My Love/Hate Relationship with Marathons

NOTE: Sorry I have no weekly recap this week 😦 I wrote it Monday night and scheduled it for Tuesday, but for some reason it disappeared! 😦 So here is my post I was planning for later in the week! 

In the weeks leading up to the Walt Disney World Marathon, the day of the marathon, during the marathon itself, and shortly after I declared – “This is it! I am done with marathons!” I had signed up for the WDW Marathon before I had ever ran a marathon before (we signed up in the Spring and my first marathon was Grandma’s in June), so I really had no clue at that time what I was getting myself into. I looked at the training plans online and it didn’t seem that bad. Oh, a couple 20 mile training runs? No big deal. Running 5 days a week? Fine by me. It’s not until you actually get into the training schedule that you realize what a HUGE commitment marathons are.

It’s not even the marathon itself that is the worst part, even though I do not enjoy running 26.2 miles during one run (who really does?!). The feeling you get at mile 20, when you are completely and utterly exhausted, thinking insane thoughts, and then realizing you still somehow have to muster up the energy to run over 6 more miles, is absolutely depressing. That is bad, but the worst part of running a marathon is all that training leading up to it. My life turns into running and any cross training before work, going to work, eating dinner, and having no energy so going to bed usually pretty early. And you are constantly hungry. Like, I seriously can’t remember the last time I was full. I eat so much, yet I’m always looking for more. The struggle is real.

Sometimes the constant training makes me feel that I am missing out on other things. For instance, I might not be able to hang out with friends on a Saturday night because I have to wake up early to run a bazillion miles on Sunday morning and I don’t want to be hung-over and or tired. Or if I do go out, I’m no fun because I can have one Michelob Ultra and then I want to go home because I’m tired and it’s no fun to be around drunk people when you aren’t drinking. Also, the day of my long run I basically am useless after because I’m so tired! Thus, the chores don’t get done and we eat out because I am in no mood to cook.

So, those reasons above are what I really dislike about marathons. I’ve been thinking a lot lately and now I’m not sure that I have to be looking at it all so negatively. First of all, I’m in my late 20’s now, have a serious boyfriend, and a full time job so it’s not like I am hitting the clubs (do people still say that?!) that hard these days, marathon training or not. And maybe I just need a new plan for how to tackle the long runs without being exhausted after. For instance, maybe I should go for my long run, come back home and eat, shower, take a short nap and then maybe I will have more energy to get stuff done during the day. And the eating part? Well that’s not so terrible, is it really? The nice part is since I am burning off so much by running, I don’t gain weight! Things could be worse.

I think what I need to figure out during the training for my next marathon (let’s face it, it’s going to happen) is balance. I need a better balance between work, life, and training so I don’t get so overwhelmed, and so that I still have time for other things in my life. I realize now what it takes to be able to cross that finish line, and I just need a better plan to tackle it more effectively.

Another reason I know I will run a marathon again is I’m a competitive person and it did “irk” me a bit to only beat my previous marathon time by 10 seconds. I thought my training went smoother, I felt better during this marathon than I did my first, the weather was perfect, and the course was flat. I definitely want to crush that time the next marathon. So, during training for the next one I will be sure to incorporate some speed work into my training, which I totally neglected during my last training period.

Also, I spend a lot of time looking at different marathons around the country and there are so many I want to do. Now, I’m not going to go crazy and do one every few months, but I think a good goal would be 1 or 2 a year.

My primary running focus will be half marathons, but I do look forward to running my next marathon, wherever or whenever it will be. Marathons to me are like bad boyfriends (DISCLAIMER: DEFINITELY NOT A REFERENCE TO MY EXTREMELY SUPPORTIVE, LOVING, AND BEYOND WONDERFUL BOYFRIEND!! THINK MORE, KATY PERRY AND JOHN MAYER or JUSTIN BIEBER AND SELENA GOMEZ). You know they sometimes treat you badly or make you feel like crap, but for some reason you just keep coming back for more.


5 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship with Marathons

  1. I feel compelled to comment on this post. 1. I believe this is my favorite post you have ever written. 2. Next time you start your training for a race I can give you a few pointers on what I have found works well to keep a life/running balance. 3. I would suggest looking doing Chicago where (hopefully) your sister and I will both be at the starting line with you. It is another flat course with many more spectators than in WDW. 4. Lastly, I am always jealous of anyone who got a PR in a race where I didn’t (even if it is by 10 seconds), a PR is a PR.

    *There is a rumor, that I won’t deny, that there is a chance that I will be back in IL the weekend of the STL GO Marathon, if that is the case, I will definitely be joining you at the start line for the half.*

    • Haha, thank you Brandon!! And yes, before my next marathon I will definitely be seeking you out for those pointers. I think each time I will get better at finding a balance, but it would definitely be good for me to hear pointers from a marathon pro like yourself! And I want to do Chicago, but the wedding we are going to is that day so there is no way for 2015. 2016 definitely though! And you are right, a PR is a PR whether it is by 10 seconds or 10 minutes! I need to remember that. And that rumor better be true!!! I was actually kind of disappointed when I read Mitra’s post about where she was doing her first half because I was hoping she was going to say the GO! race!

  2. Great post! I can’t decide if I’ll ever do a full marathon and it’s for a lot of the reasons you’ve listed here. The hours of training I’d have to put in are very intimidating. I definitely want to get a few more halves under my belt before making that decision.

    • Thank you Chaitali! It is such a hard decision. I think it’s definitely a good idea to do more halves before taking on the full. But, no peer pressure intended, when the time comes you should definitely do one! I totally know you would be able to do it! 🙂

  3. YES, YES, and YES. Awesome post. My sentiments exactly.

    After Goofy I declared that I wouldn’t even consider running another marathon until the fall. And that was a big maybe.

    …and now I’m considering registering for the New Jersey Marathon in April. Funny how that happens, haha. 😉

    Anyway, the hardest part of a marathon is, by far, the way it sucks up YOUR ENTIRE LIFE. You have to really, REALLY want it, and you have to make all of those difficult choices/sacrifices along the way for the sake of doing what’s best for your body.

    Like you, I hate that I basically have to plan my weekends around long runs for weeks on end, and then I’m completely useless afterwards.

    But there’s just something so incredibly rewarding about crossing that finish line, and how could you NOT be driven to want to continually improve and beat your last marathon time? It’s definitely a sickness. We’re hooked. 😉

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