How a Marathon Will Inspire You
I smoked for roughly 29 years. February 2nd I quit. Also on that day I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon. My Fiance, Kristen Cranford, had been running for about a year after shedding 110 pounds, and was planning on signing up for her first marathon. I thought it would be a great idea to finally bite the bullet, quit smoking and run the marathon with her. How hard could a marathon be, right?
I had never been a runner and was mostly a couch potato. I started with Couch-to-5k and with another training program, logged more than 500 miles training. 8 months is a very ambitious time frame to go from non-runner to runner.
Physically, training for a marathon is hard, but the mental portion of it is excruciating. I experienced pain, self-doubt, and learned what discipline really means. I am overweight and slow and the doubt that I would even finish was heavy in my mind right up to race day, but I kept training.
Race day went well for about 18 miles, but then I started to run out of gas. I started to walk. It was hard watching people in their 70’s and cancer survivors pass me. All I could think of was falling off the back and riding the bus to the shame (finish) line. Then, as if she had fallen from heaven, who comes jogging up beside me, but Kristen. She was struggling too. Her day started strong but was unraveling as she developed a severe case of runner’s trots and had to stop at a porta-potty every mile between miles 13 and 18.
Kristen was always faster than me and we had never run together in our concurrent training schedules. I grabbed her by the hand and said, “We are gonna make it to the finish together!” We walked and jogged the final 7 miles encouraging and mentally carrying each other. We finished the Twin Cities marathon with just over two minutes to spare, finishing in 5:57:46!
What I Learned
I learned that I cannot run a marathon and she learned that she cannot run a marathon either. But together, we can and did run a marathon. I couldn’t have done any of it without her and we are already planning our second marathon together.