My marathoning started in 2013 with a “one and done” running of the Boston marathon. I thought for my 50 year-old midlife crisis I would run one marathon and then stick to 5ks and half marathons. You might recall that 2013 was the year of the marathon bombing. I was not allowed to cross the finish line that year. However, the Boston Athletic Association invited all of us on the course but unable to finish back the next year 2014. I did finish that year, and that is the only marathon I have repeated so far. In the meantime, in fall of 2013 I ran a second marathon (Portland Oregon) to be able to cross a finish line. It was in Portland that I learned about the 50 states club. I set myself the goal to run in each state.
For those keeping track, I recently completed Texas (#22) and Pennsylvania (#23). In Texas I went 6 seconds over my “always” goal of 5 hours for a finish time, but in Pennsylvania I was more than 19 minutes under at 4 hours, 40 minutes and 40 seconds.
Running has always been great for my peace of mind. I crave the endorphins which always kick in after the first mile or so, even on my training runs. I also enjoy the time to think with few distractions. The activity and endorphins were especially needed during the Covid days with all the changes and limitations. At first it was an added aggravation to watch my scheduled marathons get cancelled one by one. But after I mastered virtual marathoning it replaced that need.
I now run a mix of virtual with in-person marathons. My most recent live marathon was the Colorado Marathon in Ft. Collins last October. Virtual marathons have advantages and disadvantages. (It is still the same number of miles.) You have to act as your own race director by choosing a course, ensuring you will have hydration and nutrition (and bathroom options) along your route, and time yourself. The advantages are that you can choose the location (I prefer flat places), and the date (when your “ideal” weather for a marathon is expected.) There will be no crowd support, but no crowded start or finish lines either.
I think life is like a marathon. Pacing yourself is important. If you control your weight you will have better success. Nutrition and hydration are vital. Getting out each day and making some honest effort will keep your level of preparedness up. You have to be ready for the long-haul. Many of my clients have expressed that to me in the phrase “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” After a serious effort (such as a marathon) your body needs time for recovery. However, the converse is that after a marathon your body is also in its best condition. This discovery led me to understand that I could sometimes run back-to-back marathons such as I did in Texas and Pennsylvania. (My time in PA was significantly faster than my time in TX). Knowing this led me to sometimes plan on a double.
In every marathon so far, there is a time where I am convinced that I will never run another one. But after I am done I always want to continue my pursuit.