The Scariest Part of Registering For My First 26.2

So, maybe I haven’t run a full marathon…but I have registered for two of them and have backed down. There. I admit it. I registered for Pittsburgh when I was still in my “new runner honey moon phase” and didn’t understand what the hell I was actually doing, and then I registered for Rock N Roll DC and downgraded to the half. I mean, the whole race directing thing didn’t leave a lot of time to train, but still. That’s two marathons I registered for and didn’t complete.

And there is one overt concern that keeps me from completing it…

What if it ruins running for me?

I know; I know. It’s not something you can predict. I have heard so many stories, though, about people running a full marathon – runners who have participated in half marathons and tons of other races – and then feeling like they lost their love for the sport. Even if it was just temporarily, that scares me. What if, instead of running (or limping, lol) through the finish line with a huge sense of accomplishment, I feel deflated? What if I finish it and say “I just need a break for a while?”

I mean, ok. I get it. One of the clear answers is “Then just take a break.” But I don’t want it to be that way. I don’t want it to be like that time I drank too many gin and tonics and it was such a terrible experience that I swore of gin for six months. I do not want my 26.2 miles to be like 26.2 cocktails (maybe not that many – if I did that; I’d die) that left such a horrible taste in my mouth that I don’t ever want to think about it again.

As I think about training for the Columbus Marathon, part of me is plagued with “Why am I doing this?” I clearly want to do it because I feel like it will yield a sense of accomplishment that I have never felt before. I don’t know that I have that drive though. I feel like people who complete marathons are very driven. I don’t know if that’s me at the moment or if it will ever be me.

Part of me just wants to stick with half marathons and have fun. I’m always taken back to a wonderful interview with Emily from Running Across Ohio. She ran a marathon once and said that was enough for her, and she has set this amazing goal of running as many half marathons in Ohio as she can. BADASS, ok? I guess it doesn’t take a continual 26.2 mile race to make you awesome.

So many of us look at the marathon as part of the natural progression: First a 5k or 10k, then a half, then a full, then if you’re seriously nuts – an ultra. Is is a progression, though, and should it be? What is to say this is something that we have to do as runners? Running a marathon makes you a marathoner. It doesn’t make you less of anything. It doesn’t mean you aren’t as much of a runner. It probably means that you found your “sweet spot” distance which happens to be something other than 26.2 miles.

When I think about where my life is headed and what I can do impacting my community as a marathon RD and as a run coach, I just don’t know if training for a marathon is something that I need to throw into the mix. It would obviously help me understand the back end of a course better and would help me train future clients who want to run the distance. However…I just don’t know if physically and mentally it is something I am prepared to do, at least right now.

I just picture myself going on 5-8 mile runs on Sundays, not 16-18 mile runs. My lifestyle is busy. Being a marathon RD is a year round job. Once we finish the race on June 4, we start planning for year 2. Literally – the day after we finish it, we pay outstanding bills and set up year two registration with early bird pricing. It will slow down, but it won’t stop.

How about you? How did you feel when you started contemplating the marathon?

XOXO – Courtney

4 thoughts on “The Scariest Part of Registering For My First 26.2

  1. I started running about 3 years ago and can’t fathom going that far. 3-8 miles is the zone I stay in at various intensity levels. I think being a road cyclist long before running helps balance burnout from either one. Hardcore daily running just breaks my body down generally (plus being over 40 now lol). Much respect to anyone completing a marathon! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Courtney,

    You’re such an amazing woman. I really love to follow you here and also on the Instagram. And to be honest I feel a sort of a connection between us. We have the same thoughts about running. But I think you are a strong person if you dared to subscribe for a marathon. And I am sure you can do it, and you will do it, and it will be a fantastic experience for you.
    I am not sure if I am gonna do it ever. I feel mentally I will be never ready for it, at the moment I am at the level of 5k-10k, and slowly slowly I feel ready for a half. I promised to myself until I am 30, I’m gonna do it, I still have 3 years left.
    But don’t be afraid, you can do it. I trust is you!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I totally get it. I used to feel that way as well. That’s why I registered for three full marathons so far and dropped down to the half for two of them! If you never do it, you’re still an amazingly accomplished runner no matter what.


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