Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Marathon dreams

When I was in my early 20s and getting into running after successful knee surgery, I set myself the goal of running a marthon by the time I was 30. I ended up running two marathons and training for a third all before my 30th birthday. I didn't run the third because six days before the race, I found out I was pregnant with Ella. My doctor told me it would be ok if I ran the race easy since my body was in shape for marathoning, but I decided not to take the risk, much to the relief of my husband and our families.

And while I would never, ever trade Ella for getting to run a marathon, I still feel the need to do one more marathon. That last running season I ran better than I ever had in my life. I'd been training with a running group and a coach and putting up mile splits on the track that I had never dreamed I'd be able to run. I ran a half marathon the week before I found out I was pregnant and ran a 12-minute personal best even though I was using it as a training run. If I could have held that same pace in the marathon, I would have qualified for Boston with room to spare.

But it wasn't to be.

This Saturday, during our run, one of my friends asked if I ever planned to do another marathon, and I told her that I just didn't see it happening while the kids are still young. The training itself just takes so much time. Then there's the recovery from the long Saturday runs - I used to come home from those runs and sleep for two hours. I don't have the time to go on a four-hour run and then take a two-hour nap.

This weekend I watched the men's Olympic Marathon Trials and the NYC Marathon coverage, and I regained some of my running inspiration. My first memories of watching a running event are of the NYC Marathon. I specifically remember watching the year that Greta Waitz turned into Central Park, threw off her gloves and dropped the hammer on the second place runner, leaving her in the dust. I stood up and cheered. And then there was watching Joan Benoit Samuelson win the first-ever Women's Olympic Marathon, in LA, and grabbing the American flag and running around the track as the rest of the runners finished. This year's NYC finish in the women's race was pretty exciting too. After staying shoulder to shoulder through the whole race, Paula Radcliffe, who had a baby 8 months ago, outkicked Geta Wami in the last 200 yards for a blistering finish.

So here's my new goal - I want to run the NYC Marathon by the time I'm 45. I'd go for 40, but that's only 2 1/2 years away, and I don't think it's possible, so I'm spotting myself a few extra years to get it done. It has to be the NYC Marathon. I love New York City, and if I'm going to travel to run a race, that's where it's going to be. Chicago and Boston just don't hold the same allure for me.

So there it is, I've said it publicly - the New York City Marathon by 2015. I'd better get running.


Family Adventure said...

You've said it. Now you have to do it! Go for it! Think of the great example you are setting for your kids.

I remember Grete Waitz winning, too. She is Norwegian, so it was a huge deal in Norway.

I'd love to do a 1/2 marathon, but I think that's the most I can hope for.


MadMad said...

Now we're going to hold you to it, though! (Oh, yeah - and my feelings aren't hurt or anything that you don't want to come visit me in Boston.)

Suburban Correspondent said...

And my goal is to not be toilet-training anyone in 2015. I aim low, so as not to disappoint.

ckh said...

I forwarded your post to a friend who was looking for inspiration in her own running. This was her response.

What a GREAT article! Is she a writer for work? That would have been a great piece for Runner's World magazine! It's always inspiring to read what motivates others. It reminds me to keep focused during this last month.
Thanks for sharing! I'll keep the email for the next couple of weeks to reinspire me!

I just thought you'd like to hear it. :)

hokgardner said...

Thank you so much for stopping by and for forwarding your friend's comments. They made my day!