Runners are fascinated with the marathon. They love to brag about how many they’ve run, their personal records, if they’ve qualified for the infamous Boston Marathon, and will tell you “You haven’t run a marathon until you’ve run New York.” I’ve run my fair share of marathons and the New York City Marathon is definitely on my bucket list, but besides running the cool courses, I don’t have ambitious marathon goals. The marathon is not my favorite distance. Although I do love the feeling of crossing a marathon finish line, I don’t want to do it more than once a year. It’s not that I lack mental toughness and am scared . I’m a dean in South LA. I survive on grit. It’s just not my favorite distance, and many runners find that difficult to understand.
Yes, the marathon has taught me many life lessons. It has taught me to be humble and patient. It has helped me recognize that I can’t power through something long and difficult (thank you Santa Clarita). Through marathoning I have discovered just how deep I can dig, and what complete depletion feels like. There is something exciting about not knowing what your body will encounter at mile 20. More than other distances weather can really impact your race, so the week before you’re obsessively checking the weather to see if Sunday morning might be a few degrees cooler. Compared to other distances I don’t have much experience with the marathon, so it always feels like a journey into the scary unknown. I worry the transformative experience of the marathon would lessen if I ran them too often.
If I had to pick my favorite distance, it would be the half. I’ve found it to be the distance where I can really push myself. I love running distance, and it’s the perfect amount of distance to still feel like a race. The gun goes off and you I feel like I don’t have a second to waste. I push it from the start. I take more risks in a half, and that feeling is invigorating. I feel completely empowered when I finish a half marathon and see how fast i can run for 95 minutes. I can run a half as often as once a month without sacrificing my relationship with friends and family. No, a half marathon doesn’t take more than three hours, but it is really hard.
One thing I’ve discovered running lots of half marathons is that nobody really cares how many you’ve run, and although my half marathon times are much more impressive than my marathon times, but that doesn’t seem to matter. As a half marathon fanatic you don’t get the glory of running a marathon even if you average under seven minute miles whole time. ESPECIALLY if you’re at a half/full combo event the question is always, “Did you run the full?” and if you say no, the conversation pretty much ends. I’m OK with that though. I’m OK with setting and meeting my personal goals and nobody really knowing I ran a race. I’m not running to prove how many miles I can run. There will always be someone running more. They’ll be someone who ran a 52 marathons in a year, who ran an ultra marathon on a Saturday and a marathon on a Sunday, or someone who ran across America. I’m not interested in being a Marathon Maniac. I have nothing to prove. All power to mega milage junkies who love the thrill of running setting crazy racing goals and who love the challenge of the slow burn. I find more joy in racing without strapping a meal of gels and salt tablets to my waist. I love the combination of a long but fast race. For me, it is more rewarding. But hey, that’s just me! What do you think? What’s your favorite distance? Why do you think runners are so obsessed with the marathon?
OK, enough on that rant. In other news, this weekend Brent and I spent too much money on Brooke Williamson food. The Tripel for dinner Friday night and Playa Provisions for breakfast Saturday and Sunday. I love Brooke Williamson! Her food is AMAAAAAZINGGGGG.
Here’s what I ran last week:
- Monday: Three Mile Run with Brianne at Back On My Feet (8:19 Average) before work
- Tuesday: MDR Track Club (I think we did 2 x 200, 3 X 400, 2 X 800.)
- Wednesday: Five Mile Run (SLOW)
- Thursday: Off
- Friday: Two Mile walk with Back On My Feet before work and Four Mile Tempo (6:55 Average)
- Saturday: Twelve Mile Run with Marta and Ellen (Getting ready for Canyon City Half!)
- Sunday: Nine Mile Run at Lululemon (7:44 average. We were planning on running slower, but a new runner Nancy showed up and WOAH she was fast. We also were treated to Aqua Hydrate water after our run. Electrolytes and Alkaline water in one!)