I used to think people who ran marathons were completely crazy, a bunch of nutsos with something "weird" to prove to the world. I told myself that not only couldn't I do it, I didn't want to do it. Uh-uh. No way. It isn't even healthy to run that much, I would proclaim. That gave me an easy out to not even try. At that time, I also thought triathletes were a whole different class of crazy. Who has the time? Who has the money? Again, very convenient excuses. I think I did protest too much. But if I was honest with myself, the reason I took the time to list all the reasons I COULDN'T do it was because I really secretly WANTED to do it. I wanted to be one of those automotons gliding through the water, spinning through the air, pounding out those miles. In the back of my mind I remembered how good it feels to swim, bike, and run.
So all it takes go from dismissing the crazy people and becoming one of the crazy people is to get a little inspiration and encouragement. Mine came when I met a friend for sushi one bright August day. She had black numbers on her arms and legs from the Danskin triathlon. "You did a triathlon??" I asked. I was so impressed. She said, "Yes, and you can totally do one, too." And that is when the seed was planted. It was all women, the distances seemed doable, training groups are all over the place for practice and I started to actually see myself doing it.
I wouldn't admit that outloud, and I was certainly not going to sign up for a triathlon of all things, and NEVER a marathon. But it did get me to sign up for Bloomsday for the first time in 10 years. Once off my butt and forcing myself to run a whole half a mile in a row on a regular basis, all kinds of good things started happening. It started to actually feel good after about 6 or 8 months of running.
It is a slippery slope from there. If you train for a 12k, you're more than halfway to a half-marathon. If your half-marathon training schedule includes cycling and swimming, why not go ahead and sign up for that all-women sprint tri? Once you can do a sprint triathlon, it isn't that much of a stretch to go for Olympic. Why not do an Olympic anyway? You do all that training, it is better to make the race experience last, right? I said I would NEVER do a marathon, and one day last fall I found myself signing up for, and LOOKING FORWARD to - a marathon.
Tomorrow I'm going to run a marathon. The amazing part won't be when I cross the finish line. It will be when I cross the start line.