It’s January 2017. In several weeks, I’ll be 42 years old. Definitely over the hill. But not too old to run a marathon. A quick search on average age for marathoners yielded this answer from FitnessFatale.com:
“The average age of a marathon runner is 38.7 years old (40.2 for men, 36.5 for women).”
So, see. This idea is not too crazy. Besides, wouldn’t it be wonderful and so symbolic that at age 42, I’d be running 42 kilometers? I think it is. And so in December, while everyone was frantically shopping for Christmas gifts in the mall, I was frantically signing up for a marathon race happening on March 12, 2017.
I’m not at all in excellent shape. I’ve been running on and off. But that’s what the 12 weeks of training is for. Duh.
To be honest, I have done a marathon before. Well, more like “participated.” When I was 40 and working as an ESL teacher in China, a friend of a friend offered a slot in the first ever Shenzhen International Marathon. I said sure without really thinking it through. That was a Wednesday, the race was on Sunday. I was not fit then either. I was at best called “semi-active.” On Saturday, day before the marathon, I also signed up for a run/bike event.
On Sunday, I brought my bag with me. I proceeded to the starting line and ate a banana just before the gun start (and an old Chinese man /runner kind of scolded me for doing this). I had every intention of dropping out anytime I felt like I couldn’t take the pain anymore. That’s the reason why I had my things with me. I “ran” very slowly and kept doing a mental body check. “Am I OK? Are my legs still fine? Is my breathing OK? Is my heart about to burst?” I also stopped at every water station.
I was fine until I reached 32 kilometers and I felt like my legs were cement. My arms were numb and my stomach was cramping. The 5:30 pacing group was out of sight. But in my mind, it was too late to drop out. I ran/walked through the stomach cramps and I finished it. My time was more than 6 hours. Somewhere between 6:15-6:30. I don’t know because my tracker has ran out of battery by the time I crossed the finish line.
I am signing up again this time because I want to know how I would fare with some training. For some reason, I don’t consider that previous marathon my first marathon. It’s more like a taste of it. If it were a movie, I’d be mentioned as having “special participation.” Also, like I said, that 42 kilometers at 42 years old thing just sounds so cool.
As one of the most cliche sayings goes, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” I really believe in that. This time, because I’m trying to prepare for a marathon, I’d have full experience of the aches and joys. I do want that. (What is wrong with me?) I want to have a marathon that starts 12 weeks prior to the race.
And this blog will help me remember every step, every learning from this journey.