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marathon maniac

This is an article about how I ‘became’ a maniac that is going to be published this week in the Magazine that featured the article about my blog last month! Enjoy!

If you would have asked me a year ago if I wanted to be a Marathon Maniac, I would have thought you were referencing a cartoon show for 5 year olds. I had just ran my first half marathon, though I had been running off and on for 8 years, and there was no way I was toeing the line for 26.2 miles in my near future. I had no desire to double the distance I was currently running, nor put in the time and training it took to conquer the marathon monster. The marathon to me was a ‘bucket list’ goal, or one that I would do once in my life simply to say that I’ve ran a marathon.

Then, for some reason that I have no explanation for, I started to think about what would happen. I could do it, couldn’t I? My mind started to wonder about the full marathon, why not? Once the seed was planted by perusing some blogs, online training plans, and watching a few inspiration videos, the idea blossomed into an obsession. Before I knew what was going on I was reaching out to a few people, getting a training schedule in place and committing to my first full marathon.

The first marathon was not all I had hoped it would be, and as I crossed under the finish line there was no tears or sense of accomplishment, which was devastating. I wanted to have the tears of joy, the excitement, the accomplishment as the medal was placed around my neck, but I felt empty. Thus, I swore off running another marathon because of the empty feelings I had. I didn’t want to run another marathon and be miserable again. Four hours, twenty eight minutes and fifteen seconds is a long time to be on the verge of tears. For some reason though, deep down I knew I could do better. I deserved another chance and convincing myself that was a challenge but after two months I started finding out more and more about different training plans, and I got back on the proverbial horse and signed up for another marathon. I wanted redemption and I knew I could get a much faster time if I gave the marathon another chance.

What happened next was a race called the San Fransisco Marathon. I completed the half marathon portion of the race for the ‘California Dreamin’ ‘ series, which basically awards you a huge medal for completing San Fransisco, Long Beach and Surf City races in a year, respectively. I was so happy I completed this, but something strange happened while running my half marathon out on the course that day. There were a horde of people wearing yellow jerseys with Black and Red accents, spelling out Marathon Maniac on the front. My friend was in the ‘club’ and wore his Maniac jersey for this race. Him and I ran the race together for fun, and everyone we passed with a yellow jersey shouted out words of encouragement. Whether it was a “Hey Maniac!” or “Go Maniac” or just a hearty “Maniac”, the camaraderie they all shared in the pain of running made me realize I wanted into the club of crazies.

I wanted to run Long Beach Marathon in October as my redemption race and then somehow online I won an entry to the Inaugural Malibu Marathon in November. Thus the seed was planted for my entrance to the club of Maniacs. I figured since who knew if I would ever run two marathons in a row again in my life, I might as well tack on a third in the third month to reach the lowest entry point of the club, three marathons in three months. Once your in, your in for life, and you get a hideous yellow singlet and numerous other pieces of apparel that you can buy to identify you as part of the group. So I signed up to run the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December and made it a triple threat. According to Britney Spears’ song, “3”, “Three is a charm, two is not the same, I don’t see the harm, so are you game?” I guess I decided I was game for a brutal beat down of my body and running three marathons in three months. I wanted to become a Maniac.

The road to Maniacism was paved but there were a few dips and twists and porta-potties that I encountered along the road to the golden jersey. The first of the three, Long Beach marathon went perfectly and renewed my hope that I could too be a ‘marathoner’ and that the upcoming races wouldn’t completely annihilate my body. It was a beautiful day, I smiled the entire race and pr’ed by over 30 minutes and broke four hours, my goal. Once that race was out of the way, it was onto Malibu the next month, which was the first year the race was being held.

A few of my friends and I decided that it would be fun to dress up in all pink and wear tutu’s for the inaugural race, taking on the persona of “Malibu Barbie”. I was one of those people running a marathon in a costume. Malibu was a fun race and I ran it on the premise that it was for fun, not caring about my specific time, and splits, which worked out well since my garmin died at mile one. The path the course took along the ocean was gorgeous, but the wind on the course was brutal and hills throughout the back half of the course were also no easy task.

After Malibu my legs were not in cooperation with anything I tried to do. I felt like my almost maniac status was taking a huge toll on my legs, and rightly so, I had raced 52.4 miles in two months and had another 26.2 to complete in a few weeks. My legs kept rebelling as I tried to run a few measly miles before California International Marathon in December, but they felt like they were stuck in quicksand on every run I tried to complete. Finally, a quick trip up north and I found myself once again on the starting line to another 26.2 miles. This time, instead of wonderful weather, or a bright pink tutu, it was freezing cold and I didn’t know it would be such a struggle for me to make it 26.2 miles to achieve my maniac status.

The last marathon of the trifecta really took a toll on myself and my body. I was sick from mile thirteen to mile twenty and freezing cold the entire time, but I remember right around mile 19.5, I looked over to my right and saw an older man with a maniacs jersey. That crazy jersey was what I wanted. I started to tear up and I realized that I was so close to being able to say that I too was a marathon maniac. I knew that 6 miles stood in between that title and myself and I continued to propel my tired legs forward

Finally, I crossed the finish line and felt a golden glow creep across my frozen face. I had done it.  I went from never wanting to run another marathon ever again, to finishing three marathons in three months and becoming a Maniac.

­At this point, my legs are shot, I feel exhausted and I haven’t warmed up from the starting line temperature of 28 degrees in Sacramento. The road to Maniac status was difficult, both mentally and physically.  But one thing is for sure.  I can’t wait to don the yellow jersey and pass by people during my next marathon while smiling and saying from Maniac #2034, “Hey Maniac!”

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  • Reply Niki

    Awesome girl! Congrats on becoming a maniac and being in a magazine!

    January 5, 2010 at 9:10 am
  • Reply KatieA.

    Great post – love reliving all that with you!

    January 5, 2010 at 9:18 am
  • Reply Charm City Kim

    I say it all the time – but you totally inspire me to run!

    While I love the idea of being a “marathon maniac”, I think I’ll just live out the idea through your blog. :-)

    January 5, 2010 at 9:22 am
  • Reply Brown Eyed Girl

    Wow, what an amazing journey this has been for you! I can not even imagine running and finishing 3 marathons in 3 months!! You have a sincere drive for running and I think it’s inspiring to us all :)

    January 5, 2010 at 9:25 am
  • Reply Morgan

    Yay! I still can’t believe you did it! Congrats on getting published AGAIN! Look at you girl! Do I see a spot at Runner’s World just calling your name or what?

    January 5, 2010 at 9:30 am
  • Reply liane

    Congrats on becoming a “maniac” and for being published (again!).
    Can’t wait to read about your new adventures!

    January 5, 2010 at 9:52 am
  • Reply skinnyrunner

    i love your story, and well written too! congratulations!

    January 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm
  • Reply Hick Run Chick

    What an inspiring story! I’m hoping to complete my first Marathon “from the stadium to the sea” at the age of almost 42… it is wonderful to read about people with the foresight to start on their “bucket list” before they start getting that nagging feeling that time is running out! lol You are amazing!

    January 5, 2010 at 12:28 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Wearing Mascara

    GREAT article! How awesome that they asked you to write it. xoxo

    January 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm
  • Reply cyberHag

    Yeah it is weird, you finish one, you are tired and then next thing you know you are searching online for the next Race! lol Great job!!

    January 5, 2010 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Billy Burger

    We’re gonna rock our Maniac singlets for LA – it’ll be sweet!!

    January 5, 2010 at 2:22 pm
  • Reply Caroline

    Congrats maniac! Great article!

    January 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm
  • Reply Madison

    You eat marathons for breakfast!

    January 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    i’m so proud of you!! i hope i can go maniac and be in the club w/you & T this year! love you!!

    January 5, 2010 at 4:24 pm
  • Reply Lindsey @ Eat, Read, Run

    Hey – I just happened to come across your blog and wanted to let you know I think it looks great. Did your host site redesign your site for you as well?

    I feel I am slowly becoming marathon obsessed. I ran one last Oct. and now I’m kind of thinking of trying to qualify for Boston, but it will take a ton of work. Anyway – thanks for the inspiration!

    January 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm
  • Reply The Jesse

    Great article and so inspiring! What an awesome journey you’ve had!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm
  • Reply Joe Run For Dom

    Danica – you are the greatest, so inspiring. You are starting to plant the seed that maybe I should tack on another race after the Boston/Pittsburgh double later this spring. Damn you Danica!!!

    January 6, 2010 at 7:34 am
  • Reply Galina

    Hey Danica! Congratulations on becaming a M.M.!
    I am following your example and running my 3rd marathon in 3 months on Jan. 24th in Carlsbad. I hope I can do it, as my goal is to finish 50 by the time I am 50. I am 42 now, my older daughter is almost your age -20, my younger is 15. Anyway, I finished 10 so far and have 40 more to go! Running has been a fun escape from reality for me and pretty much injuryfree except my knee accident last July. I went on a regular practice run on the beach the next day after flying back from a family vacation in Hawaii. (I had the best tan ever!) I was training to run the San Francisco Marathon that summer…I felll down during the run after stumbling over some small rocks in the dirt. First, I didn’t think it was a big deal, I fell many times before…But when I finally got on my feet and started brushing the dirt off myself, I noticed that I cut the skin on my right knee cap all the way to the bone! It looked awful, a huge hole was tightly compacted with tiny rocks, gravel and just dirt. Lucky for me, two runners I was trying to catch A minute ealier turned around and stopped to help me. They called paramedics and the rest was like in a bad dream. I remember thinking to myself, “No, this is not happening to me, I am a runner, am not a clutz, gosh, this is so stupid.”” Well, my injury required 10 stiches! I went home on crutches! That was supposed to be an easy 6 mile-run! I was still hoping I would be able to do the SanFran in a few weeks after they remove the stiches. Three days later they found a blood clot in my right leg and I was back on the emergency room! Oh, boy! I was put on Cumadin and another rat poison type meds. I had to give myself injections in my belly and it was painfull. They told me not to run for a month. It’s all better now and I got one badass scar on my knee, and have to wear compression stockings (I wear comp.guards instead but it still looks dorky.) for 2 years. Each time I leave my house for a jog, I never roll my eyes anymore when kind husband reminds me to be careful. I don’t take his words lightly anymore.

    January 6, 2010 at 12:01 pm
  • Reply Galina

    Oh, sorry for such a long comment…I think I got carried away with my own story.

    January 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm
  • Reply Glenn Jones

    Congratulations! I remember talking at the SoCal Half and how non-committal you were then. It’s kind of like six months ago your couldn’t even spell “maniac”, and now you are one!

    Great accomplishement! Now if we can only restore your sanity ….

    January 6, 2010 at 3:17 pm
  • Reply rinus

    Nice snow movie!..
    You do run good and run whit fun is importend to do!.
    I think you can run the ultra run soon..

    January 6, 2010 at 4:27 pm
  • Reply The Laminator

    Congrats on everything, maniac! You rock so hard that I’m not sure there’s anything on earth that can stop you!

    January 9, 2010 at 7:40 pm
  • Reply Thomas Tan

    Welcome to the family! Come run a marathon in WA in the near future and meet even more Maniacs, including the Main Maniacs, Steve, Tony & Chris.

    January 10, 2010 at 12:14 am
  • Reply Tara

    Rock on my fellow maniac! I am SO glad we got to run 2 out of the 3 marathons together! We will forever be maniac #2033 & 2034! ♥

    January 11, 2010 at 11:50 am
  • Reply Shannon (MWP)

    I love this store, I started to tear up at the end… I ran 2 miles today!! (dont laugh or roll your eyes)

    way to go!

    January 12, 2010 at 9:11 pm
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