I am an Athlete

I am an athlete. That’s what I told myself the other day as I forced my tired legs to hit the pavement in Central Park. On July 11, I officially began training for my first marathon – which will take place in Philadelphia on November 20, 2010.

While I have always been extremely athletic and something of a tom-boy, I have never seriously trained for a race. Until now. In the past, I would commonly run 6 miles a day, five days a week – but that was more or less for my own physical and mental well-being.

Exercise has always been my method for releasing stress. Be it a dance class, kayaking, hiking a mountain, whacking tennis balls, or running – I need exercise to feel human. In fact, I crave it and feel like a slug if I go more than a day or two without a good cardio workout.

As a runner, I have always had decent speed but I was never a sprinter. I often managed my six-mile runs under 60 minutes, and focused more on enjoying the outdoor setting, the music I listened to, and simply clocking my miles. However, that has all changed in the last year.

I have always wanted to train for a marathon, but with my chaotic and unpredictable schedule (what with long days on sets and last minute contracts that send me around the country!), I was always scared to sign up for a marathon for fear of never making it due to work. This year my attitude and priorities have changed. I realized that if for some grand reason I can’t run my planned marathon, its not the end of the world.

So with my new attitude, I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon back when registry opened in April. I began running regularly as much as I could with my filming schedule, and began to shave time off of my runs. I ran the Philadelphia Broad Street Run (10 mile race) in early May 2010, and was surprised to finish in the top 6% of female racers. With that new confidence, I hit the pavement with a new attitude.

Suddenly I felt like I was strong, and capable of anything I put my mind towards. Tired legs or hill training no longer became intimidating as much as a fun challenge. I began to focus on eating power foods, sleeping more, and viewing myself as an athlete. Because that’s what a marathon runner is.

Up until July 11, I focused on gaining a good amount of base miles, and tackled long runs once a week as prep for the super long runs I will face during official training. My long runs were usually 12.4 miles, which in the beginning felt like a huge under taking. While I still view that as a good, hard run, it’s no longer a big deal but a fun challenge.

With my change of attitude, my priorities have shifted too. For example, my social life has drastically diminished. I am prioritizing training and work, and then planning social activities after – assuming I have time.

In preparation for the marathon, I am running a half marathon in September, and looking to sign up for a marathon in October as well. I am using the marathon training guide provided for the ING NYC Marathon, as I want to train hard but not over train and risk injury.

As for goals, I have the ambitious goal of running the marathon within 3:40:59, which would qualify me for the Boston Marathon – the most famous marathon in the USA. While this goal is rather large for a first time marathoner, I don’t believe it’s impossible – plus I enjoy a challenge!

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~ by Elizabeth on July 14, 2010.

2 Responses to “I am an Athlete”

  1. You are certainly an athlete, and I am glad to hear you say so! Running a marathon is no small feat, and demonstrates real commitment and dedication. I have total faith that you will achieve your goal and qualify for Boston!

  2. […] best friend Liz is training to run her first marathon.  On Wednesday she blogged about it, and the way training changed her mindset and her priorities.  For the first time, she says, she […]

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