I ran my last marathon in February 2010. It’s been roughly 25 months. Late yesterday morning, I was browsing through some posts on the “Bling Whores” Facebook group when I suddenly forgot how much marathon training sucks. I forgot about Saturday afternoons lazing around on the couch or dragging my butt behind my wife at the grocery store because I ran an insane number of miles earlier in the morning. I forgot about what it’s like to not have any free time because it’s all spent running.
I forgot that the first time I tried to run a marathon, I limped for 8 miles, then spent 5 quality minutes in a port-a-potty before limping another 19 miles to the finish line (my limping caused some meandering) before limping through a maze of Powerade tables, food tables, photo areas and finally a baggage tent where I was greeted by my family and another quarter mile limp to a bus.
I forgot that the second time I ran a marathon, I was cruising along like a champ well on my way to the goal time before I decided that consuming my last gel seemed like too much effort. I forgot that my calves cramped up at mile 24. I forgot the sound of the voices on the crowd lined street and the man who said,
“He’s cramping, honey! Look, he’s cramping.”
I forgot that I long ago decided that the half marathon is my favorite distance.
I thought for a brief moment, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to run the Walt Disney World marathon this year?”.
And the thought didn’t get immediately squashed. It’s the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World marathon and my first marathon was the 15th anniversary. Some people run it every year. Maybe I run it every 5 years. The Florida Keys Ragnar Relay is the weekend before the Disney Marathon instead of the same weekend. So, I can have a Ragnar team and still run Disney.
I’m not committing. It’s 286 days away. I’ve been whipping kids into shape at track practice and frantically putting together Ragnar Relay teams for adults. I’ve been working three jobs and my thoughts have been running into so many directions that I sometimes wish I could just go back to stocking the shelves of the grocery store everyday.
It seems I’ve forgotten how much that sucked too.
My point is that the one thing I haven’t been doing a lot of is running. While a race is often good motivation, I need to prove to myself that I still enjoy that level of running without the lure of a race.
From past experience I also know I need a good running group to help me through the miles. When I ran my second marathon, I had Richie, Steve and Justin running with me every Saturday morning. Their early morning good humor made the miles fly by and those long runs were often the highlight of my week instead of something to be dreaded. On any given Saturday, one of us was always feeling good enough to challenge the rest of the group to run a little bit faster. Because of them, that second marathon was actually a lot better than I made it sound. I PR’ed by nearly two hours, after all!
So, we’ll see how the next few months go. Maybe I’ll hit a few beer runs on weekday nights to feel out the rest of the running community. There are always plenty of locals running Disney!