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!”