Last year, around this time, as I was heading into my 40th birthday, I set goal to run four marathons to commemorate my 40th year. And despite an injury that sidelined me for two months – and forced me to defer entry into one of my planned marathon runs – I am happy to say that I did it. Last weekend, I ran the Richmond Marathon and made it my fourth marathon of the year!
Here’s a quick recap:
March 17: Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, Virginia Beach, VA. 4:14:54
I got a little cocky when I launched my 4 for 40 goal, so not only did I sign up for this marathon, but I also decided to make it a “Whale Challenge,” by running the 8K the day before with my 10 year old daughter. Running that 8K with her was one of the highlights of my running year, but it also probably contributed to the horrible ITB syndrome that seized my legs after running the marathon the next day. That, and the fact that I ran way faster than I had been training. This stands as my marathon PR, but the cost was an injury that kept me from running for nearly two months.
May 5: Potomac River Run Marathon, Washington DC. DEFER
This is the marathon that I had to skip due to my horribly painful ITB syndrome. I did go to the race to cheer on other mother runner friends and can still remember how much my legs hurt when I tried to run a one mile easy run while waiting for them in the parking lot. And I remember how disappointed I was when I thought my shot at completing my goal was over before I even really got started.
Oct 13: Steamtown Marathon, Scranton, PA. 4:28:11
This was hands down my favorite marathon of the year. The weather was gorgeous, the leaves were spectacular, and the crowd support was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Oh, and the post-race finish line food included pierogies and baked ziti – both homemade by local volunteers. I didn’t even care that my stomach was still a little shaky from the run – I went back for seconds of that good stuff!
Oct 27: Marine Corps Marathon, Arlington, VA: 4:34:48
This was the marathon that snuck on to my calendar when I was least expecting it. Back in the spring, while I was still licking my wounds from Shamrock and wallowing in self-pity over my inability to run, a friend of mine approached me with a favor. She had recently been diagnosed with Lupus and was still struggling with the diagnosis, but she also wanted to raise money for Lupus-related research. She saw that the Lupus Foundation was sending a team to MCM, but there was only one problem – she is not a runner. So she asked me to run for her and help her raise money – and awareness – for her cause. No one has ever asked me to run for them before. And I was happy to do anything I could to help. So I signed up, even though at the time I still could not even run from my house to my car. And I’m so glad that I did. The MCM is on a completely different level from other marathons I have raced. It is about so much more than running. It is about country, and commitment, and community in a way that I can’t express in words without sounding corny. If you have the opportunity – you should definitely add the MCM to your race calendar. Just be prepared for long lines both before and after the race!
Nov 16: Richmond Marathon, Richmond, VA: 4:24:34
This is the fourth year in a row that I have run Richmond, and the second year that I have completed a marathon here. It’s a fantastic location and race that’s close to home and has thus become a fun Girls’ Weekend Getaway for me and a handful of mother runner friends. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the Richmond race. It’s always extremely well organized and supported and this year was no exception. As this was my 4th -and final – race of the year, I pushed the pace a little bit to see what I could do. I still didn’t top my Shamrock run, but considering how that run put me out of commission for two months, I’m thinking that pace was probably out of my league to begin with.
As a side note – my ITB injury in the spring turned into a serendipitous surprise. By running the MCM instead of the Potomac River Run Marathon, I qualified (at the base level) as a member of the Marathon Maniacs by running 2 marathons in 2 weeks and 3 marathons in 90 days. So, say hello to Maniac #8130! Fellow maniacs – feel free to drop a line in the InSane asyLum!
So what’s next?
As many of you know, I lost my sweet 14-year-old lab, Otis, earlier this year. At the time, I promised my girls that I would do something special to honor our boy, and I found that something in Team ASPCA. On January 12, 2014, I will run the Walt Disney World Marathon as a member of Team ASPCA to raise money for animals in need. It is a perfect fit as Otis came to us from a shelter and as I mentioned on my profile page, you might say that he taught me to run by dragging me everywhere we went!
I will write Otis’ name on the Team ASPCA singlet that I will wear during the marathon – and I will glady write the names of your beloved furry, feathered, or scaly friend as well. Just send me his or her name and I will add it to the shirt!
Even $5 will get me closer to my goal of honoring Otis and supporting an organization that helps protect and advocate for animals in need.
Thanks for your help!