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Just Because It's a Bad Idea Doesn't Mean It Won't Be Fun!

Go ahead and admit it, we’ve all done some stupid things before.  Some of you may recall childhood memories of trying to “fly” off your roof with an open umbrella to more creative endeavors as a college student powered by the sweet allure of cheap beer or even more recently as a young adult in your first marriage, also made less painful by the even sweeter allure of much better beer that you can now afford. We’ve all done things we’re not proud of and yet we somehow keep finding new ways to make our mistakes more dramatic and more memorable than the last.

Enter the 2016 US Air Force Marathon. I registered for this race months ago since I was selected as an alternate for the US Air Force Reserve Component Command marathon team. I was ecstatic and motivated back then and even discussed training with my husband to achieve a coveted Boston marathon qualifying time. I met with a trusted friend, had a solid training plan tailored for me and jumped in truly excited to run my very best time ever. Then, life happened.

I could detail all my reasonable excuses like the fact that I struggled with injury, urgent issues tied to raising four children and some critical changes in my work schedule. However, none of those things honestly robbed me of all training time, but certainly made it that much more challenging for me to keep up with my earlier intentions. The simple, basic fact is that in all that noise, I lost all my motivation and focus. Boston has really never been an internalized goal for me, but rather a result of being surrounded by so many other great local runners and even my own husband who have earned a spot in that race before. I suppose the only reason I occasionally get the urge to attempt a qualifying time is to lend some legitimacy to my running career that has spanned over two decades of my life. That and perhaps because I realize that accomplishing that feat would push me to my absolute physical limits. But do I really want to do that? The answer is no. And ultimately, if a deep, intense fire for a goal isn’t there and burning on its own, the reality is that no one can truly motivate you to the contrary.

So here I am – eleven days out from a full marathon and I’ve only run perhaps a total of 26 miles over the last six weeks. Brilliant. It’s certainly not a plan I recommend for anyone else as there are some obvious physical risks that I am assuming by being so grossly underprepared. However, this will be my fifth marathon and sixth time ever running over 26 miles in one day (I also have one 50K to my credit). I am well aware of the distance and effort it takes to traverse that kind of course and for this one, it will be at sea level in Dayton, Ohio with many of my fellow airman and Air Force personnel. Even without the training, I am actually very excited and have drafted the top ten reasons why I’m actually attempting such a stupid idea:

10.  Because I know I CAN. I’m healthy and smart (no, really – I am. Don’t judge) and know better than to go out hard and attempt a PR. I will be slow and deliberate, but I will get it done and I’ll finish with a smile. Dammit.

9. To prove to others that they can accomplish more than they think they can. No, I’m not suggesting others should jump off the sofa and run a marathon per se, but we all have feats in our lives that we sometimes perceive to be out of reach. I believe everyone should feel empowered to push themselves outside of their comfort zone and crush their own proverbial marathon, though I say again, DON’T do the actual marathon without training. Public service announcement complete.

8. I get to visit a new town and experience a new course with lots more oxygen! BONUS!

7. Because for marathons, they tend to close all the streets so you can feel like royalty in your own parade with thousands of other VIPs just like you!

6. To boost my own self-confidence as I continually like to test myself to make sure my mind is still in charge and determines what I can or cannot do. Nothing else.

5. I will feel like a superhero the moment I cross the finish line and get a new shiny medal to display, plus a cool space blanket?? There better be a blanket.

4. I will make plenty of new friends along the way since I am a very social runner and stick to the back of the pack where everyone isn’t so serious. Who knows? Maybe I’ll do some interviews for my next blog entitled “Why Other People Run Marathons” and take some fun photos to match!

3. I want to inspire others to be active and get moving in whichever way they choose. Be strong and be happy! But remember, NO actual marathons without training. Please.

2. I know that I will be inspired and will undoubtedly be blown away by someone else’s story in how they came to be on the road to completing a marathon. People are amazing if you take the time to ask.

1. Beer. I’ll get to try new beer in a new town. Because after all, we all know that every bad idea must start or end with beer!

See you on the trail (or not) – and stay tuned for my follow up Air Force Marathon race report!

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