Never say Never?

So, about that marathon thing.   And how I said never.

This has been simmering for a while.   A long while.   January of 2015 saw my first (and only so far) 25K.  16 miles.   While that is still 10 miles short of a marathon, I was out there for 5+ hours.    That started me thinking.   Yes, I was still 10 miles short but whatever marathon I chose wouldn’t have 3000+ ft in elevation gain or involve actual mountains.    But a trail 25K was still a long way from a road marathon.   The seed was planted.

Then last fall, in the middle of my running funk, I read Ultra Marathon Man by Dan Karnazes.   That book will give you all sorts of crazy ideas.  Plus he eats pizza while on crazy long runs- how awesome is that?!   Now, a marathon was a crazy enough idea for me.  I wasn’t going to running in Antarctica or any 200 mile solo runs.   But even then it was still just a seedling.  It was still a maybe someday, far away.

New Year’s saw me stating emphatically that this was going to be the year of no goals.  After spending 2+ years chasing a sub 2 half and failing, I was burned out.  Some health issues added to that as well but I was feeling fried.   This was going to be the year to just enjoy running.  That is still the plan.   With a twist.

Running is a lot like shopping at Target... You intend to run only $30 5Ks and before you know it, you're registering for $175 marathons!!:

Back in January, in one long text message session with Ashley and Heather, we started talking about The San Francisco Marathon.  Ashley loved the race and Heather and I had always thought about running it.  So we made plans to all take a road trip and run one of the half marathons.  San Francisco has 2- the first half and the second half.  I joked that if I was going to San Francisco, I was running the Golden Gate Bridge.  So we were running the 1st half.  Cool, right?

Then a week or so later, they decided they wanted to run the full.  Well crap.  What do I do?  I had 2 choices- run my first full marathon or deal with public transportation in a very large city all by myself for the first time in my life.  Both were scary propositions.

I chose the marathon.

Never+say+NEVER+with+   anything++running+related...+   "Never+could+I+run+a+5k."   ....+DID+IT!+   "Never+could+I+run+a+10k"   ...+DID+IT!   "Never+could+I+run+a+   Half-Marathon."+   ....DID+IT!+:

Here’s my thinking- it was already in the back of my mind, so why not San Francisco?  I had 2 friends running it and it was a city I’ve been wanting to visit again for a long time.   The potential for hills was a little intimidating but I’ve said repeatedly that I hate flat courses, right?   Plus Golden Gate Bridge! And friends!

But I still wasn’t ready to commit.   Remember back in January when I asked for Excel help?  I was cobbling together a training plan.  I affectionately call it the McHig plan.  I took my customized McMillan plan from last year and worked it into a Hal Higdon Novice plan for marathon training.    I started training for SF the first week of February.  Surprise!

Before I would register though, I needed an escape plan.   My first 16 miler falls in the beginning of April.  I told myself if I completed it and hated myself or running after I would pay the change fee and drop to the half.  If I pulled it off and felt ok, training would continue.  Next step would be to complete a 20-22 miler in late June, early July.  Same rules applied-I could drop at the race expo before the race.   And lastly, if all hell breaks loose, there is a finish line at the halfway point.  I could call it there and Uber myself to the finish to meet Ashley and Heather.


I had a training plan, friends to run it with and an escape plan -all I had to do was register.   Except when I tried to register in February, the website refused to cooperate.  It wouldn’t let me use my discount code- Ashley’s an ambassador!- and it kept throwing up an error message.   I missed a price deadline because of this.  Finally after a few weeks of Twitter conversations and emails back and forth with the staff of the SF Marathon, I was able to complete my registration.  Holy crap, I registered for my first marathon!!

I wasn’t going to tell anyone until post SLO half but I wasn’t very successful.    After some Twitter convos and IG posts, I decided to come clean.   I had my first panic attack after that blog post– ha!!  Shit just got real.  People know now- I have to follow through!  Also, now my crazy shoe buying lately seems a little more understandable.

Did I bite off more than I can chew?  My plan is deliberately long, I know I will miss a few runs along the way.

Ever run San Francisco?

Words of advice?!!? Please!

30 thoughts on “Never say Never?

  1. I think you should give the marathon a chance. What marathon training plan are you following? Let me know if you have any questions/need help! I am no expert but LOVE figuring out the best plans for first time marathon runners. I haven’t run SF but would love to one day. It’s one of my favorite cities!! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!


    1. I have a combine McMillan and Higdon plan. I am hesitant about the pace runs on the Higdon plan, my only goal is to finish! I will take all the advice I can get! I haven’t been to SF since I was a kid, I am looking forward to seeing it as an adult! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all CONGRATS on signing up for your first MARATHON! OMG girl, that is awesome and you are going to LOVE it. FYI – my recent love of my life training plan, Hansons, actually doesn’t recommend running more than 16 miles as your long run depending on the amount of weekly miles you run. Sooooo technically…you’re more than ready 😉

    That Dean can talk you into all kinds of cray cray – my first marathon was actually the Nike Marathon IN San Fran – I don’t know if it’s still a thing, but I did it in 2008. Swore I would never, ever, ever run another one. Then I watched his movie about how he ran the 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. Now I am chasing a marathon in each state. Damn you, Dean. It’s all his fault that I’m broke, tired, and super lame (since I’m always training or sleeping) all of the time.


    1. Thank you!
      Ok, so I love the idea of only having to run 16 before the marathon and I get the basics of the whole cumulative fatigue but Hanson’s scared me!!! I feel like it is more than intense than I can handle. Do they even have a beginners plan? Damn, maybe I need to buy the book.
      He has a movie!? How did I not know that? I need to track that down. I also need to get his other books. Nike left SF after last year. I was bummed; I had always hoped of running that half someday.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s going to be AWESOME! and terrifying! but mostly awesome! And I look forward to hearing about it because I’m tempted by this race and I keep thinking “but which half?!” and then dangerously thinking, “why not both?!”


    1. I keep getting stuck on the “terrifying” part!! I love the idea of running on the Golden Gate Bridge and I’ve never run a large bridge so I don’t quite understand how they can be hills. Guess I’ll figure it out!


      1. The NYC marathon ones are definitely not flat but I’m sure relative to what’s in San Francisco it’ll be a walk in the park for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Eeek!! Big deal alert!! This is so exciting! Congrats on signing up for your first 26.2!

    A “no goals” approach to the year is great, but I also think there’s something to be said for being spontaneous and allowing life to happen along the way – listening as our priorities and desires change (which they inevitably do!) and going with the flow. For whatever reason, your heart decided this was the right time and pushed you in that direction. I think you will do great, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If your focus is just on completing the distance and enjoying the experience, you don’t need to run crazy high mileage or worry about paces and speedwork. Follow the “McHig” plan (lol) and get there happy and healthy and you will do great.

    Oh, by the way – I’ve set many a half marathon PR in the middle of marathon training, juuuuuuust sayin! All that extra mileage really helps with your endurance, and after you do some 16-20 mile runs suddenly 13.1 feels like cake! It’s amazing how things can suddenly appear once we stop looking for them 🙂


    1. Thanks! My only real goal is to finish. I don’t even want to think about time goals. I just want to appreciate the new experience and new milestones and enjoy the race. I would like to put in a few longer runs just so I feel a little more confident on race day but we’ll see how it goes.
      I won’t lie, the thought that the increased endurance may help me on shorter races crossed my mind. It it happens, I will love it but if not, I’m not going to worry about it either. I’m going to try and just take it one week at a time. 🙂


  5. YOU CAN DO EET! Hell, if I can do it, you can. Just take it one week at a time, seriously. Don’t look too far ahead or you’ll freak yourself out. Don’t be afraid to slow down on your long runs. You’ll do great!


  6. That is so exciting and terrifying!! I’m still at the stage where I think I would rather jump in front of a cable car than run a full, but sometimes I find myself thinking “I can run that marathon…”. It might happen one day, but until then your plan sounds solid. Also coming from someone who has run a couple half’s in SF, really be prepared. Hopefully they will be nice and not put the steepest hill so that it takes up the entire 10th mile (I literally cried both years while on that hill) and train so you can take advantage of the down hills because they will save you!!


    1. I still have those moments! I haven’t really wrapped my head around the whole 26.2 miles yet. Denial is a great place. Ooof, I am worried about the hills. Everything I’ve heard is kind of nerve wracking. But then I found a post on the SF website that claimed the marathon only had an elevation gain of 1000ft. So now I don’t know what to think!


      1. Just train on the biggest/longest hill you can find without thinking of what they will be like in SF. Then you are either ready for what it throws at you or you will be beyond ready and barely notice them!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. San Francisco is such a beautiful city and running over the Golden Gate bridge will be amazing. When I signed up for my first marathon I was terrified – it all seemed so intimidating – how the hell would I run for 20 miles by myself without dying and some of the training runs were super tough BUT the feeling I got crossing that finish line was unbelievable and absolutely worth all of the hard work. My tip is to take it one run at a time – don’t even think about those 17/18/20 milers now – they will be totally doable when the time is right. Good luck!


    1. I admit that I tried to forget most of training plan after I finished making it. The less I worry about those scary distances the better. Anytime I start thinking about them, I start questioning my sanity. I’m a Slacker!! I don’t if I can do this, hopefully by post don’t turn into whine fests. 🙂


  8. Just remember, you don’t need to complete a marathon in order to be considered a runner. If you run, you are a runner. Being healthy – physically and mentally – is the most important thing. 🙂


    1. I know, thank you for saying it though. I am going to give it my best but I will also drop back if I think I am causing myself any harm. I am hoping I know the the line between stubborn and stupid. 🙂


Comments are closed.