My Marathon Journey--a lot of miles!
by Julie Groce
After finishing my last half marathon and feeling like it was a piece of cake, I thought maybe it's time to challenge myself and
sign up for a full. I knew the training would be more rigorous, time consuming, and lengthy, but I figured I could handle it.
I started running with Fleet Feet two years ago in the No Boundaries group. Three miles was such a long distance back then! The camaraderie and new friends kept me coming back. A few half marathons later, I started teaching group fitness classes around town. Before marathon training, I was teaching, running, and going to the gym 9+ hours a week. How much more time consuming could marathon training be?
A ridiculous amount.
Time has been my enemy during this endeavor. Not enough time to recover between runs, not enough time to sleep, not enough time to squeeze in grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, work... you know, life.
Being the slowest runner in the group, telling myself I'm silly for trying, and beating myself up for missing a run are just a few of the negative thoughts that bounce through my head on a daily basis. However, I've been crushing those thoughts when I think about the story I want to tell. I'm going to say that I finished a marathon, a feat that only 1% of Americans can boast. I'm going to be part of that 1%. I am totally strong enough for this! I wanted a challenge, so here it is! Missing a run is better than becoming seriously injured and not being able to run at all. This is my journey, so I tell myself to focus on me instead of what I think others are thinking.
Nursing a knee injury and keeping my head on straight has been a major battle in these last couple weeks. Having a support system of other runners has helped me to push through the dark days and focus on the finish line that's only 5 weeks away. The crew at Fleet Feet and the members of the marathon group have been helping me through all of my mental and physical set backs. With so many people routing for me, how could there be any other choice but to finish?
I may not have had the most perfect training season, but I'm doing the best I can, continuing to smile, and still enjoying the looks on people's faces when I say, "I ran 20 miles. And this week it's just 13." Life happens, and just how real life has it's ups and downs, training does too. I'm proud of myself for my first time gearing up for 26.2 miles. The only thing in my way is my head, so move over Negative Nancy! There's miles to be run and new ground to conquer! I'm going to slay this marathon January 15th!