When I started running a few years ago, it was mainly to get some exercise. I did a bunch of 5K’s, usually when they supported a cause I was vested in or if I had friends running them. I took my first leap into distance running with the Broad St run in 2010, a 10-miler across the city of Philadelphia. It’s an amazing race with 30,000 runners and thousands of spectators. After some training, I finished my first Broad St. It was at that time I first started to think that maybe I could do a marathon. I mentally added it to my bucket list. And this year, when registration opened for the 2011 Philly marathon, I decided to bite the bullet and sign up. I knew if I thought about it too much, I’d never do it.
At the beginning of the summer, I embarked on actually learning about running and how to train. I became obsessed with my schedule and planning my runs, figuring out what to eat, reading every article on running I could get my hands on. And by the time the marathon came and went in November, I couldn’t imagine my life without all that training. It was in that mindset that I signed up for the Napa Valley Marathon. A month later, I kind of wish I had thought it over a little more.
In theory, running the marathon in Napa sounds great. Run through some gorgeous scenic countryside, with lots of vineyards, in a pleasant climate. Take a little vacation in California while I’m out there. Visit some wineries. Not a bad way to recover post-race. Even the strict no-headphones rule (which I’ve learned they actually enforce) seemed like a fun challenge. But I forgot a few key things here. Firstly, Christmas, and the entire month of December is like a scheduling black hole where any free time you have is devoted to shopping, parties, drinking punch, and eating cookies like there’s no tomorrow. Certainly leaves no time for training. Secondly, it’s cold outside!!! Doing training runs in September was great. I looked forward to being outside. Now it’s all I can do to walk to the gym with multiple layers on, and it’s not even the peak of winter yet. Thirdly, there’s no daylight! It’s nearly impossible to run before or after work because there’s so little sunlight, and I’m not crazy about running in the dark.
I find myself severely out of marathon shape, with Napa coming up on March 4. I need to get back on track, fast. I will be forcing myself to get out and do at least a 13-mile run this weekend.