Fall is a great time of year to run with an abundance of races to choose from and weather that is not longer too hot and not yet too cold. So it’s no surprise that many runners decide to train for races with a new goal, be it distance or pace, in mind.
Even while I cashed in on a wonderfully relaxing belated birthday weekend at the Cape, I still experienced a bit of race envy this weekend. I am training for the BAA Half Marathon next weekend, but part of my envy came from those runners completing their “firsts”.
Each year that I have run the Boston Marathon for the Alzheimer’s Association, one or more runners on our team was training for their first marathon. The nerves they express as they tackle each training run and the excitement they shared when they complete each new distance for the first time always inspires me. I remember how proud I was of myself the first time I ran 16 miles, 18 miles, 20 miles. Sharing that with others makes it feel a little like I get to do it all over again.
This weekend my cousin Liz ran her first half marathon. As she lives in New York, she ran a local race and I couldn’t make it down to cheer her on, but kept up on her progress through my family. She was excited going to get her race bib on Saturday and nervous throughout the weekend that she had not trained enough.
Liz came to Boston to run her first race EVER in May 2013. We ran the Harpoons 5 Miler together. In the last mile, when she told me she was wasn’t sure she could finish, we started targeting runners ahead of us to pass to keep her distracted. Liz not only finished, but the last mile was her fastest mile.
And now we’re planning her next half, here in Boston in 2014.
While not a newbie runner, my running pal Laura was a part of the program Saucony 26 Strong that matched veteran runners with rookies running the same marathon. Laura’s pair, Christine Sinclair finished her first marathon at the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon in Hampton, NH on Sunday.
The race advertises that it is a fast course, and based on their elevation guide, the flattest marathon and half marathon course in New England. Not surprisingly, a great choice for a first race of either distance. It is also not a surprise that I know at least 3 friends who ran a new marathon PR there this weekend.
Although Laura and Christine did not run the marathon together, Laura was able to mentor Christine around the “stuff” that even the best training plan in the world doesn’t provide a first-time marathoner like gear, training races, hotel accommodations and dinner reservations the night before the race. Much like I think I would be in that situation, Laura described Christine’s race like a proud mama. And while Christine admits there were some moments when she swore she would never do this again, by the time she finished a post-race lunch, she was thinking about when her next marathon would be.
My race envy has begun to subside as I look ahead to my race next weekend. The BAA Half Marathon was my first half marathon back in 2001. While this will be half Marathon #19 for me, the energy I’ve felt for others this weekend has me looking forward to this race like I will be running it for the first time.
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