In 184 days I plan to run the Missoula Marathon.
This blog is going to be about my journey over the next 184 days. I’ll be posting about what I learn, how I feel, what I do and what I am going through.
I’ve never run a marathon before. Up until November 30th of 2011 I’d never really done much running beyond running to catch the bus or from one base to another during kickball. But on that night, at the urging of a friend, I went out with the local running club for their (now our) monthly Beer Run. I went out on the short route with the slow group who call themselves the “Back of the Pack” and with them, I followed the Galloway run/walk/run method, and went just under 3 miles.
I was hooked. I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it. But what I do know is that it felt good and it felt like something I should keep doing.
From there I scraped my pennies together and joined Run Wild Missoula and signed up for the Galloway running class which starts on January 22nd. I started going out on Sundays to do my own Galloway style run/walk/runs. I found a training plan that suggests 3 runs per week. The one on Sunday has a gradually increasing distance goal. The other two (usually Tuesday and Thursday) are just short, 30 minute runs. So I started to try to follow that plan. I haven’t been perfect at that yet, due in part to the holidays, but I’m still working at it.
I can’t promise that I will make it to the marathon, or that I’ll finish the whole thing. But right now, today, that is my plan.
Going back a little bit farther, it wasn’t all that long ago that I was 20lbs or more heavier than I am today and felt like utter crap. It was actually just last May. May of 2011. I was in a bad place, physically and emotionally.
On June 1st, I’d decided it was time to do something about it. I decided to modify my diet some, but not a whole lot. More importantly, that was the day I decided to start hiking up the mountain near where I work, on my lunch breaks.
That first day I only planned to go up the first leg of the trail, but made it a touch farther. I was very slow and it was hard. I was really out of shape. But I kept at it. I kept hiking two or three times per week and by June 17th I had made it up to the giant concrete M on the side of the mountain, that had been my goal. And from there I kept at it. I kept hiking. It got easier, so I took fewer breaks. It kept getting easier. I kept trying to challenge myself. Eventually I started to run a leg of the trail here and there. I just kept pushing myself. I was losing weight and feeling better.
Meanwhile, a good friend was urging me to come out and run with the running club. At some point, he even got me to buy some good running shoes, which then sat in their box for months.
At first I was very resistant to the idea. I hate running. Running is hard. But my friend persisted, and pointed out that there was a group of runners following the Galloway run/walk/run method. In the end, I decided to give it a try because I wasn’t sure I wanted to hike the mountain trail during the winter and I felt that I needed to keep getting regular exercise that I could gradually increase in difficulty and keep challenging myself, as I had been doing.
I am honestly so glad that I decided to go out to the beer run that night. I had a great time during the run/walk/run with the Back of the Pack crew, and after the run, I met and chatted with a bunch of really nice people over dinner and drinks.
Last night, I attended a free seminar put on by Run Wild Missoula entitled “Start from Zero and Still Run the Missoula Marathon.” Even though the presenters all stressed that they didn’t really advise getting up off the couch and jumping straight into training for 18 or 24 weeks and then running the whole marathon, I still left that seminar feeling more confident that I can actually do this. Yes, it’s going to be hard. It might really, really suck sometimes. But when it comes right down to it, I’m going to give it a shot, and I’m going to try to have fun doing it.
One thing you should know, though, is that I’m going to be honest with myself, and with the readers of this blog as I’m going along. If, sometime during my training I decide that I can’t do the full marathon, I’ll back off and do the half. If I decide I can’t even do the half, I’ll start running some of the shorter local races. But that’s not my plan right now. Right now, I want to do the whole thing. I want to go all 26.2 miles.
In 184 days, I plan to run/walk/run the Missoula Marathon. If you’re interested, stick around and we’ll see if the nerd girl can do it.