About two years ago, after going to the Publix Marathon Expo to pick up my race bib, I decided that I might try to run a marathon. It was never something I thought I could do, nor did I really want to do. Even running a half was not something I had ever thought about doing.
I signed up for my first half as a "let's just try this and see what happens". After barely any training and a very painful first half, I wasn't sure if I would ever do it again. This was the Atlanta Half (on Thanksgiving) in 2009. I remember it being very cold and my hands swelling and just being miserable the last part of the course. The first 7 flew by however and I thought if I had just trained better, maybe this would be easier.
Decided to try again and did the ING Half in March of 2010. This one went much better. I continued to do shorter races - Peachtree and the Kaiser Corporate challenge each year (getting PRs each time).
On a whim, I signed up for the Disney Half for 2011. I only had about a month to train for it and it showed as I ran it pretty slow. Then came the Publix Half in 2011 which is when I decided on trying a marathon.
Training started in August and I had a couple of 5ks and another Half (the 13.1 in October which despite knee pain I managed another PR). I had problems with my knee and had to do PT but was still able to get in all of my training runs. Just going 14 miles was a high point for me as that was the longest I'd ever run up to that point. When I finished the 20 mile, it was such an accomplishment for me. And this was still with a little pain in the knee.
January 8th came and I was on my way to my first marathon. The first half was great and then all of a sudden I was at mile 20. Now I was in unknown territory. But I only had a 10k to go - I knew I could do it. I had slowed my pace down a lot by this point as my knee and ankle were starting to hurt - luckily they had bio-freeze along the course and that helped. Mile 24 got us close to the end and we neared Epcot. About mile 25ish, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said "you did it!" It was such a great feeling. The entire last mile I was so choked up and almost crying as I crossed the finish line. Very few things in my life have compared to how I felt finishing the race.
March came around and I was signed up again for the Publix Half but at the last minute decided to switch to the full. My mindset after running Disney was that this would be my one and only full. But I was unhappy with my time and wanted to better myself. Between January and March the longest run I did was a 12 miler. Was I even prepared for a full again? Not to mention the Publix Marathon was full of hills and was set to be a hot one. Somehow I managed to better my time by a good 15 minutes.
At this point I had a goal that one day I would do Goofy: the Disney Marathon and 1/2. I did not expect to actually really do it. But I ended up signing up for it in May and now it is less than a week away!
More to come...