I Just Signed up for My First Marathon

And I’ve Already Won

Like the title says, I signed up for my first marathon yesterday. A Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon. It’s a mixture of excitement and nervousness. It’s always been a goal of mine since I started running to complete a full.

I’m positive I’ll be able to complete it and that isn’t something I’m worried about. I love to run so the training will get done.

But there is also this feeling in the back of my mind it will be harder than I think. Much harder. I’ve done a couple half-marathons and after the first one, I was done. There was no way I could have ran any further.

The second half-marathon went much better. I felt great at the finish and could have kept going. Probably not for another 13.1 miles, but I wasn’t as tired as the first half-marathon.

I trained smarter and harder for the second half than I did the first one. And it paid off. Given the lessons I learned while training for both, I know what I need to do for my first full.

And I’m looking forward to it. If that makes me a little crazy, then I’m fine with that.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

While it seems everyone is running marathons, the reality is only 0.16%* of the population in the United States does it every year. Less than 1%. Much less.

That’s pretty unique company. And it’s declined over the past two years according to this article.

The popularity of the marathon has seen large increases since the mid-1970’s when there were 25,000 finishers, and it reached an all-time high in 2014 with 550,600 finishers. These totals are for the United States only.

In 2016, there were 507,600 marathon finishers in the United States. Given there were 323.4 million people in the United States in 2016, finishing a marathon is something to be proud of, regardless of time.

The median age of finishers for women who complete the marathon is 37. For men it is 40. And 50% of finishers are 40 years of age or older, which is considered the “Masters” category. Men have a slight majority when it comes to finishers at 56%, while women are at 44%.

Regardless of the statistics, running a marathon is special no matter how many or how few complete it. It’s a goal many runners have.

“A large group of people running in a marathon in the middle of a street in Brussels” by Mārtiņš Zemlickis on Unsplash

And completing a marathon is my next goal.

My problem is I’m always a little too competitive when I race. I always tell myself I’m will take it easy and enjoy the experience, but the competitor in me takes over. And I end up going all out.

It hasn’t caused any issues or injuries yet, but the full marathon is a different animal. I don’t know what to expect at this point.

If I train like I should, I don’t foresee any problems. But running two half-marathons back to back is a lot different from running one.

So my goal for now is to just finish. I have a time goal in mind, but I’m trying not to focus on that for my first marathon. I’m trying to focus on enjoying the experience and running my race.

Because the only person I need to compete with is myself. And I’ve been winning against myself more and more.

It’s not really about completing the race for me, but conquering my own demons. Conquering myself.

In that case, I’ve already won. Regardless of where I finish.

Thanks for reading! How was your first marathon experience? Any tips for a newbie?

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*Figures based on United States total population in 2016 and figure (507,600) from cited article.