This year, I will attempt to complete my first full marathon. So my journey, to be exact, will be 26.2 miles.
A little background about me:
I've spent the vast majority of my life being incredibly un-sporty. I was the chubby nerdy kid who was naturally strong, but got winded going up a flight of stairs. (As an adult, I'm still that way.)
I first seriously started working out at the end of high school - tired of being the token fat person among my group of friends, I started lifting weights and doing Pilates videos, and found that I enjoyed the feeling of using my muscles and feeling hardness rather than jelly when I poked my calves. In college, I joined the varsity swim team on a whim - being Division III, they didn't turn me away - and was voted Most Improved by the end of the year. (It's easy to be Most Improved when you're starting at the bottom.) I wish I could say that I was the miracle story - that I worked my way up to first place and became the star swimmer, but I wasn't. I was consistently last except for one time - but you know what? That was my goal, not to come in last at least one time.
I didn't really stay on the team after the first season, but the sporty bug had bitten, and I was on to my next hobby - running. Well, walking. On a whim, I signed up to do a 5k - the Race to Stop Global Warming in Portland, OR in the spring of 2002. I didn't train. I didn't know anything about running, the sport - I only knew about running, the action. I barely ran, took almost an hour to finish, but I was hooked. To someone else, it might be just a mere 3.1 miles. To me, it was an accomplishment, and the tears in my eyes as I crossed the finish line cemented a love that would last for years.
Since then, I've done numerous 5k's, a couple 12k's (the famed Bay to Breakers in San Francisco), and have completed the Nike Women's (Half) Marathon every year since 2004. Though that sounds like a lot, it's really not enough for me. Every year, I've set out with intentions to train, and every year, I lose my momentum, get lazy, and I end up walking it. (13.1 miles is still a long way to walk, but I've never felt proud of myself for defaulting to walking because of my ill-preparedness.) In fact, there are very few races I've done where I did
What is going to make this year different? I don't know. Am I in better shape? A little - I've just spent two months in roller derby bootcamp, and I'm stronger than I've been in years, but I haven't actually gone running in a while. Am I more focused? I don't know, but every year that I don't do this, I want it more and more. Full disclosure: I didn't do the race this past year because I had just had a baby, and I'm itching to get back out there and do it again - I could not have been sadder than I was the night before the race, knowing that I wasn't going to get up at 3am the next morning and drive into the city as I had done every year for five years.
So maybe this is my year. I've got time, I've got a lot of knowledge (I have over the years become quite the running nerd, even if I'm not a good runner), and I've got my race entry. Let the training begin.