To Marathon or Not To Marathon?

Greetings from Minnesota. The temperatures have warmed up today – it’s almost 20 degrees – but the sky has decided to snow. And I think that’s enough talk about the weather.

For the last, oh, maybe the last year or so, I have been entertaining the idea of running a marathon. [insert perplexed/scared face here] It’s definitely a serious undertaking, but there are so many reasons bouncing around in my brain about why I want to do it.

Pros (and other thoughts)

  • I like to run; I figure that will be helpful 🙂
  •  I’ve been running consistently again for a few years. (as opposed to running during my college years which might mean an 8-miler on a nice afternoon followed by no running for 2 weeks.)
  • I’ve done 2 half marathons and hope to do more, but I want to tackle the challenge and feel the sense of accomplishment of a full marathon.
  • I feel close to God when I run (especially outside). I can pray, think and even relax if it’s an easy run. 
  •   I’m plenty busy, but I figure I will only get busier as time goes on. (Besides, we don’t have kids yet, and I’ve always said I will run my first marathon before having kids.) 
  • It would be a great way to raise money for a cause important to me if I can work it out.
  • I’ve been doing enough speed work over the past year that I think there’s hope I would cross the finish line in a respectable time (or at least before they close it)!
  • During 2010 I have been (relatively) injury free.
  • I’m thinking a late spring marathon. It’s a better option for me because summer and fall are way busier times at the farm, and I could more easily fit in training over the winter/spring.
  • Who am I kidding, I want to be able to tell people I finished a marathon 😉

Okay, so there’s at least a few decent reasons to run a marathon in 2011. Now let’s look at the other side…

Cons (and other thoughts)

  • My free time and running schedule are really more conducive to training for shorter races.
  • I could or should be able to get a big half marathon PR if I just stepped up my training moderately. (and I still wouldn’t be running as much as marathon training.)
  • I definitely think I’ll have a higher chance of injury from increasing my miles. I can manage this risk with good planning, but it’s still there.
  • I don’t want to “put all my eggs in one basket” so to speak. If I train and plan for the marathon and then can’t run it because of injury, illness, an emergency, etc I don’t think I’ll deal very well. I realize this sounds whiny and like I’m afraid to try because I might fail, and I suppose that’s a little bit of the truth.
  • Part of me feels bad if I spend too much time running. I could do more things with husband, friends and family, have a cleaner house, or get ahead on things at the farm instead of marathon training. I think I currently have a healthy balance, especially because I really do a lot of my running early in the morning or over my lunch hour, but I worry that a marathon would be a rather selfish activity. Would it be fair to my husband and family and the cows and calves I care for everyday?
  • Shorter races are tough in their own right, and I could work my tail off forever just lowering my 5K or 10K times. A person can set goals, train, and achieve at any race distance.
  • Aside from an entry fee and travel, I have a feeling more miles will mean costs for shoes, clothing, and even groceries (think powerade and gu in bulk) will add up more quickly.

Ok, that’s enough philosophy. At the end of the day it might logically make more sense to focus on shorter distances, but… I still want to run a marathon someday. Someday might never come unless I make definite plans.

The race I mainly have my eye on… drumroll please…

The Fargo Marathon – May 21, 2011

I suppose the real reason I’m writing this long, rambling post is because I kinda need to decide soon so I can start training. Knowing myself, I’ll probably loosely start training and getting consistent with my long runs for the next few months.

I’ll put off making a final decision as long as possible so I’m not locked in if something major comes up. I’m sure it would work out way better if I could just find a compelling reason NOW to either sign up and start marathon training or decide against it and focus on a half marathon or even 10K.

I need your wisdom ladies! Share your own experience, and if you have a direct response to any of my pro or con thoughts please comment.

If you’ve done a marathon, what were your reasons for deciding to run your first?

About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
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12 Responses to To Marathon or Not To Marathon?

  1. shelby says:

    Um….actually I think you articulated the pros and cons pretty well. It’s a tough call. You could do what I do with all important decisions and flip a coin or ask a Magic 8 ball. (And I’m only half joking….)

    In all seriousness, it sounds like something you’re pretty excited about and if I had to pick a side? I’d say do it! Marathon running is like so many things in life – there is never going to be a perfect time. So if it’s something you want to check off life’s list, then go for it.

    (If you do, be sure to check out Jeri – she’s an experienced marathoner and and all-around cool chick and is also doing Fargo! http://jerbear8.blogspot.com/)

    • Lisa says:

      “Never a perfect time” – I think this is so true. Thanks for the good advice. I’ve actually come across Jeri’s blog a few times, but I didn’t realize she was also doing Fargo. I’ll have to start following her more closely!

  2. Kierstan says:

    You should totally do it! You sound like me in my post on whether or not to “Fargo.” It sounds like you’ve already decided and just need a swift kick to the butt to actually register! 🙂

    Plus, I am doing it. And quite a few other ladies are running either the full or the half. But you should for sure do the full.

    What charity would you run for?

    • Lisa says:

      Also good advice, and cool that I will “know” people at the marathon 🙂 I’m thinking I would sign up to run with Team World Vision even though Fargo isn’t one of their specific events. Their events generally go toward a project in Africa, but I believe there’s also some that help with relief work in Haiti. I need to do a bit more research to understand where the money goes before I commit, but that’s what I’m thinking about.

  3. Kierstan says:

    Shelby – I totally went to college with Jeri! Very random that you posted her link here!!

  4. ElenaSC says:

    Hi!I just started running – only few months – and I just posted about this new adventure (http://wp.me/pXsUB-Bk).
    If you have any advice for me…. it would be great! I wonder if one day I will be able to run half marathon….
    Thanks!

  5. Dana says:

    I think you have a very fair and even list of pros and cons! Very well thought out and you raise alot of great points. As you know, I’m doing my first marathon this year and it was a decision that was both easy and hard all at the same time. My main concerns were like yours — time it takes to train and the fact that it’s a MARATHON — 26.2 miles is a long long distance!

    But all of a sudden, I started getting the “itch” like I really wanted to do it. Then I watched the 2010 marathon on TV and after that …. I was sold and registered the next morning. I also think it’s great that you’re thinking about running for a charity. For me, running a marathon is going to be an awesome accomplishment — but to raise $$ for an organization near and dear to my heart just takes it to a whole other level.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but I feel like you have your mind up about 95% of the way and you just need that little extra encouragement 🙂

    so — DO IT!!!!!!!

  6. lauren says:

    I decided because it was the next natural progression in distance (after running 10 half-marathons & a 30k!) – then I had to talk myself into it. On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed my training & REALLY enjoyed the whole race.

    DO IT!! 🙂

  7. If you really want to do it then go for it. There is never a good time to tackle 26.2 miles. The only advice I have is to make sure you are running this distance for you and not for someone else!

    I would love to run the full at Fargo but right now there is no way I can “have fun” training for a marathon. Although if a bunch of my bloggy friends sign up for Fargo I might have to head over there to run the half and be a full cheerleader!

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