See those happy moms? We are celebrating our victory in completing (and crushing) our homemade marathon.
My BRF (Best Running Friend) Laurie agreed to complete a crazy task – run a marathon that wasn’t a “real” marathon. We set a date on the calendar and worked toward it. We actually had to bump it up 2 weeks to accommodate Laurie’s teaching schedule!
Some people, after being told that we ran a marathon, asked us, “So how far did you run?” As far as I know, a marathon is always 26.2 miles. I think people just don’t believe that we would run a marathon even when it doesn’t “count”. It’s not like we would win an official marathon, like the Boston Marathon, so why not just run one on our neighborhood trails on the date that works for us?
It was January when our training began (after our homemade 10 miler) and we ran in the snow and cold. Winter is my favorite time of the year to run.
On race day it got up to the mid 70s! We started at 8am to try to avoid the heat and also because I was running a party at our neighborhood pool later that day. Yikes!
Here we are before we started running our marathon! We look so fresh, don’t we?
We ran 2 laps around the lake, which is hilly and dirt packed. An unusual marathon trail, but it was good for the joints! Then we added another 6 miles on paved, flat trail. Time for water station #1 at mile 13. Laurie’s family met us with Gatorade, water, and more running gummies. Oh! And don’t forget Laurie’s shoe change #1.
Laurie’s shoes are a story in and of themselves: She ran the whole training in old shoes because her favorite shoes were discontinued. (Her old shoes are the aqua shoes on the right.) So, for miles 1-13 she ran with her brand new shoes, which she bought last weekend. (Pictured on the left) Anyway… At mile 13, she changed into her old shoes because her heel wasn’t feeling good in the new ones. She ran in the old ones for miles 13-17. She said it was like running barefoot because there was hardly any padding left on them. Now! Here’s a funny thing about the date that we chose. There happened to be an unofficial race going on at the same time sponsored by a running shoe store, Pacers. They were letting people run in borrowed shoes. Laurie asked if she could do this, even though we weren’t part of the race. Sure! So, for miles 17-21 she ran in the shoes with pink laces. She loved them. But, she had to give them back. My family met us at mile 21 with more water and Laurie’s new shoes. So, Laurie changed back into the new ones, pictured on the left. She ran the rest of the marathon in those shoes. Ohhhhh Laurie!
Mile 21 was hilly and dirt packed. The rest was flat and mostly paved.
When I was 25 I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. I didn’t have a GPS watch, so I had no idea how fast I was running my training miles. I set a goal that was too easy: “Under 5 and alive” was my motto. I also didn’t want to have to walk at all. So, I did a 10:20 mile pace for most of it, and my finishing time was 4:36:52. Respectable, but I always had it in the back of my mind that I could run a faster marathon. But, I also didn’t really have a desire to run another marathon… until last January.
When we ran our long runs, the average pace was mostly 9:15-9:30mm. I really wanted to do a 9:30mm marathon. That would be doable but definitely a challenge too. Who knew what would happen during miles 20-26? That’s usually when you “hit the wall”.
At mile 21, our minute per mile average was 9:28. Completing the marathon at a 9:30mm would be a tall order. But, we buckled down, talked to ourselves, encouraged each other, and DID IT!!! Our finishing time was 4:08:05, a 9:28mm average. Phew! We were soooo excited about our accomplishment and so happy to be able to stop running!
Now we can relax and enjoy the spring and summer by resuming our pre-church miles and our to and from baseball/pool miles. It’s so terrific to have a good friend who loves to run, (and runs the same pace!) and lives just up the street from me. God is good. All the time.