The #1 Thing I've Gained from Running. And Marathon Goals.


As of this writing, my first marathon is less than four days away. 

Over the last 17 weeks, I have run 334.27 miles, which averages out to just under 13 full marathons. I have spent almost 60 hours running and burned 11 pounds (equal to approximately 222 donuts woo!) over 54 workouts

Since January. 
All in preparation for one 26.2-mile race through the streets of downtown Oklahoma City. 
I feel ready. More than ready. In fact, I have complete confidence that I will be able to finish and that (if all goes according to the plan), I will be receiving my finisher's medal around 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. 

I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit that whenever I think about crossing that finish line, I get tears in my eyes. When I started this whole thing 17 weeks ago, I saw 15, 18, and 20 miles on my schedule and felt doubt. Could I do it? 

Three years ago I was doing run/walk intervals while training for my first half marathon. Now I'm days away from being a marathoner.

Running is a whole world of its own, and a lot of people don't get it. Why spend money to run around outside when you could run around outside for free? Is it really worth it to spend 60 or 70 or even 100 dollars+ just to torture yourself? 

To that I say, it's not just the race itself that I'm paying for. I've spread my $75 race fee over 17 weeks of preparation and anticipation, talking to other runners, reading running blogs, and most of all: those 60 hours on the road. Just me, my Garmin, and my ipod. 

For a while I wondered what I was going to do when this whole thing was over. What was there to prepare for after running a marathon? But now I know: I will keep running. I'll keep signing up for races because I love it. It's okay if other people don't get it. 

Three years ago, I signed up to run a half marathon. I spent the summer training, and I spent all summer stressed out because I wasn't sure I could do it. I doubted myself. Three years and four days later, I will be running twice that far, and I don't have any doubt I can do it. 

That's the #1 thing I've gained from running: confidence in myself. 

It's being oddly excited for a 16-mile run because it's longer than you've ever run before. It's knowing that as long as you start, you can't lose. It's crossing that finish line and knowing you gave it all you had. It's doing something that once sounded impossible.

So if you've ever told yourself you could never run a 5k or a 10k or a half marathon or a full marathon or any other fitness exercise, I am here to tell you that you only can't because you didn't try. Make a plan, stick with it, and it will happen.

Marathon Goals

1. I'm adding my name to the list of first-time marathoners who have a time goal even though veteran marathoners insist they shouldn't. Obviously I will just be happy to finish, but I just can't help but make a time goal. You can say I told you so later. 


My plan of attack is to stick with the 4:30 pace group and see how it goes. However, if it's not going well, I am going to keep in mind goal #2: 

2. Enjoy the race.

Whether or not I decide to run more marathons, this is the only first marathon I will have, and I want to enjoy it. Obviously I will be tired and winded and feel like I want to die, but by enjoy it I just mean that I want to do my best while still having fun when I see my family cheering me on. I would sacrifice time just to slow down and not have a miserable time of it because I was trying to go too fast. 

So there you have it. 

17 weeks has come down to 4 days. I stuck to my plan for the most part, and now I'll just be chugging water and avoiding high-fiber foods. Crossing my fingers for no bathroom stops! 

By the way, here is a copy of my marathon training plan. I looked at 3 or 4 plans and then combined them all into one that would work best for me. I adjusted when it was necessary based on sickness, weather, travel, or other unforeseen events, but for the most part I am very proud with how well I did. 

This is the final version of all the runs I actually completed. (Note: Week 12 I only did one run because I caught the flu! That was terrible.) As you can see, I mostly ran on Tues, Thurs, and Saturday. I found that having specific days to run helped keep me focused and motivated.

So wish me luck and think thoughts of good weather and fast times on Sunday! 
Thanks so much for those of you who followed me on this journey 
and for all the comments of encouragement along the way. 
26.2 or bust.

--follow me--
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Niken said...

i hope you can achieve your goal! good luck in the marathon!!
me and running not get along too well. ha

shelleystirs said...

I was just thinking of you and your marathon this morning. I hope you achieve your goal!

Dara @ Not In Jersey said...

good luck!

Breenah said...

Good luck!!!

I'm still having issues imagining running my 5K on the 4th, I can't comprehend running for 4 hours even though I'm well aware of marathons.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog, via Thoughts $ Whatnots. :) Good luck with your race! I have never done anything like this before, and think people who do are pretty awesome. ;)

Unknown said...

excited for your race on sunday! good luck!

Mimsie said...

You will do great! Think of your blog supporters if you lag at some point--as I sit here in my comfy chair ;)

Claire@MyDevising said...

You'll be great!

Unknown said...

It's always funny to me when people think it's amazing that they accomplish their goals. Not like, "wow, i never thought they'd do it," but like, "well duh. of course they were gunna do it." I guess that's why we learn to accomplish our goals for ourselves, because other people's thought don't matter. Even tho I've been sitting around this whole time figuring you'd do it whether you thought you would or not. I mean, you're already on my poster. I expect to see u! Have fun!

twiggy@thedirtlife said...

First of all, I'm wishing you luck because I'm so proud of you.

Second of all, just realized I wasn't following! D-oh! Fixed that.

Third of all, I'll be thinking of you on Sunday because that's when I'll be doing my 1/2 and when I finish I'll think, "She still has 13 more miles to go." And I'll be so proud of you.

Fourth of all, I get it. So, there's that :)

Anonymous said...

Good luck!!!!!!

Curly Pink Runner said...

New to your from Little Girl in the Big World...
YAY for your first marathon! I just ran my first last Saturday- such an amazing experience!!
Good luck and will be looking forward to reading all about it!

Katie said...

can't wait to hear how it goes!! i agree - the confidence you gain through the training is such a good lesson to learn!

Lauren said...

I can't wait to hear your update!

Unknown said...

Hey Amanda, I really appreicate your running blog. I've been searching all morning for a 3x/week running schedule. I know you've posted one, but I'm in Canada so for the next few months my running will be indoors on a treadmill. I find if I try to "wing" my workouts I end up cheating and being lame. SO, what I've been searching for is a 3x/week, treadmill training schdule - shows what speed and incline I should be at for every minute of the workout. That way I can't cheat! All I can find so far are 5-6x/week or schdules that are NOT for beginners (which I am). If you could point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks again for taking the time to write How to Start Running. I've read all of it :)

Unknown said...

Found some! Thank heavens for Pinterest!

The Lady Okie said...

Excellent! I'm glad you found something that will work. And thank you so much for your comment! I am SO happy to hear that the running series was helpful to you. Good luck with your training!