26.2 - A Long Time Coming, But Here So Soon!

I have so many mixed emotions about what will be taking place in just over 24 hours. I am so excited about my first marathon, but also in disbelief that I will actually be running a full 26.2 miles this Saturday morning.

It has been a long journey, but one I wouldn't change a thing about. The highs and the lows along the way is what has made this journey worth taking. Each part of the journey has been a learning experience, some with bumps, bruises, and broken bones, and others with joy and pride.

Something I have never mentioned before was something I said to my wife nearly 8 years ago when our youngest son was born. I have not said anything about it because the memory is a bit fuzzy and I am not 100% sure if my memory serves me well (I am getting older you know.... almost 40!)

I was already well on my way to being terribly out of shape when our third child, and first boy came along. I was a couple years into a new job that I was sitting in front of a computer the entire day which didn't help with my physical well being. I remember mentioning to my wife that I was going to get into shape so I could be there for my little boy when he got old enough to get out and play. We already had two girls, but for some reason having a little boy made me think about how far I had let myself go. I remember telling her that by his 5th birthday I would run a marathon and be in shape enough so I could be with him while he enjoyed what boys love to do. I am not sure why I said this because I had never thought about or planned to run a marathon, I guess it was just how strong I felt about getting myself in shape to be there for my kids.

His 5th birthday came and went and I was in worse shape than I had ever been in my life, I was not doing what I said I would do. I thought about it every so often but it seemed so overwhelming and I just didn't have the self discipline to do anything about it. This was about the time that I realized I really needed to do something if I wanted to be around for my family for very long, but still didn't have enough in me to make it happen. I won't re-write the rest of the story, because it can be read in the first post in this blog and my other weight loss blog.

Needless to say, along my journey mentioned in my two first posts listed above, I decided that I WOULD and COULD run that marathon. I committed to that goal when I set up this blog in January of 2008, and here I am almost 2 years later finally realizing that goal. It has been a long time coming as the subject says, but it has been worth the wait.

I was hoping to do my first marathon a year ago which would have been about 9 months after my first half marathon in February of 2008, but my plans were changed for me when I was tripped in a 5k race and broke my collar bone in June of 2008. It took me over 6 months before I could get back to running at all and another couple months to get back to any kind of normal running or distances.

It was almost a year after my collar bone accident that I finally committed to and registered for my first marathon, the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon this Saturday, November 14th.

The training has been great, and honestly much better than I anticipated. Sure the early mornings almost every day of the week and the brutal long runs as I was building to 21 miles were tough, but I enjoyed the whole process. I would be lying if I said that I never wanted to skip a run and always looked forward to every run, but I can say honestly that the times I wanted to skip a run can be counted on one hand. I do think that I experienced a bit of burn out in my training when I was reaching the peak right before my last long run and the start of the taper. You can see this in my training log if you look at it for the time I was training for the marathon starting August 21st till today.

I did do another half marathon as part of my marathon training. I ran the 13.1 Marathon Atlanta at the beginning of October and set a great new PR!

As I have mentioned before, my goal is first to finish, but second to finish in under 4 hours. I am still not completely prepared and will have some planning of what clothes to wear etc tomorrow night. As far as getting hydrated and what I am going to eat I am all set with my plans. The weather is supposed to be great, with a forecast of 43 degrees at race time, and a high of about 64 degrees when I presume I will be done. It is supposed to be 100% humidity at the start, but dropping to about 60% by noon, with partly cloudy skies throughout.

I am not looking forward to the early morning Saturday. We are driving up there on Saturday morning which means we will need to leave by 4:00 am. With many of my training runs getting me out of bed around 4:00 am I am not terribly concerned with the time, but just would rather not do it on a Race morning.

Until post marathon I will leave you with this:

If you get a chance please share this with others to show them that it can be done. I would like to share my story and my journey with as many people as possible to show them that it is possible. If I can do it...... they can do it!