I've never been athletic. I was in marching band for reasons I will not divulge here and I tried being on the track team one year (I never got to run). I was a cheerleader in middle school but that wasn't very athletic back in the 1980's. I did ride my bike on occasion but only because I had to get to work somehow. As a kid I'd much rather have sat outside with a book than run and play.
In 2006 I went to Disney World with my sis and her family. We were there during the Disney marathon and my sis fell in love with the medals she saw runners, finishers, wearing. She decided then and there that she would run the marathon for Disney's 15th marathon anniversary. Somehow she talked my mom and I into joining her.
We all trained. My sis wanted to run. My mom and I decided to walk/run, which turned into a walk. My sis damaged her knee so by the time the marathon rolled around we were all walking. I'd trained with walking interspersed with running after reading John "the Penguin" Bingham's books. I had the shoes and the apparel and the fuel belt. I'd run up to 20 miles on my longest run and survived. I knew tricks to keep running when my calves cramped up! Running became a way for me to feel better about myself. I was doing something I never thought I would do. And I was doing it regularly. When I had aches and pains and huge blisters on my feet, they were there because I was being active. I had cramps from running and not from sitting on the couch in one position for too long. I had running shoes with dirt in them. From running! I had water bottles that were used while running and not while sitting at my desk surfing the 'net. I had a real reason to eat mac & cheese for dinner! I read forums and joined mailing lists to gain more running knowledge. I bought and read many books on running (oh how I love those Bingham books).
And then the Disney marathon happened... I sagged out just before mile 9. I didn't even make it into the Magic Kingdom. Digestive problems. The dreaded runners trots (trust me when I say this, veggies are bad for you the night before a race... BAD! The worst thing you can put into your body. Mac & cheese is the best thing ever). I never could make up my time after stopping at port-o-lets twice. My sis and mom finished. My sis even got to dance across the finish line with Pluto (you can check this out here http://www.mydisneymarathon.com/ and go to "video"... my sis, the woman with the orange shirt and braids, is shown at about 3:06 in the video). I just cried when I got picked up. And then I cried some more when I got dropped off at the finish line. And I cried even more when I saw the boy. And when my sis crossed the line. And when my mom crossed the line. And when I got back to my room. And while we were eating dinner.
I was so embarrassed and beyond disappointed. I wasn't the first person taken off the race or even the last person in the pack. And I did run for much of that almost-9 miles. But I didn't finish. I didn't get to run through Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom. I didn't get to cross the finish line. I didn't get a medal.
They boy told me I'd changed a couple people's outlook of me because I did follow through with training and didn't just drop out of the race. My step-dad was one of those people. And when I said I was still going to run the Chicago marathon he said he would be coming out here to cheer me on.
I signed up for 2 5k's upon returning home after my first marathon failure. I have an 8-week Couch to 5k running plan. If I can do more running, any stops I may have to do won't suck up my time. Too much time is lost when you have to wait in line at port-o-lets. And if I want to finish the Chicago marathon this year, I need more running under my belt (and less veggies). I want to run more so that if and when I have to stop, I won't be trying to catch up.
And by 2011, I will be ready to run and finish that Disney marathon. And just out of sheer frustration over my first Disney marathon I am planning on running the Goofy (1/2 marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday). And this time I won't be eating fruit and veggies the night before a race.