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I’m Running a Marathon Next Week & I Feel Woefully Underprepared

How I got here

It was a great weekend in Acadia with friends last October (you know, throwing the dog in a canoe on a pond, tromping through the woods on freshly fallen leaves with my pregnant wife and our friends, watching the stars and drinking some beer while waiting for the bonfire to die down, cheering on as friends came across the finish line in Southwest Harbor). The combination of that amazing time and the knowledge that my wife would be going through just about the most physically painful thing a human can go through the next spring made me do something bold: I decided to sign myself up to run the Mount Desert Island Marathon this year.

I'm Running a Marathon Next Week & I Feel Woefully Underprepared

It’s not even close to comparable, but I felt like I needed to put myself through something painful and strenuous to be able to better commiserate with what my wife would have to go through. Of course I never took into account what my actual day-to-day life would be like this year, when our baby-to-be became a baby-is-here.

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I had run a half marathon last April, so I had a vague notion of how much training it would take to really complete a marathon. My first training runs wouldn’t have to start until June. Our daughter was only about a month old, but I got out there in the nice summer weather and got a workout in the books. I was able to go for short evening runs and longer weekend runs throughout the summer. Sometimes it was hard to find the time, but other times it was nice to have an excuse to get out of the house.

(Not) getting in the training

Then as fall started, we moved and my commute more than doubled in time. My wife went back to work, and daycare entered the routine. It was harder and harder to find time, especially during the week, to get in more than just a few miles at a time. I tried to drag the dog along with me (2 birds, one stone!), but he has to stop to sniff every tree and he starts putting up a fight after 2 miles or so. My training plan started calling for me to be running 8 miles in the middle of the week & 18 miles on weekends. Two months until race day felt like plenty of time. Then one month came until race day and I felt like I was nowhere near ready. I missed one of my longest runs because I was sick over the weekend. The farthest I managed to run in one go was less than 14 miles.

My Runkeeper coworkers who had done the MDI marathon before were peppering me with questions and advice that I had not even begun to think about. “What’s your hydration plan?” “Do you know how often you will refuel?” “How much time do you need between when you wake up & when you can run?” (a polite way to ask about pooping) “You really have to do at least one run that’s more than 15 miles.” Now my fears about being woefully underprepared were getting some well-deserved corroboration. On top of it all I had announced to the entire Runkeeper team that my big hairy audacious goal for this year was to finish my first marathon.

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The (revised) goal 

With the stakes this high I have found myself waking up at 5am (after fitful, infant-interrupted sleep) to run. I found myself leaving all of my stuff at work and running home in order to fit in a training session. I found myself cooking dinner, but not eating any of it until after I got back from an evening run.

Now my goal of keeping up a 9:30 minute/mile pace has morphed into trying to minimize the amount of walking I will have to do; into finishing the race and not getting injured; into just trying to break 5 hours.

The marathon is about a week away. I may end up walking, but I intend to take my time and enjoy the views. I figure as long as my wife and  daughter are at the finish line and I can still stand up at the end, I will be happy and will be able to say I RAN A MARATHON (only 0.5% of the U.S. population can say that, by the way).  And hey, at least it’s not 46 hours of labor.

Can anyone relate? Let me know in the comments if you have any tips for me come race day!

Saul Jacobowitz

About the author:
Saul Jacobowitz

Saul is a QA Engineer, new papa, music dabbler, old man basketball league superstar, & general fun times advocate.

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