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.
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.
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!