Editor’s Note: Last week I actually tried to practice what I wrote in my Faith & Values column – I became a spectator, coach, cheering squad, and tour guide at the Richmond Marathon for two runners attempting their first marathon runs – my niece Caitlin and my daughter’s boyfriend Matt. I had a great time with family and friends watching and cheering and celebrating accomplishment. In this post The Race Before Us asks Matt some questions about his first 26.2 mile run.
1. What surprised you the most about running the marathon?
The fact that it helped me eliminate “I can’t” from my dictionary. I started at the beginning of this fall as a casual runner with usually a 10k max distance (although I did two half marathon distance runs just sort of messing around previously). Looking at the training plan I found online and seeing runs of distances that I had never even attempted, I couldn’t help but sometimes think “there is no way I can ever be able to do this”. But, I took the long runs a week at a time and soon was running distances I never imagined possible. The thing that really surprised me was that I was able to push through all of the challenges of training for and actually running in a marathon while beating the overall goal I set out to run the marathon in (Goal: 3:45, actual time: 3:43:48). It really boosted my self-confidence and showed myself that if I can accomplish this, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
2. What was most fun? What was toughest?
The most fun was defiantly the race itself. Never having run in a competitive race, the entire atmosphere aided with the spectators as well as my family/friends cheering me on really made it great. [Editor’s Note: Matt had never run in an organized race before – no 5Ks or 10Ks and no 1/2 marathons. Matt started with 26.2 and not only finished in 3:44, but had a goal of 3:45.] Getting to run all over Richmond was also a blast. From running Downtown to along the James, the entire race was always filled with great scenery.
The toughest would most certainly be all of the training. I started seriously training the last week of August and put in 317 miles before race day. Running in the cold, heat, rain, wind, etc, wasn’t always fun, so getting myself motivated was sometimes a struggle.
3. What did you enjoy about training, or the race itself, the most?
The thing I enjoyed most was seeing my family/friends as I rounded the last corner towards the finish line. Miles 22-25 were really a struggle physically and mentally, so seeing everyone plus the finish line was really one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.
4. What role did The Race Before Us play in your race?
It really helped me feel better reading that someone else struggled with some of the same issues I was having. I almost always didn’t have an “itch” to get out there and run, like Mr. Matson, but I almost always felt better after a run. Also, a big part The Race played was helping me realize that saying “I don’t have time to run” really isn’t a valid excuse. Everyone is busy, but setting aside that time to run really helped me center myself after a tough day, as well as stay in shape, so finding a way to set aside that time is really pretty essential.