Staying fit: The longest race of my life


          In November I will be completing the trifecta of my bucket list running goals.  Finish the Peachtree 10K. Check. Finish a half-marathon. Check. Finish a marathon—yet to be determined!
          I’m not going to finish the marathon because I like running long distances—I don’t.  It’s mainly to see if I can do it and when I complete it, to say, “Yes, that’s something I worked for and accomplished.”  I’ve looked at the training schedule and it has runs of 12 and 15 and 18 miles in there.  Several of my Saturday mornings are going bye-bye with that training!  As I tromp along at O-Dark Early, I’ll keep company with the deer, bats and other nocturnal creatures.  No one is forcing me to do this or anything, but it seems a bit daunting right now.
        Some of my friends who run a lot tell me things like, “Oh, once you do this one, you’ll want to run a marathon at least two or three times a year.”  Or, “You’ll get hooked and you won’t ever go back to 5Ks.”  I love my friends but they seriously have no clue.  I’m not putting myself through this ordeal again. I will finish, get my free pizza and finisher’s medal and take a nice ice bath.
These friends are real runners.  They are the people at the front of the race starting line with their fingers poised over their Timex watches, ready to press the starter on their stopwatch.  I’m not those people.  I don’t log my runs, or track how many miles I’ve run on my shoes, or do hill training.  I don’t run up hills, I walk.  When they start talking about their splits, I think of bananas and ice cream.
         When I chose where I’d do this marathon (given that it was a one-time deal), I had three criteria:  the course had to be flat, weather needed to be not cold, and the race had to be within driving distance.  This narrowed it down to Florida quickly.  So that’s where I’m headed over Thanksgiving.   The course is one big long loop alongside a river and the weather tradition at that time of year averages 65 degrees—perfect.  And did I mention that it’s flat?
   I’ll give you updates on my training from time to time in this column and let you know how it turned out once I complete the race.  This will be the longest race of my life—twenty-six point two miles.  Am I out of my ever-loving mind?! 
         What challenges are you engaging in?  Let me hear from you.
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