So the next thing I know I've signed up for a 4 mile race. Then a few weeks later a half-marathon. And then I found out something REALLY interesting. One way to guarantee entry to the 2012 New York City Marathon is to do the following 3 things:
2. Run 9 qualifying NYRR races during 2011.
3. Volunteer to work 1 NYRR race during 2011.
So, I thought, how hard can it be? Or rather I thought, I bet it's bloody exhausting, but what a challenge! What a great way to get fit, push myself, and potentially completely change my perception of myself and what I'm capable of. If I do this, if I finish the races, and qualify just doing that would be AMAZING. I mean, I've never run a race in my life (except for school sports day), I've never been really fit and up until I made the decision to do this, I'd never run more than 5K. I wanted this. I wanted to show myself that I could set my mind to something and achieve it.
At this point I wasn't even considering what would happen if I actually registered for the 2012 marathon. Because then I'd actually have to consider running that too.
So why blog about it? Well, I'm under no illusion that I'm going to gain thousands of followers and achieve blog super stardom. But I figured that there might be other lunatics like me out there, who have set themselves this challenge, and that they might find it interesting. Plus, the more I let it all out there, the more it motivates me to keep going and not to give up. Because I don't want to give up. I don't want this to be another 'exercise phase', that I drop when it gets too boring. I want to run these races and I want to qualify for the marathon. And ok, let's go there: I want to run the marathon too. I'm a total cliche. I'll turn 40 in December 2012. If I can complete a marathon before I hit the big 4-0, well that would be bleedin' amazeballs.
I decided on a training plan, which I hoped would get me around the first half marathon (oh did I mention that I signed up for two? No?). I figured that the half marathon training would get me more than ready for the first race, the 4 miler a few weeks later. And let me tell you, if you want to stick to a training plan, there's nothing like the a looming half-marathon to motivate you to get out there and run. Snow, rain, sleet, cold you name it, I ran it, because frankly, I thought that if I didn't, I had no chance of finishing the half-marathon.
So did I finish?
Oh yes I bloody well did.
As I write this I've completed 4 of the 9 races. The next is the NYRR New York Mini 10K this Saturday morning, which I'm pretty excited about. There's proper job elite runners running it and it's a special one too, as it's the 40th anniversary of the race. I'll let you know how it goes. If you want to follow my progress through the 9 races (plus any others I'm crazy enough to sign up for) you can do that by checking out my Races page, where I'll post race dates, finishing times etc.
Finally, if you're a novice runner like me and thinking of signing up for your first race, my advice would be this: go for it. It's a fantastic motivator for your training, and the experience of running in a big race is just electric. Plus, I guarantee you, however slow you think you are...
you. will. not. finish. last.