That is a comment I have heard from people when I have told them that I run long distances. Thursday's Take It and Run Thursday topic (I know... I know... I am a couple days late) is to explain why we run the marathon. So many people can't understand why we would punish our bodies for months on end to end up running four or five hours in one go. Not so long ago I could be heard saying, "I couldn't watch a five hour epic movie, let alone RUN for that long." So why in the world did I decide a year ago to run 26.2 miles.... in. a. row.
After two years as a stay-at-home-mom, I was still loving my role. After many years in the business world I was (and still am) enjoying the change of focus. I was finding, however, that I was being defined more and more by my children rather than who I was. I wasn't even sure who I was anymore. My hobbies were centered around a preschooler and a toddler. I was, however, enjoying my Stroller Strides classes that combined a fitness element for me and interaction, games and songs for my kids. I had run a 10K and it felt great. So when Jen and Laura announced in our class that they were training for the Rock-n-Roll Marathon, a light went on. That was it. That was what I was looking for. Training for something BIG like that would help me define who I wanted to be.
As the training progressed, the little accomplishments started to build. Every time we ran our furthest distance, it felt like a huge achievement. Seven miles. Ten miles (the double digits felt great!). Sixteen miles. TWENTY miles. Each time was a milestone that I felt proud of. This running thing was agreeing with me. Not only was I a mom, a wife, a former executive... but now I was a RUNNER. It felt great.
So if I signed up for that first marathon to help discover who I was, why am I going to go through all that again? Well... now I am a runner. While last year was about training and finishing something that only a small percentage of the world can say they have done, this year is about running a good race. I don't need to build up my mileage little by little this year. I have a strong base and can train smarter. I am really looking forward to seeing what I can do. Can I take 30 minutes off last year's time? I am pretty sure that I can. I might even (if the stars align) be able to get close to that four hour mark, which is 54 minutes faster than I did last year. I know I can run that distance. Now it is about pushing myself just a little bit further.
So why do I choose to run a marathon*? Because I am no longer content with resting on my laurels. It is about constantly pushing myself to see just how far (or fast) I can go.
*hopefully, that will be plural in about 17 weeks.