The Journey to Marathon Day

Since a few of you asked for a bit more about the marathon…here’s a little bit about my journey to marathon day:

January 31, 2011

I hit confirm and paid my $91.05 (with tax).  I did this mostly on a whim. I decided that if I wasn’t going to be moving back to Africa like planned then I wouldn’t be able to do the Two Oceans marathon so then I might as well do something. I needed something to look forward to when all seemed snowy and dark.  I wanted a goal, something happy. So, I committed and took the plunge of hitting submit. Plus, if you’re going to run a marathon, it’s gotta be legit.

Hello mixed emotions of “whoa did I really just do that with yay hello training.”


Indoor training. Love me some track running even if I have to go around and around and around. 14 times around a track per mile gets a bit tedious.  Thank goodness the distance wasn’t horribly long at this point.  I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning and loved playing with my Garmin watch.  Tracking heart rate, pace, and all sorts of fun things.  Plus, I got fancy new shoes–pretty pink Asics. All in all, I totally embraced the honeymoon stage.


Changes throw me for a loop.  I am an S (shout out to disc) which means that I do love structure, routine, schedules, and consistency.  These months challenged me because the weather started getting nice–kind of…Minnesota is weird like that.  I wanted to run outside, but had to wait until later in the day.  This meant a lot of runs getting switched around or missed.  All of which stressed me out because I wasn’t able to check the run off my list! I’m a list girl (oh hey J from mbti).  Here’s where God taught me about grace.  Giving grace to myself. Learning to prioritize. Learning to let go of the little things. Seeing that life does go on if my run moves to another day.  Embracing cross training. Allowing myself to be flexible and still live life.  Going on that bike ride with friends instead of a run because I love people and they matter more than a schedule.


Cue freak out month and even more changes.  I adjusted to my job at school ending for the summer and warm weather.  I went through a long time where I totally stopped running. I threw my plan out the window and ran when I wanted and did cross training with lots of days off. I had gotten through my last long run (cue point in my training where I decided I do not like my asics but I am committed to them for this marathon) and I needed to reclaim the joy of running. I missed running with God. I missed running for fun. My marathon plan suffocated me and I wanted air. I so very much didn’t want to burn out on running because I do love it. However, because of these crazy last few weeks…I totally got extremely nervous about running the race and battled in my mind over whether I even wanted to do it.  Many times I said I don’t even know if I want to run. This is where that commitment and money paid in January came back to hit me over the head along with my achiever personality. I said yes. So I would let my yes be yes. I wasn’t going to back out now even if I was so ridiculously fearful of failing and failing miserably. At some point, I threw my hands up in the air and said let’s do this and let’s just ENJOY. That’s become part of my word for the year. Learning how to enjoy even when I’m scared I won’t live up to my own expectations and learning to love life.  Still working on it.

Day before the marathon

Totally embraced it and here’s where all my mental game sprang into action with knowing what a long run feels like, playing my head games of “Oh only 8 miles to go, no big deal.”  Smiling and laughing and listening to good music and chatting with God. Remembering that He’s the one who will do this with me. Being thankful and intentional about seeing Him everywhere. Finding that grit and stubbornness inside me that I SO need to carry over into a few other situations in my life…I have it, I know what it feels like, sometimes I just lose sight of it amidst the hurt and the digging deep and looking back to let go. That last bit was a side note but if you got it then yay for you and you get a bit of me and you probably had a conversation with me about finding that confidence that’s lacking =)

Marathon Day:

Love. Pure love. I am still like how can I recreate more of that in my life. Read more from yesterday’s post here.

Post Marathon:

Oh hey I can’t WAIT to pick another event to sign up for even though I can barely walk and I’m ridiculously sore.  Not to mention I had to give myself a pep talk: “I ran a marathon….I can make it up six steps!”  But I totally am looking at new events already and I want to do something new! Maybe an Ironman, Half Ironman, Ultra marathon, trail marathon. So many options. Decisions and weighing all the possibilities. Cue my analytical and detail crazy information gatherer personality. Not to mention that I need new cute running shoes. So, I loved it. So much. Here’s to pondering what to do next and actually chatting this one over with God a bit more =)

So, all in all. I definitely found myself on a topsy-turvy, up and down journey to marathon day.

Are there things I’d do differently? Absolutely. I learned a LOT. Though, in the areas where I “failed” those are the ones that I see so much to be pondered in my heart.  Even in writing this out, I see the areas where running this race translates into so much… so I’m still processing and pondering.  I do a lot of that. There’s a bit more for you to fill in the picture of this crazy thing called a marathon.

What about you…what have you learned from some journeys in your life? Have you experienced the honeymoon and the hard stages too?