It may seem like a marathon is quite unlike getting another degree or going to Poland - well, it is and it isnt.
The marathon idea began last year. I have had friends that have done marathons in the past, and I have run (a little) on and off for my whole life. But I am not a marathoner and personally, I thought people who ran them were crazy. Last year I visited my sister in Washington D.C. over Halloween weekend. After two days of drinking, eating, and general immature behaviour (with a bit of site-seeing here and there) it was time to go home. My flight left late and we had a whole day to waste, but both of us were tired and in no mood to do anything too substantial. My sister had mentioned to me earlier in the trip that she had never seen Arlington National Cemetery and had no clue how far it was or how to get there. It was one of the few things she had "to do" yet in D.C., so we decided to go. When we got off the train there were people everywhere. It was crazy. Then we heard all of this music. As we crossed over a bridge on the way to the cemetary we looked down and saw thousands of people running. Turns out, it happened to be the end of the Marine Corps Marathon. While watching people finish the race was cool, and hearing all of the cheering was exciting, this wasnt what made me think about doing one myself. It was post-marathon....
I want to be one of these people!
After leaving the cemetery, we took the Metro back to my hotel to get my bags. On the way back the Metro was all people who did the marathon. My hotel was filled with more of them. The airport had even more. These people all were talking to each other about their experiences, making friends with complete strangers - each of them shared something in common. They just completed something that made them almost unable to express how they felt. I hear people talk about being first time runners, repeat runners, and injured runners. Everyone, though many of them were limping and wincing, had huge smiles on their faces. People hugged and shared stories of their training and their days. At that point I realized that being a marathon participant was about more than running. In fact, it really doesnt have anything to do with running at all. Its about commitment, passion, and accomplishment. As I sat in my seat on the way home I wished I could be one of those people, but decided I couldnt. I was afraid of the same things that seemed to be so essential to completing the maration - my ability to commit, my lack of passion for running and a fear of failure.
A Perfect Fit?
This year there are advertisements all over Chicago for marathon training programs. "In just 6 months we can train YOU to run a marathon". It got me thinking...but it still wasnt enough. Then I found an organization called Team in Training that not only trains you to run the marathon, but enables you to raise money and awareness for a worthy charity along the way. THIS WAS IT. I could work on a personal goal (completing a marathon) while at the same time working towards that new desire in me to "make a difference". It was a match.
Team in Training
So today I went to the kick-off meeting. I learned more about fundraising, got to meet my team mentors and some of the coaches and talked to some of the other people who will be going through this experience with me. It was so exciting. I already feel like I am part of something bigger than myself and I have yet to lace up my running shoes. I plan to keep posting to this blog to let everyone know about my training, my fundraising and the battles along the way. I expect a long journey - but I can already tell its going to be a great one. First of all, I was promised pancakes after our first run next Saturday. What more could a girl want??
If you are checking out my blog and have money burning a hole in your pocket, feel free to make a contribution! The goal of each participant is to raise $1400 - but I figure out, why not aim for double that? If you are going to do something - DO IT BIG!
Stay tuned for more!