As I’ve shared my news to start running with my parents and close friends, I’ve often received the question, “Why now?” in response. This question is difficult to answer with a simple one sentence response, as it is a build up of history and other factors that have led me to this decision.
Because I’ve always been told “Dancers don’t run,” I’ve never really given running a thought. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I devoted much of my time and energy to dance, and only particpated in one actual race which I barely prepared for – the annual Northwestern Mutual Roots and Wings 5K in Milwaukee in summer 2001. Since I was attending the annual convention with my dad, I thought, “Why not?” And that was the last time I ran…until recently.
Last June, my husband Preston decided to sign up for the Walt Disney World Marathon. There were multiple reasons that he decided to sign up for a marathon, two of which were to cross one item off of his bucket list and to complete a race in honor of his mom, who in May passed away after a five year battle with breast cancer. Since Disney World holds a special place in my in-laws hearts, it was only fitting that Preston run his first marathon, and do so in his mom’s honor, at Disney.
So off to Orlando Preston and I went. During the five days we were there, I was beyond impressed with how supportive all of the runners and their families were of one another. Instead of the typical sense of competition that you usually encounter at more competitve races, we encountered a sense of community supportedness. It is Disney tradition that you wear your medal around the parks after your race(s), which further enhanced the “everybody can do it” attitude. Since this was the first major race that either of us had completed, we didn’t have anything else to compare it to, but what we heard from many other runners and spectators was that Disney by far does the best job at organizing and putting on races, especially when it comes to food and water stations, and of course entertainment.
In the two months since we got back from Orlando, Preston has been reliving his marathon experience through our own 400 plus photos (anybody who knows me well enough shouldn’t be shocked by this number), as well as viewing other runners’ videos on YouTube and Facebook. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my spectator experience, I must admit I wish I could have shared more in this experience with him. His prized medal still sits on his bedside table, and he glows everytime he shares his marathon experiences and medal with others.
So where does that leave me now? Well, I have decided to take on running for the first time in my life, and plan to start off by training for and running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January 2014. I figure if I’m going to run a race, I should choose a well organized one, and one where I won’t feel pressure to run faster than I’m trained to. Although DC is home to some of the country’s most prized races, neither Preston nor I feel equipped to handle the pressure, or the cold temperatures, of a race like the Marine Corp Marathon or the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. I’m scared out of my mind about what its going to take physically and mentally to complete this challenge, but if I could work full time, complete grad school, and plan a wedding all at the same time who says I won’t be able to do this?
Two weeks ago, I installed the RunKeeper app on my phone to help me keep track of my training progress. I’ve already logged 18 miles of running and walking in the past two weeks, and I’m sure I’ll log hundreds more in the coming months. Our plan is to participate in several smaller races in preparation for my completion of the Half Marathon, and Preston’s planned completion of the new Dopey Challenge, next January. We’re already signed up for the Jaguar 5K at the end of April, and have several others in mind.
Many of you have asked that I keep you updated on my progress towards the Half Marathon next January, hence the primary reason behind the creation of this blog. Feel free to make suggestions for my training, or if you’d like, provide some inspiration for helping get me to the finish line.
Here goes nothing!