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Why I (Still) Ran a Marathon

Hi all!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted… and it’s felt even longer. But guess what?! I ran a marathon. By myself. Because I wanted to and here’s the story of why that was totally the right move for me.

In the before times i was suppose to run the Lincoln Marathon in Nebraska 5/3. It would have meant checking off another state in my casual/life time quest to run a marathon in all 50 states and also the first time really racing a marathon in over a year. While I was finishing my masters, marathons took a back seat as I needed to focus my attention on other things so this was going to be my come back marathon!

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As 2020 kicked off, I was feeling really strong. At WDW Marathon Weekend I ran a sub 1:40 half during the Dopey Challenge and I knew my training base was solid. As I continued to train into February, I was really excited for the solid workouts that would hopefully lead me to a new marathon PR at the Lincoln Marathon. And then… well… everything happened. When they made the call to cancel the race I was totally okay with that call because 1) my anxiety was maxed out in mid-Mar due to COVID-19 and it was leaving me physically and mentally exhausted and not really in top training condition and 2) for the health and safety of everyone it was the right call.

It continues to be the right call for all races as we learn more about what COVID-19 is, how it can be treated, who’s most at risk, and how best to protect ourselves from it.

So my race was cancelled but then… I kind of just kept training for it. My training plan was already set up and I just kept putting off re-configuring my training plan it because, well, I honestly didn’t know what else to do. I ran an 18 mile run right before the race was officially cancelled and told us they would still send us a medal if we ran it virtually but I had no desire to do any 20 mile runs if I wasn’t toeing a real start line. So while I did not run any 20 milers, I did get in a few 17 milers because I just felt like running long.

So as what would’ve been race day approached I was still running pretty consistently and I knew I could complete the distance even if it might not be fast or particularly strong. Plus, running around my neighborhood means a lot more elevation than most road race courses so if I ran it I KNEW I was not looking to run a PR. Honestly, mentally I was not in a space to push myself to that pain threshold if I wasn’t on a race course.

But I kept thinking about it and thinking about it and even the day before I was still not sure if I would run 26.2 but then it just felt right… I wanted to run a marathon.

It wasn’t going to be fast but mentally I wanted to feel that distance. I wanted to exhaust myself. I wanted to be outside just thinking about the run. I wanted the time to get out of my head and have a moment to recognize and feel the changes that had happened in the last 8 weeks. I wanted to run 26.2 to have time stop for just a moment and mentally check out from the day-to-day.

22C323EA-75D9-4AB4-B7B2-45767DD50099.jpegThe run was just what I needed. There were parts were I felt strong. There were parts I felt crazy. There were parts that left my emotions raw. I got into this focused mental state where I just have to think about running and moving forward and it pushes the other thoughts out. It left me empty and full all at the same time.

I didn’t finish particularly fast because that wasn’t the point.

I just wanted to feel that distance. i wanted to feel that specific soreness in my legs and feet and just know that I could do hard things. The past couple of months had been hard and this helped prove I was tougher.

I can do hard things, I can push through, and I can feel that all encompassing exhaustion knowing I still have more miles to go and keep going.E0B2C258-6D00-40F3-9DE8-ACD6A351A62C.jpeg

That is why I still ran my marathon and that’s why it meant so much to me.

So as we all adapt to this new normal and we figure out the future of running and racing together, know you are stronger and more capable than ever. We all just need a little reminder every once in a while.

Hope you are healthy, safe, and running well!

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