Why I Love Marathons


The other night I sat at dinner with a few runner friends.

Over a few glasses of wine, the topic turned to marathons, as it is wont to do with a group of runner friends.

There was a lot of talking about how difficult training is, how difficult marathons are, how they’d all gotten slower while marathon training. How they weren’t sure if they had another one in the cards.

I have no idea what my post-Marine Corps race plans look like, but I can tell you I don’t think this will be my last marathon.

This will be my third marathon (first, Chicago; second, NYC!), and while I definitely agree with all of the comments about how difficult marathons are and how intense the training can be, I LOVE IT.

I love waking up on a weekend morning with a huge mileage goal in mind.

I love when I get home, and I’ve achieved that goal.

I love that somehow my body defies the odds, and that I’ve gotten faster for each marathon that I’ve trained for.

While the waking up early took a lot to get used to, I love getting to work with a 9-mile run under my belt.

I love looking at my schedule as a giant puzzle and making sure that the marathon pieces are the next pieces to be laid after the work pieces.

I love the crazy emotions I feel crossing the finish line: pride and happiness for finishing, but a little sadness that it’s all over.

I love that I can do this. I never thought I’d be able to run a half-marathon, much less a marathon, much less be training for my third marathon.

Oh, and I love carbs. Obviously.

Marathons: love ’em or hate ’em?

27 comments on “Why I Love Marathons

  1. Katie @ Livehalffull

    I love marathons. I love having a plan. I love having a deadline. I the feeling of accomplishing something I didn’t think I could do. I LOVE the feeling afterward. However, the only downside is that it consumes your life.

  2. Dori

    I love the actual marathon (the energy and excitement!) but I don’t love the way training sucked my entire weekends dry. People with more energy or who bounce back more quickly than I do have an easier time, but last year my entire weekends were shot. But the race day feeling just might be worth it.

  3. Lindsay

    I loved this post! I love reading half marathon and marathon recaps and hearing how people got involved with running. I want so badly to try both! I really want to do the DC Rock & Roll Half this Spring, but haven’t found the courage yet to sign up & start training. Looking forward to reading your recap of the Marine Corps Marathon – good luck!

  4. Kimberly @ Healthy Strides

    I did my first marathon on Sunday and had you asked me Saturday or the Saturday before that I would have told you that I would never run another marathon. The training was grueling, and it was so difficult to manage between work+family. Even as I crossed the finish line, my butt literally hurting, I would have said no. Two days later and still basking in the accomplishment, I say maybe. It’s hard to run away from the pride that goes along with the medal.

  5. Morty

    I love races because it helps me feel like my workouts have a purpose/goal. That said I haven’t run a marathon yet. I’m currently training for the Rock n Roll in DC and am completely stoked! What’s weird is that I’ve already started jumping the gun and started to think about the next one before even having a single marathon under my belt!

  6. Liz

    My first love is the half, and after this years Chicago I COULD be done, but since I’m almost done with my 9+1 I’m in for NY next year…that will make 3 marathons in 3 years which makes me happy and a little burnt (keep in mind I’m writing this 2 weeks after finishing a marathon so take with a grain of salt!!). I will agree that nothing beats the feeling of finishing a long run…to be able to say I just ran 20 while hanging on the beach after is always priceless!

  7. Sokphal @ Life as a Classroom

    Love them! I love the challenge that it brings! Marathon training has made my shorter distances easier and consequently faster in races! It does consume your life a bit, but so far it’s the only thing that’s made me run 5Xs a week, cause heaven knows I won’t be doing that voluntarily. Good luck in MCM! I’ll be with Anne so hopefully we’ll get to see and cheer you on!

  8. Jess

    Ack. I just scanned a few of my chimarathon training blog posts and its making me want to do it again. Not now, but someday. I SO didn’t see this coming!! But I SO agree with you — training has been such a rewarding time for me (and my husband). I’ve adored every single long run and PDR milestone, it’s been incredible!! So to say YES, I know what you mean — so weird for me to say but SO TRUE!!

  9. fionarwbl

    While I have bitched and groaned my way through my long runs this year, I love marathons, and love the focus, the determination, and the will that drives me to do them. I also love that marathon running and long runs have introduced me to so many other like minded people 🙂 Next year I am planning on doing two, and who knows how many will come after that?

  10. Kristina

    I agree with all your points and feel the same. Random question but how do you plan on carrying your energy gels/ running fuel during the marathon? Also, what are you planning on fueling with? I am running the MCM this weekend too and am debating doing a SPIbelt or pinning my gels…was curious

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Kristina: I’ve found that alternating vanilla Gu with margarita shot bloks works really well for me, so that’s my plan. I’m wearing a running skirt with pockets in the front, and will put the Gus in there and shot bloks (and phone!) in my Spibelt.

      How are you feeling about MCM?!

      1. Kristina

        @Theodora: Ahh, thanks. I think I actually may go with my Spibelt too.. I am feeling good about the MCM overall and even though it is my first marathon I feel like I am less nervous about the typical “What if I can’t finish?” and literally have more anxiety over the logistics of “What if I can’t eat my Gu chomp and run at the same time? Is it okay if I stop for a minute? What if I can’t pass several runners because they are oblivious of others? What if I am being oblivious?” Believe it or not, my taper time has become less about feeling the “wow, what if I am not physically and mentally prepared” and more about “What if I am 10 mins late to the start and I run out of body glide and my Gu won’t open because my palms are too sweaty?” haha… Thank god, I am going to yoga tonight

  11. Jessica

    It’s so great to read about your enthusiasm for marathons. I am gearing up to run my first half marathon early next year. I would like to run a full marathon too, but I feel that one may be enough.

    1. Abegail

      Love this article, runnnig has done very similar things for me, I am entering my first race this Sat. and am training for a Half Marathon in Nov. In Sarasota Florida. Running has changed my life. and I love it.

  12. Madeline

    Right now, I am in total marathon love mode. I have the Philly Marathon coming up in a few weeks and I just have one more 22 mile long run standing between me and the taper. I love the feeling of accomplishing weekly goals and consistently being amazed with how much I can accomplish mileage wise before 10am!

  13. Stacy @ Stacy Eats

    I’m about to run my first marathon, the MCM too! I’m used to training for and running half marathons, so this was definitely a step up as far as training. I thought it would be nearly impossible, but I agree with you, it’s fun. And…now 10 miles seems like a short distance when I used to think it was SO far.


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