Why Wait For An Organized Marathon?
Make Your Marathon About You
Create Your Own Marathon
As an avid marathon runner I am always looking for an interesting marathon to run. I look for organized events in my area and other events out of town as well. What I have found however is that most organized marathon events are on Sundays and usually that does not conform to my schedule. On occasion I will find a fun event between a 5k to a half marathon distance not on a Sunday and I try to run those as well.
Those events are enjoyable to participate in but they aren't an event that pushes me to leg cramping, and at times, a state of misery. The marathon distance has left me on the side of the road in agony on almost every occasion, but I have always persevered and finished. I'm not fast by any means and don't really aspire to be. I'll leave that to the men and women who have higher VO2 max numbers than I do. I run my 26.2 miles for nothing other than personal achievement. Who knows? I may do it to prove to myself that I'm still tough or that I can endure a pain that many can't even conceive. Those reasons are speculative at best and I'm sure there are other reasons as well that I engage in the sport. To be totally candid, I’m not sure exactly why I run such distances. It sure feels great when I’m done though.
When given the chance, I do love running in a major event with 30,000 other crazy marathon competitors. There is an excitement factor that accompanies events like these. Then there is the cost. Over the years I have spent a lot of money to travel to events and to register whether I was out of town or not. It really begins to get expensive. If I have enough time, money, and patience to plan an out of town trip for the sole purpose of running for a few hours, I will. What often happens though is I have to travel to the event a day prior, check in, get a hotel, and worry about logistics.
My alternative is to create my own marathon routes in and around my neighborhood. I may choose to run constant 5 mile loops, run an out and back course and I have even run one way down a desolate interstate side road for 26.2 miles. At the end of that run was a Dairy Queen at a remote highway exit that received a couple dollars of mine for the best Peanut Buster Parfait I have ever had. At least until next time!
Once I choose my route, I look at the calendar and I pick a date to run. These dates have always been on Saturdays and have been subject to change according to my needs. I still give myself enough time to properly train and I share my plans with family and friends. As the date gets closer my excitement level builds and I wonder whether my training is sufficient.
When the day comes to run my marathon I am still excited and have butterflies to prove it. I still to this day have a constant nervousness much like I had the first day in a new school as a child. I have family and friends there with me, some of which run with me if only for a mile here or there. I carry my water bottle and a debit card. If I get hungry while near an establishment such as a gas station I stop and eat. If I need to go to the bathroom, I will find a place to do that as well. It has become a very rewarding way of distance running. On my time, at my pace, and I make the rules.
I don't receive a medal when I am done. I don't get to run under the time clock and banner at an extravagant finish line. I don't get to listen to thousands of onlookers clapping and cheering for me during the last mile. I don't run my marathons for those reasons however. I run marathons merely to test my personal boundaries of discomfort. And I have realized over the years that I can achieve the same satisfaction while running completely alone. Give it a try. You may be amazed at how rewarding it really can be.