there was a little spark inside me that told me running would make me feel better, even if everything stayed the same at home.  A few weeks later, in early March, I found myself building a website for a personal trainer in exchange for private training. Within about six weeks of training that bordered on torture, I had a jumpstart on running. By July 2010, I’d run my first 5k and I started getting up awful early to run with a group of women. One member of the group, Amy, declared, “I’m running a marathon in 2011.”

At the time, our longest runs were about 6 miles, and even those still weren’t easy for me. For years, I’d fantasized about running a marathon. My step-father ran one, despite weighing in on the obese level of the scales, and he still refers to that run as one of the best experiences of his life. Well, perhaps surviving the run was the best experience. I’m sure the actual run was miserable at the time.

So I told Amy that I was in, and I told her I’d drag Lori in, too. On October 10, 2010, Amy and I nailed down a marathon:

Amy: Yes, I know you are busy and I may be interrupting. Just wanted to give you a link for a list of marathons around the country — looks like we can pretty much take our pick of places beginning after the new year…
me: groovy!
Amy: And just FYI — Austin Marathon is February 20. :)
me: woah. Ok, doable. wanna do it?
Amy: YES. I’m saying yes to Austin Marathon. woohoo!
 me: cool. i’m in. i think Lori’s in, too.  ;)
 Amy: YAY!

I’m not sure that we actually had buy-in from Lori at this point, but her protests weren’t emphatic enough for me to take seriously.

On November 11, 2010, Amy and I registered for the 2011 Austin Marathon:

me: what did you put as expected finish time when  you registered for the marathon
Amy: 4.5 hours
 me: seriously
 Amy: okay 5

Amy and I registered and booked our rooms.

Amy: YAY!
me: i’m scared.  do you think I can do it?
Amy: absolutely. you are a powerhouse.  plus, and I really mean this, running is ultimately psychological
  you can do as much as you think you can
me: people say that, but it feels knees-gical
Amy: I know. There will be pain. But there will also be a finish line.
me: i’m stoked
Amy: me too. I hope Lori jumps on the wagon with us!
me: she will. she knows she will, but just hasn’t admitted it yet

Ready to drink

On February 20, 2011, Amy, Lori, and I ran the Austin Marathon together. Then Lori and I hobbled to the hotel bar, and Amy hobbled to an ice bath. Later that evening we reunited for well-earned margaritas and tequila shots at Gueros, where we unabashedly showed off our blistered feet and blackened toenails. And we were happy, drunk, and happy.

One Response to From 1 block to 1 marathon in less than 1 year

  1. I want that. Blackened toenails, blisters and all. Dammit.