“Everything you ever wanted to know about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles.” – Lori Culnane
Every time I had read that quote in the past, I would think ‘sure, that makes sense’. If you commit to running 26.2 miles, you will get to learn a thing or two about your own self. That’s not an over statement. The most I have ever run is a half marathon. 13.1. I was pretty innocent and naive, when I signed up for my first half, and to run it without any sort of training what so ever. My total training miles, two weeks prior to that race was about 7 miles, with a long run of 3 miles. The number of drinks I had would be more than the miles I had run those last two weeks. It takes a special kind of naive person to be able to be that ignorant, but I was that special person back then! In my excuse, my love for running was so blind I hardly paid attention to how it was done! Following that run, I had gotten to experience my first running injury – an IT Band issue with my left leg. It took me about 2 months to get back into properly running again.
Since then I had been little more careful with my goals. After running about 10 half marathons, for a brief moment in Dec 2016 I thought I would build up my training miles so I could run LA Marathon in 2017. My birthday would be in March 23rd, and this race would be just right before my birthday, and this would be a good achievement to add to my list of things I did when I turned 40. It made sense. I thought I had a plan, and I worked on my weekly long runs, which I never done consistently in the past. Worked my way up to 14 miles. But as my luck would have it, a minor calf strain which I thought was just a nuisance, would interfere my running, and as the long run miles got longer, it gotten worse. I had to go back to figure out why I was hurting. I made a decision in February that I wasn’t quite ready for the LA Marathon. Instead of distance and Marathon I would need to go back to basics and focus on my form and breathing. I have been doing that for last few weeks.
When I saw LA Marathon Finisher photos yesterday a part of me cheered for my running friends who finished the race. In the mean time a part of me felt a little disappointed in my own self for not trying little too hard where I could have been there in the course with them. Can a race that I didn’t run teach me something about myself? Is the 26.2 miles I didn’t run, here to teach me something? I do think so. In some ways this Marathon Goal I had in December forced me to face the reality that I had been running mostly out of pure luck, not because I have the best of the forms. Whatever training gotten me through 13.1 miles comfortably, is not going to be carrying me to 26.2 miles. Those 26.2 miles are going to be real. I am pretty sure every mile past that 13.1 mark, is going to magnify the real truth exponentially. There is no room for errors there. That is what I was scared of, when I wanted to back out of my Marathon Goal. I just wanted to take the time to look in and fix my self, before I embark on a Marathon Journey!
I also got to see lot of runners finish the LA Marathon with so much joy. I had friends that wanted to PR and did exactly that. And I had friends that wanted to finish and they just did. It was more than 5 and 6 hours, but the joy of the person PRed with under 3:30 time and the person that finished with 5 and 6 hours – is exactly the same! I think that is because they got what they wanted to get out of this race – their own goals!
I have a lot to work on, learning to run, to run with correct form, to learn to breath properly, to build my base miles – slow and steady, to run and run my best without fearing another injury! This LA Marathon and its 26.2 miles that I didn’t get to run, did indeed teach me a whole lot to me about me. If mile zero brings in this much learning, I can’t wait to see what the 26.2 miles would teach me, and I am all the more excited to find out! As soon as LA Marathon 2018 opens for registration, I will be there to register myself!
As far my learning, I am on my way. I had to dial down my slow runs, to be much slower. I ran a 13 mile long run this Saturday, I hardly felt any pain. My running friend David Paul told me the secret to not land on my calves as I did before. Short strides. Its going to take a bit of time for me to unlearn and re-learn some basics, but I am working on it!