It has been almost two months since the big day. 10-10-10. A date that consumed most of my plans during 2010. In January, I registered to run the Chicago Marathon. Then, I spent the rest of the year preparing for it. Well, sort of.

Preparing for my second marathon was so different from the first. The first marathon was all about the finish or the idea that I wanted to finish without dying in the process. I didn’t really have a goal time or any real idea of what to expect. During the entire training, never once do you run the whole mileage of 26.2, I ran up to 20 and just assumed if I could do 20, I could do 26.2. With the first, I ran on adrenaline, the excitement of seeing what I was capable of and knowing that with each Saturday long run I had just accomplished more than I ever had before.

There was about six months between marathon one and signing up for Chicago that I hadn’t done much running. I had gotten out of the routine due to summer vacations, obligation, and the gamut of justifications that come with why it is so easy to get out of any good healthy routine. Then, in December of last year, my good friend Sarah, reminds me of our committment to run Chicago together. We were going to run together for my first in Knoxville but she decided to have a baby. Which, if I was going to pick a good reason not to run, that is a pretty good one. 

So, it was the beginning of February, and time to really think about training. Not going to lie, this was harder. Where was my motivation? My family had already been-there, done-that so they were more than willing to be flexible. But, there aren’t a lot of “go, mom!” for three-mile runs when they already know you are capable of more. This is also about the time my friends started to realize, I may actually be crazy. I mean, one marathon, okay, check it off the bucket list. But, two. Why? 

I had a blast running with my friend Sarah. We spent most of our training 950 miles apart. But, nothing Facebook and texting can’t overcome. Sarah is the one to blame for my new-found obsession and it was fitting to run such an amazing race with her. My favorite part was knowing that we were sharing in the same experiences. While, never running a single run together before the marathon, I never worried that it wouldn’t be possible come race day. Our trainings were almost identical, with me having a little more cross training to compensate for a cranky knee. I loved getting those Saturday morning texts with a “Go, Marathoning Mama” or a time and distance to know how she did.

Motivation is a funny thing. Sometimes the music is good, sometimes the encouragement is just what you need to hear and sometimes, as it was through most of my training, you just have to do it. There are few things in life that we have control of. Anything can influence the outcome, but how are we getting started? Do we get ourselves up and moving? Do we push through the “I don’t feel like it” and do it anyway. Is the goal wanted bad enough?

I realized at the end of the Chicago Marathon that is wasn’t about the marathon this time, it was about what I had done the 6 months prior. It was about getting up when I didn’t want to. It was about 5 am morning runs that were already 70 degrees. It was about an amazing friend that ran my 10 mile long run with me while on vacation. It was about family willing to plan running routes around their houses so I didn’t have to miss my training. It was about a husband running sprints with me up and down hills before heading to work. It was about fixing flat bike tires at 6am. It was about friends understanding that 9:30 is as late as I could stay out on a Friday night because of a Saturday run. It was about text messages the day before the big race with inspiring words of encouragement. It was about the journey. While I ran most of my miles alone, I was never alone. And when it comes right down to it, my life, my journey to marathon is as much about the people who love me as it is about the ability to tell myself to get up and go running.

The official stats for the Chicago Marathon, October 10, 2010 Bib #15285

Distance MAR
Clock Time 5:26:27
Chip Time 5:02:24
Overall Place 23462 / 36088
Gender Place 8990 / 16142
Division Place 1507 / 36088
Net 5K 0:34:19
Net 10K 1:07:51
Net 15K 1:41:19
Net 20K 2:15:54
Net Half 2:23:40
Net 25K 2:50:57
Net 30K 3:28:02
Net 35K 4:08:14
Net 40K 4:46:08