As you've noticed in the last week, there's been a lot of Marathon talk.
If you're behind the 8 ball on this one, check out my posts here, here and here.
Anyhow! Now that I've had some time to let the debacle settle, I wanted to go back and recap my experience. What did I learn? What would I do differently? Will I run another marathon? Here are my thoughts... in no particular order.
My love of running versus marathon training - prior to taking the plunge to marathon training, I could almost 100% of the time tell you I loved running. Even when I ran halves, I have a great time training and racing. For marathoning, I lost that love a little. Switching from a training program that takes 2 hours max on the longest days (half training) to a training program that easily takes 3-4 hours on the longer days (marathon training) was ROUGH. There were plenty of times that my weekend drug out because I was not looking forward to a 15, 18 or 20 mile training run.
Working out became a chore - as you know, I'm a huge advocate for making workouts fun. If I don't see someone smiling while they're working out with me, I take that as a challenge and try to make them enjoy what they are doing. However, with so much running to do, and always feeling tired when it came time to do my "other" workouts, I started to lose my joy in working out.
Training for a first anything in the winter - long story short, this is not a good idea. Any endurance sport takes a lot of time and effort. That time and effort is even harder to commit to when you're unable to do the sport in it's natural environment (IE outside). With a record cold and snowy winter in Minnesota this year, I ended up doing almost all of my training indoors on a track or treadmill. Spending 3 hours or more looking at the same cement wall is NOT a good time. Trying to motivate yourself to be excited and do it is even more NOT a good time.
Completing something you've trained months for is an awesome feeling - one that I haven't really had the glory of experiencing in the marathon field ... yet. I have a hunch that once I finally get to cross that finish line for a true 26.2 miles (versus just 17), I may have a different perspective on all this. When you are given a medal for a partial performance, it's just not the same.
And finally, picking a race just for it's finishers medal (and not for it's course difficulty or time of year that it is scheduled for) is dumb - and just so dumb, that I'll probably end up doing it all over again. But that's what makes my life fun, so why stop now?