My First & Last Full Marathon

Ever thinking about running a marathon? Ever see a marathon and think "I could never ever do that"? Same.  But then, I did it!  Lots of runners write their stories of how they got "turned on" to the marathon.  How they just wanted to do one and then they caught the bug.  Well, this story is about how I just wanted to do one, I did it, and then I stopped.  I don't want to do it again. I'm content.  

I started running in January or February of my freshman year at Penn State.  My roommate was a bit of a runner and my dad was a runner.  My roommate had mentioned a 5k to me that was going on in a couple months, and I had said something like, 'wow I physically am not capable of running, I don't think I could even run a mile,' and she said something like, 'I think you would be surprised, you could definitely do it, and I'm sure you do at least a 5k on the elliptical at the gym.'

So, I decided to try it out.. to see if I was physically capable of running one mile.  I started by jogging from the freshman dorms to the outdoor track.  The point of course was to run around the track, but then I realized running there and back was already like half a mile! My first run I ran to the track, around one or two laps I can't remember, and back to the dorms. Huh kinda sucked but wasn't THAT bad I guess!

I slowly starting building up from their.  Just kind of randomly running around campus, casually.  After the second week I started typing my route into google maps afterwards to see how much I had gone, to try to gauge if I had done one mile yet.  After maybe five weeks of running a couple times a week, I was so surprised with how I was faring! Maybe I could do a 5k after all!

Anyway, long story short, I ran the Joe Paterno/Special Olympics 5k with my dad! And it became our new tradition.  I kept working on my running for about a year when I found myself running 7 miles at a time.  At this point I thought, hmm I wonder if I could run a half marathon!? So, I slowly increased my mileage each week until I got to 9 miles, and then I signed up! I ran my first half marathon in the summer of 2013.  A week before my half marathon, I started thinking, hmm, I didn't think I could run a 5k and I could, I didn't think I would ever be able to run a half and I'm about to, maybe I should go for the full!
Finishing my first Half Marathon strong!!

So, I started doing my research and preparing. I decided I would low-key and no-pressure begin training for the full.  This, for me, meant that if I didn't enjoy the training, if I didn't feel well or I thought I was pushing too far too quickly, I could stop.  I didn't tell anyone, maybe three people, that I was training, to keep the pressure off.

Three months later, I smashed my 21-mile peak training run!! My best run I've ever had in my life! I was definitely ready for the marathon!

On September 1, 2013 I ran my full marathon! It was unseasonably and unexpectedly HOT out that day.  It was the inaugural Mt. Nittany Marathon and only 180 people had started the race.

Starting Line of the Inaugural Mt Nittany Marathon

Well, only about 100 of us finished! Several people dropped out due to heat and medical need, a handful of people were taken in ambulance to the hospital.  It was quite dramatic.  Luckily, I pulled through healthily.  But, it was ROUGH.

Water Station (I'm slow-jogging not walking!) right before mile 21 I believe

Around mile 22-23 I really hit the wall.  I remember at mile 22 whining to my parents as they came up to cheer me on. I was very adamant the entire race about not walking at all, I wanted to straight RUN the entire 26.2.  But, around mile 22 I walked... I was sad and defeated and hot and sweaty and my legs hurt and I didn't care anymore.  I told them I didn't care about my time anymore and I just wanted to finish and didn't care how.

My amazing dad rescued me those last three miles and laced up his running shoes.  I almost passed out with about two miles to go and grabbed onto his arm for support.  I tried to drink gatorade but it made me nauseous.

And finally, like that, I got to the end! I finished a marathon!!

All I wanted to do was cry and lay on the ground.  I almost immediately took off my sneakers and socks and my blistered sweaty bleeding feet stung against the cement sidewalk.  I received my medal and wore it proudly, as I waited for my dad to pick me up and bring me home to eat and shower.

And, that was that.  After the race, my knee was quite irritated with bursitis and I was out from running for about 8 weeks.  I didn't really start running again until January. I never got as serious again as I was in those first two years of my running.  In some ways, its good, because I would often choose a run over socializing or other important activities.  I had some kind of obligation to run and now I don't.  But in some ways, you also need that obligation to actually go do the damn thing.  Now that running is so casual for me, I find I rarely do it.  Even though it makes me feel better and I like to run and improve, I just don't put the pressure on myself and for that reason I also can't seem to get myself out there as much!

Anyways, I don't see myself running a full marathon ever again. But I am so glad I did it and learned a lot from the experience!


Whats the farthest distance you've ever run?
Want to run a marathon (first time or again)?
Do you feel guilty if you don't run? How do you balance pressuring yourself to workout with not putting too much pressure on it! 

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