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marathon

Just Keep Running, Whatever You Do!

You’ve finished that big race-either your half marathon, marathon, or first 5K. Now what?

Many runners finish their big races and say a variety of different things, such as:

“I’ll NEVER do this again.”

“I’ll do this again, but maybe in 10 years when the kids are older.”

“When’s the next race?”

I ran my first marathon when I was 18.  After I ran that race, I had no desire to run another one any time soon. When I finally did have that feeling again, I was 33.  In between that time, I just ran. I ran for pleasure and for fitness. I threw in a few races here and there but I really never wanted to commit to training and running races. I ran so many races in highschool that by the time I ran my first marathon my sophomore year at Syracuse, I realized I did not want to make that type of time committment to the sport. I was also active racing lasers (sailboats) and competing on the Syracuse Equestrian team.

In the fifteen years between my two marathons however, I have always run long distance. Some months were better than others; some years were better than others. Through the job changes, moves, relationships, adventures, travel, and the loss of my parents and other loved ones, running was always has, and always will be, my muse.

When I decided to run my second marathon, the timing may not have been very good, but then again, when I look back, it might have been what I needed.

I spent 2001 burying my mother, moving into new home, burying my grandmother, then planning for a wedding. My bridal shower was just three days before 9/11.

After marrying in November 2001, I decided to run my second marathon. I don’t remember how I got involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society but I did not hesitate to sign up for the race and the training program. In looking back, there could not have been a better way to prolong mourning the deaths of the two most important women my life. Why not prolong mourning and train for a race? Let’s also make it even more challenging. Let’s go back to the people who just gave you wedding gifts and ask them for money, because I had also committed myself to raising $4,800.

My husband was not that thrilled with me. He did not mind that I was training for the marathon. He was angry because I was asking our friends and family for money.  Though he was right, I was driven by something beyond myself. A need to accomplish something, I suppose.

Somehow, I raised the money in about 4 months and by March 2002, all I needed  to do was train for the race.

In April 2002, just six weeks from the race, I became pregnant with our first son. I ran the San Diego marathon wearing two jog bras in June 2002. After I crossed the finish line I was sore and tired, but I was relieved when I said to myself, “when do I do this again?”

After I gave birth, it would take 9 months before I was in the mood to race again.  I ran a couple of 5Ks and was not that thrilled with the experience. For some reason, racing did not turn me on.

In 2005, I finally mourned the death of my mother. After a summer of what I call ritualistic mourning, I ran the Army 10-miler. I did not run it as well as I would have liked, but I finished the race.

In 2006, my second son was born. I started back into running four weeks post partum. I ran my next 5K race the summer of 2007. When my cousin beat me, I realized, it was time to get my game on. I started to actually train instead of just run, and when I ran my 1/2 marathon this past March 2, my 10 mile split was 13 minutes faster than my race time at the Army 10-miler.

So this year, I decided to commit myself to year of racing. I ran my first race in March, as I just mentioned. My second race will be in April. I have a third on the horizon for May and another in July, August, September and October.  The one in May I may not be able to do because of schedule conflicts, but the others should be quite doable. They are all of varying lengths, 5K, 10K, 10 miles and a 1/2 marathon.  

Through the years, I have just kept up with my running. And now, I am committed to racing. Maybe it’s my age, or the fact that the kids are older, but I feel stronger now than I did when I was 18.  I think what changed, was my mind.  Strong mind equals strong runner.

You can take that one to the bank.

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