As many of you know, I’ve had my heart set on running the Towpath Marathon ever since I went to it last year and cheered on my friend Holly as she ran the half and my stepmom as she ran the full. I’ll never forget how I hid from the rain on the porch of the Boston Store and told myself that I was going to run a full marathon in 2013 and that the Towpath would be it.
During the course of my marathon training, I thought that several things could potentially keep me from completing my first full marathon.
Running 26.2 miles is not easy; that’s why it’s such a big accomplishment. I thought that at some point my body could have just said “ENOUGH!” and I would be able to go no further. Although the weatherfolks say that we had a relatively cool summer, I can vividly recall many 90+ degree days on which there were only a few of us crazy folks out and about.
I also thought that an injury could pop up. Last year, I only started running in June, and I didn’t have much wear on my tires when I completed the 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. This year is a much different story. While some weeks have been heavier than others, I have been running somewhat regularly since the beginning of the year. I had no idea how my body would hold up as time went on, which is why I didn’t plan to run a marathon that required hotel rooms or long-distance travel. I was afraid that my fears were coming true in late July and early August, when a persistent calf and hamstring injury kept me out of regular action for almost a month and nagged at me all through our vacation to Rhode Island and Niagara Falls. Fortunately, those injuries are no longer an issue!
As I mentioned earlier, I got bit by a dog on the run during which I found out that those injuries had gone away for good. My first thought immediately after the bite was that I wouldn’t be able to run the Towpath Marathon. Fortunately, the bite healed up quickly and a small scar is the only evidence of that incident.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that a government shutdown would throw a monkey wrench into my plans to run my first marathon. I always thought that the upside of the Towpath’s location within a national park was that we wouldn’t have to deal with traffic and that the course itself would be absolutely beautiful. I never, ever thought it would be a problem, but the government shutdown has made it an enormous liability!
In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a big deal. I’m blessed to have a stable job and to get paid on a regular basis and I feel awful for all of the government workers who are unemployed right now. The rescheduling of a marathon is nothing compared to going without income for multiple weeks.
That said, the experience has been a bit of a downer and I have spent a lot of time thinking about what to do. Unfortunately, the Columbus Marathon sold out. The Inland Trail Marathon in Lorain County was another option, but Sheila is going to be out of town that day and I wouldn’t want to run my first marathon without her. The Northern Ohio Marathon was also sold out. I thought about just going out and running 26.2 that day somewhere around Cleveland, but the idea of finishing without an official time or recognition wasn’t very appealing.
Fortunately, the kind folks at the Lake Health Running Series who are putting on the Northern Ohio Marathon heard the cries of those of us who were going to be left marathonless and they agreed to open up spots for us! After initially stating that we wouldn’t get a medal if we ran because they were out of them, they were even nice enough to order more medals that can be picked up a few weeks after the marathon. At the risk of sounding cheesy, their willingness to do that meant a LOT to me. After driving the course last night, I signed up for the Northern Ohio Marathon. While a medal wasn’t the deciding factor, I am looking forward to putting it on the medal stand that Sheila made for me along with the various other medals that I have accumulated throughout the year.
One of the biggest themes that has been interwoven throughout my life is that my life often turns out in a way that is very different than what I had planned…and the end result has usually been for the better. I could write several posts about the many ways in which God has rewritten my life story over and over again in very unexpected ways and how His plans for my life have turned out to be much better than anything I could have created on my own.
I’m trusting and hoping that the same thing will happen this weekend. While I’m still just a bit bummed that the Towpath Marathon won’t be my first full marathon, I’m growing more and more excited for the Northern Ohio Marathon. The weather forecast is looking great and the simple fact that I am running my first marathon is exciting! While I know that the race will push me to my mental and physical limits, I also know that I’ve trained hard and run all sorts of distances over the past year and a half that I never, ever thought I could do. I’m looking forward to making some great memories this Sunday and I know that it’s going to be another day to remember!