After I ran the Boston Marathon in 2011, I declared right then and there that I would never run another full marathon again. “I’m retired, I will focus on shorter races.” This made a lot of sense at the time as I was five months postpartum and would soon be pregnant with our fourth child. Training for a marathon was the last thing I wanted to do. Like, ever again.
But let’s be serious. I love the marathon. I’ve been running marathons since 2001. I love the discipline, the focus and the stress of following a marathon training plan. It’s more time-intensive than a half marathon. You have to plan everything: your pre-run meals, your fuel during long runs, your recovery strategy. It’s an ordeal. Which quickly becomes a lifestyle.
At the beginning of the summer, I shared my 2009 Chicago Marathon training plan — the one I used to BQ — with my friend Jen, and I remember thinking, “Holy cow! I did all of this? And survived?!?” I was filled with excitement and anxiety as I talked her through the speedwork and importance of long runs and nutrition, and when she asked me to train with her, I couldn’t resist. And who trains for a marathon without running it? No one.
So, I quietly wrote up my own conservative plan and told myself that if it all went well, I would run the Columbus Marathon — which meant going back on my word and coming out of retirement. OK, fine.
I have accepted the fact that my glory days are probably behind me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t give it my all. Just finishing a 16-mile run is difficult, so I consider that a real win. In fact, I consider it an accomplishment to get four kids to eat breakfast and brush their teeth in the morning, and sometimes I do that after a 10-mile run. My goals are different now: get to the start line without getting hurt and finish with a smile.
So, there wasn’t an earth-shattering reason for me to run this marathon. Nothing more than the tugging at the heart, and the nagging question in my head: Can you still do this? Of course I can, so of course I will. — Amie