Monday, June 29, 2009

*** MaRaThOn MoNdAy ***

Today is my first posting for my series "Marathon Mondays!" One of my main focuses of this blog is to talk about my experience training for my current (as well as past) marathons. I am NOT an exercise science major, a personal trainer, or an expert in this field. However, having two marathons under my belt, I have a fair amount of knowledge - both from my own experiences, and from reading an abundance of info from various sources.

When I was training for my first marathon I could not find a blog out there that talked about these topics, so that was part of my motivation to make this blog, hoping it would be a blog that both novice and experienced runners could enjoy!

Today I'm going to start from the very beginning, and to talk about how I became interested in running.

When I was young - we are talking elementary through middle school - I was pretty much the epitomy of a non-athlete. My father was a huge sports nuts, and poor Dad, he tried so hard to get me into various sports as a kid. I tried gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming, karate, pretty much everything under the sun! However, I didn't like sports AND I didn't seem to have any natural ability whatsoever. As an adult I realize that natural ability is not really that important, that it's your dedication and how much effort you put into something that matters. But as a kid, when you aren't naturally good at something and you don't enjoy it, it's tough to want to continue it.
I especially hated gym class... and the WORST of the WORST was when we had to complete a mandatory one-mile run as part of the President's Physical Fitness Challenge! Did you guys have to do this as a kid?? Or was this just some miserable form of torture that was solely inflicted on children in Indiana? I work in Chicago schools and our kids don't have to go through this...

Let's just sum it up by saying that until high school, I was NEVER able to run the mile the whole way through... I always walked most of it. I can't remember what happened in high school - there may have been a time once when I SLOWLY ran the whole thing - but more likely than not I walked part of it.

At the very tail end of high school, for whatever reason I started to go to the local YMCA and go more into working out. Slowly this segued into me actually sometimes running, on my own, because I wanted to. I never went far though.

In college I would sometimes run 2-3 miles around the track at the university gym (the good old SRSC at Indiana University). I would always work out early in the morning before class, and my 2-3 miles gave me a great boost of energy that usually carried me throughout the rest of the day. One day during the summer after my freshman year I found myself drawn to a book called "Marathoning for Mortals", by John Bingham ("The Penguin"). For whatever reason, I got an idea in my head that a marathon would be a cool, crazy thing to do, and I read the book cover to cover within a few days. Then, I went back to running my 2-3 miles for quite a while after that, and was perfectly content with this.

One day my senior year... I remember it was a Wednesday - I had more free time on my hands because I didn't have class that afternoon and had no homework to do - I found myself at the SRSC. I started my run around the track.... and after 3 miles... I KEPT GOING!!!! And going, and going, and before you know it, I was the little Hoosier Energizer bunny that could. I ended up running 7 miles that day!!!

It was one of those GREAT runs too - that makes you feel like you are flying - and I was HOOKED that instant. At the time, 7 miles was completely unheard of. I was so giddy and could not stop talking about how far I ran to anyone I talked to after that. About 15 hours later, before I knew it, I had signed myself up for the Chicago Banco Popular half marathon - the race date was 8 months from then! I figured since I had already accomplished 7, then a half marathon was the next step. (I was also super inspired by my older cousin, Liane, who had completed a marathon the fall before, and also went on later to complete her second the year after!)

I think my enthusiasm was contagious, because I convinced my friend Lisa to run the half with me.

The training was tough at times - especially because Lisa and I were in different cities for much of it so I was often running alone - but completing the half marathon felt like a huge success!!! It was actually a really hot day (which doesn't bode well for my temperature-sensitive self!) and it wasn't the easiest run due to the high temps, but we both finished strong!

After completing the half... of COURSE the next step was to sign up for a full marathon!!! More on my first marathon experience during the next segment of my "Marathon Mondays" series!

What was your "magic moment" that made you want to become a stronger athlete or to take on a new challenge?


  1. Your inaugural Marathon Monday is a great story. My story is that I wanted to do something spectacular for my 30th and running was something that was completely out of character for me. I ran a half that year and then a full marathon the following year. I now prefer halfs.

    Coincidentally, I also went to IU (Journalism school '97)!

  2. Wonderful story! Now there's something great to look forward to on Mondays (Tuesdays where I am :P).

  3. great post!!! its always so awesome to see how far people come :)

  4. Awesome post! It's great hearing about other people's journeys! Btw, you were NOT alone in that mile middle school didn't have a track so we had to run a few loops on the grass fields! I was lucky if I made it in like 12 minutes.

    I got hooked on running when a friend convinced me to run the Gulf Coast Relief 5K a few years ago. Then in 2007 I did TNT and that was the most motivating experience ever. I ended up switching to a full marathon mid season!