“I can see for miles and miles; running 26.2 of them is the problem”
By Jamie Miles
“Aren’t you too old to run a marathon? People die doing those things." My son’s comforting words after I signed up for my first marathon scheduled for January 2009. This mom has run lots of half marathons, but 13.1 miles is not 26.2. I know, pretty obvious that running two half marathons back to back is an entirely different beast, but I’m a little slow. (Mentally and physically.)
Not until I ventured out onto Dixie Highway for an 18 mile training run did the full impact of 26.2 hit me. Coming back from Rutledge, approximately two and a half miles from Madison, my right ovary exploded. At least that’s what it felt like. Sucking up the pain, I finished. As I was recouping afterward, my daughter asked, “Did you run a marathon? I hung my head. “I ran 18. I’ll need to find six more miles on race day.”
“You mean eight,” she smiled.
Eight. Oh yeah. My muddled brain unable to grasp basic arithmetic. Willingly run 26.2 miles? Had I lost my mind?
No stray gazelle-genes lurk latent in my DNA. My husband insists I start a massive savings plan for he refuses to fund any hip replacements. Before a 15-miler while visiting my parents, Dad said something about, “Everything in moderation.” Mom asked, “Are you carrying identification?” I’m not a natural runner, but surely I could run a marathon. Well, after this last long run, I started thinking – could I?
Madison roadrunner guru Michael Naples counseled, “Jamie, you’ve got to put in the miles. Your body has to get used to the pounding.” The pounding. That is it. So much pounding. Pounding the desire out of even the most motivated woman (even one caught hopelessly in a midlife cliché – like running her first marathon).
The marathon, marriage, parenthood, mortgages, a job – all so easy to sign on for. But when the rubber sole hits the road…did you really think it was going to be this tough? Excruciatingly tough sometimes.
Dick Beardsley, champion marathoner said, “When you cross that finish line, no matter how slow or how fast, it will change your life forever.”
That’s why I’m in this, a life changed forever. There is so much to love about running. A canopy of the bluest fall skies, hours of solitude with the Great Counselor and passing the Ainslie’s farm on Dixie (mile 4 and mile 13) seeing those beautiful calves with their stares, “Look Mama, there goes that crazy lady again.”
When life pounds away, in the midst of pain dwell on what you love. The ultimate goal is a life changed forever. And I don't mean new hip joints. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other -- for another six (maybe eight) miles.