Thursday, October 29, 2015

Golum vs. The Marathon

A funny thing happened the other night.  My two boys were introduced to Golum.
This picture isn't a particularly "scary" picture of Golum, but it really DID scare my three year old! 

A little back story:  Tuesday night, my husband was taking goofy pictures of the boys on his iphone in the living room while I was preparing dinner.  But, the last picture, instead of showing Henry a picture of himself, he said "look here's your picture" and flashed Golum up instead.  Much to my husband's surprise,  Henry was petrified, which then snowballed into a heart-breaking cry when it was time to turn out the lights for bed.  Between cries Henry would say, "Mommy.... can you lay with me all night?  Don't leave me."  I knew I was in for trouble. Thankfully, he only got up once at 4:30 am and we just let him crawl in bed with us.  And.... of course it happened to be a rest day from running for me. No extra sleep. Go figure.  Anything for our kids.. right???  But, this extra cuddle time consoling little Hank got me thinking....

The marathon is MY GOLUM!

I am scared to death to run a marathon.  Yet, it's ALL I think about.  I.AM.NOT.KIDDING!

I'm scared to fail.

I'm scared of injury.

I'm scared of the training.

I'm scared of not being perfect.

I'm scared of not meeting my goal time. 

I am a runner.  I don't doubt that.  I run 20-30 miles per week.  I keep progressing with stamina and speed.  Just like the picture above, I love racing and freezing in the cold for a medal and a beer!  I love the gear. I thrive on finish lines!  I post happy selfies of myself post-run.  Those selfies are true definitions of what I'm feeling at the time.  But in the back of my mind, I long to finish a marathon. 

2015 was supposed to be my year. 

June, July and August came and went.  I could have trained for the October Twin Cities Marathon, but I didn't.  I was comfortable in my 13 mile bubble.  Long runs consisted of 10 miles and great conversation and most days the runs were fun.  I blamed an injury in July that kept me from not running for three weeks, I used a girlfriends injury as an excuse not to train.  I used my kids as an excuse not to train.  Fear. Golum. Excuses.

The fact that I haven't completed a marathon doesn't define me. I know that. I know that in order to succeed I have to jump outside my comfort zone. 

Maybe my goal finish time is unrealistic: 4 hours.  Some may think I'm crazy.  I've finished a half marathon in under 2 hours... so I should be able to finish a marathon in double the time.....right??  Not exactly.  My friend, who is also a seasoned veteran when it comes to marathons,  said you need to reevaluate your goal to be "just to finish." 

"Just to Finish." Why does that sound like a negative?  I don't mean that she meant it negative.  She was trying to give me confidence no doubt, but in my head just to finish wasn't good enough.  Hence... Golum.  There he is again.  Fear. 

But why?

Some days I think about the marathon as a task to be completed.
Some days I think about the marathon as a pain in my ass.
Some days I think about the marathon as a life-changing event.
Some days I think about the marathon as something unreachable.
Some days I think about the marathon as a time-sucker because I spend so much time worrying about the damn thing. 
Some days I just THINK about the marathon.

I wasn't kidding when I said that I think about running a marathon.  EVERY.DAMN.DAY!!

2016 is my year. No excuses.  I will face Golum head on.  I will train.  I WILL.  (I sound like an under armour ad.  Lol!)
For now, until my very first marathon. I will continue to live vicariously through my wonderful friends I have met on social media.  You're marathons inspire me to complete mine.  I love hearing your stories and watching your success!

PS:  Henry is still afraid of Golum, but only got up once last night at 1:30AM for me to lay with him.


  1. As hard as this will be for you to do, don't set a goal time. Finishing should be the goal. I'm not kidding when I say this. I set a goal time for my first marathon and I was so disappointed when I crashed and burned. And I totally missed out on the thrill of crossing the finish line! You should enjoy the ride. Because it is hard and it is amazing.

  2. I would agree with a goal of just finishing. I recently had this conversation with my husband right before our marathon. He was adamant on setting a time and having been through it last year, I knew what to expect. Also injury prevented us from completing the longer runs of 16+ miles. While you don't necessarily need to, I think it was critical for my mental game. I said to hubby 'respect the distance' it's not just 2 half marathons. It's so much more. With all the planning I did last year, everything changed on race morning. Too many variables make it a challenge, but prepare as best as you can and give it all you've got ! You won't regret it. If you think you'll never be ready, you're right but that's the beauty of it. We never are as ready as we feel we should be. Take a chance on yourself Gina. I believe in you !

  3. Thanks Liz!! You have no idea what that means to me. *teary*

  4. I have to agree with the other comments above. It is not simply "2 half marathons," it really is a very different ballgame. I don't know how many half marathons you have done, but you probably know every race is different (with varying temps, weather conditions, race day anxiety, terrain, potential GI issues, training probs, etc.). A lot can happen that is simply out of the runners' control, adding a goal time to the mix can further complicate the stress of the day...especially since it's a distance you have not done. That first marathon, in my opinion, is such an accomplishment in and of itself.....just celebrate being there ;-) A lot of people do a marathon and (sadly) never attempt another. Taking the time to really notice the crowd, feeling the excitement from the fellow runners, and basking in the accomplishment of running 26.2 miles (instead of focusing on that finish time) could really be the game changer. If you have a great "first marathon," you will be more likely to do another...and then you can shoot for a PR because you'll know how the distance feels. Good luck in 2016!!

  5. Thanks Kimberly! :) Thinking my first will be grandmas! I even booked a room today. Haven't pushed that registration button yet.

  6. Booked a room :) Go ahead and register!
    I seriously could have wrote this post! I have had every same thought, and every time I read a recap I want to run the dang 26.2, at least try!
    I do think you can hit the 4 hour goal!! You are quite speedy. We are probably similar with the injury worry though, once you have been forced into a long break it is scary...
    I really want to do this before I turn 50 which happens this year, I need to get busy, but I am worried it is too soon, I ache in "spot" just a little as i type this.
    I think if you are feeling good just go for it! You are a really strong runner, you can check this off.

    1. Thanks Karen! 😜 I'm close to pushing that button