Running in Circles

I want to run a marathon.

I guess I haven’t written a whole blog about it yet, but I recently hit a pretty big milestone in my journey, so let’s talk about it!

I used to think New Year’s Resolutions were silly because you could set a goal anytime you want, but as I get older–and since I started tracking my years on spreadsheets–I’ve started to see why people would take advantage of the “fresh start” to set new goals for themselves. So this year, I decided to set a few new goals for myself (most of which I’ll keep private for now), one of them being to run a marathon by the end of the year.

I’ve always been impressed by people who could run for more than an hour at a time. I’ve been doing hour-long runs off and on for a good portion of my life, but would hit a wall right around that hour mark. I used to not enjoy running much, I just knew it was something I “needed” to do as a workout, but–like most who spend too much time in a toxic relationship–I began to fall in love with the practice. Like Ross and Rachel, running and I would take a break and I would play the field a bit–some flirting with the stair stepper, a fling with the elliptical, a long-term but passionless commitment to weightlifting–but I would always come back to my love.

2022 Vancouver Sun Run (ACTION SHOT!)

My most recent reunion with running came with the pandemic. Some of my peers started running in lieu of access to a gym and would post their runs, and I was inspired. It had been years since I went for a run, so little 30-minute jaunts were my go-to for a while, but I eventually worked back up to an hour. But, as before, I kept hitting that wall at an hour. So, I started to do some research. A friend of a friend ran marathons, so I reached out and asked how she did it. She offered some advice on nutrition and training–eating something around the hour mark to keep your body going, building up to a marathon, etc–and I started training seriously.

I created a training plan to build up my runs by one mile every week and started signing up for virtual races through runDisney, Disney’s virtual and in-person running program, that culminates in a full marathon around Disney World in January. My first virtual race was at the end of February, less than three months after setting the intention to start building up my running endurance, and was the runDisney Virtual Princess Half Marathon, which I completed in 2:32:42. Since then, I’ve participated in the runDisney Virtual Springtime Surprise Weekend Challenge, which consisted of a 5K (3.1 miles for my fellow Americans), a 10K (6.2 miles), and a 10 mile run over four days (about 16.1 km for everyone else). I completed each with times of 0:30:00, 1:05:09, and 1:52:25, respectively. I don’t know if anyone actually cares about those times, or can interpret what they mean, but know that I was super proud of that 30-minute 5K.

I also signed up for this neat little Lord of the Rings virtual “race” where you travel the distance from The Shire to Mordor (over 600 miles) that I’m doing with friends. That one is gonna take a while, but I’ll be multitasking by training for a marathon and earning medals as I journey to destroy the One Ring at the same time!

Most recently though, as I mentioned at the top, I hit a pretty significant milestone: my first in-person race! On April 24th, I participated in the Vancouver Sun Run–a 10K that takes place in downtown Vancouver, BC–and got my best 10K time ever, finishing in under an hour (0:56:43). Unfortunately, there was some fine print that I missed, indicating that you only get a medal if you sign up for some hybrid race that combines the in-person race and a virtual race, so I didn’t get to walk away with a neat little collectible. Still, I did get a nice running shirt and can show off that great 10K time, so it wasn’t a total loss. Plus, it was a nice way to dip my toes into the in-person experience and I’m excited to do more over the summer.

runDisney Virtual Princess Half Marathon (my first race)

There are no other immediate races on the immediate horizon, but I’ve been spending time signing up for future races, both in-person and virtual. I’m currently signed up for some 5Ks and 10Ks throughout the summer, plus the next runDisney Marathon in January, but that wasn’t my goal, right? I wanted to run a marathon by the end of this year! Luckily, there are a couple of marathons going on in the PNW during the latter half of the year: the Portland Marathon in October and the Seattle Marathon in November. I’m currently signed up for the Seattle Marathon, but I’m considering signing up for Portland as well. At any rate, I’m up to 18 miles at a time (finishing around approximately 3:30:00) and on track to be ready for a marathon by the end of summer.

I’ve really been enjoying this new journey. It’s a great way for me to meditate after a long day and force me to put my phone away for 30 minutes to a few hours. It’s also really satisfying to have an athletic hobby that solely relies on my ability and I’m able to see immediate results from the work that I put in. So, I guess what I’m saying here, is to expect more blogs about running in the future. Probably not in the immediate future, but definitely after I finish that first marathon.

THE WORLD IS YOUR BURRITO!

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