*This post was written prior to October 26 – but published on Monday, October 27 due to some logistical difficulties*
Every once in a while I bite off more than I can chew. Actually, I have a tendency to do this more often than I’d like to admit. However, this time I’ve put all former instances to shame. If all goes according to plan, the poorly thought out plan, this coming weekend I’ll be running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.
I began running in earnest after the birth of my dearest middle daughter. You see, when I was expecting HuskyGirl there was nothing I wouldn’t eat. All total I gained a 4th grader, a whopping 72 lbs of awesome for a tiny little 8 lb baby. Nearly a year later I realized that I was unhappy in the body I was living in. When I sent my 2 year old upstairs to get a diaper for the baby because the thought of climbing the stairs was exhausting, and I’d be out of breath by the time I got up there – something is wrong here. On Mother’s Day that year we participated in a family walk for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. As we walked, we watched the runners in the all women’s 5K. I wanted so badly to be those women – strong, powerful, fit. So I made a commitment. Next year I was going to run that race. I started “running”. I’m not gonna lie. It was really hard. I was really hungry. At first I couldn’t even make it to the end of my street. But slowly, I kept at it. I registered for a 5k (my first race) and ran it that August. However, when Mother’s Day came around I found myself walking the family walk again, this time because I was 39 weeks pregnant with Weezy-Jean. So the next year… I ran it. And I was hooked. In fact I’ve run it for 8 years now, the last several with Shakespeare and HuskyGirl by my side.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are lots of days (most) that I dread running. But I can’t dispute the results. I have more energy when I expend energy. I am less cranky and less stressed when I run. I feel good in my skinny jeans and can have that piece of cheesecake without guilt.
The best result of running? The many examples I set for my girls. Strong is beautiful and powerful. Do the most with the body you’ve been given. Hard work pays off. One of my favorite parts of running, even races, is that I’m never in competition with anyone else. (I’m not even in the same league as those winning these races). I love the idea of being in a sport where I’ll never win, but keep trying. Where success is simply doing my best on that given day.
So now I find myself trying to fathom how I’ll do my best for approximately 5 hours (or more!). When in doubt, I turn towards literature for inspiration. I’ve put together this short list of books that will help readers of all ages experience the marathon – without having to take a single step.
Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon shares the story of one special little mouse who wants to defy the odds and join the New York City Marathon. Trouble is no one believes he should do it. The mice of New York dread marathon day – all those feet rumbling past could crush a little mouse. But Preston is inspired – so he secretly trains and joins the run. This endearing story covers all the steps of the marathon – from training, to the inspiring first miles, to hitting the wall, to the motivating joy of seeing your family cheering for you – and is a lovely way for little ones to share in the marathon experience. PB
The Mouse Island Marathon – Geronimo Stilton is at it again! This time his friend, the famouse fitness buff Champ Strongpaws, has signed him up for a marathon! With intense training Geronimo makes it to the starting line, but will he survive the race? With determined spirit and friends and family to cheer him on Geronimo is sure to tackle any obstacle that arises during the 26.2 miles! MR-3/4
*PBP Note: In miles 20-23 Geronimo survives a sandstorm, gets attacked by a swarm of mosquitos, falls in a pond, rescues a child from a burning building, deals with an earthquake and ensuing tidal wave, finds a lost watch, reunites a lost child with his mother, and helps an injured runner to the aid station. I would have been unable to survive any of these “mishaps” after mile 20 – and probably wouldn’t have noticed if my pants were on fire. Just sayin’ Geronimo takes some liberties here!
Thea Stilton: Big Trouble in the Big Apple – The Thea Sisters are at it again! This time Nicky is running the Big Apple Marathon and the Thea Sisters are off to New York City to cheer her on. Excitement is at every turn with a rival runner from Ratridge Academy causing trouble, and someone threatening Paula’s family’s restaurant. Can the Thea sisters solve the mystery and will Nicky finish the marathon? As with other Thea Sisters books this story is full of action and adventure, but also packed with amazing factual information about New York City and Marathon running. MR-3/4
Breathe, Annie, Breathe Miranda Kenneally brings us the story of Annie, a soon to be marathon runner. After her boyfriend dies in an accident, Annie tries to fulfill his dream of running the Nashville Music City Marathon to honor his memory and to ease her feelings of guilt. Through the grueling training period Annie wrestles with a new crush, a shift in her outlook on life, and as she starts to feel again comes to terms with her grief. YA-9th grade & up Contains strong language and sexual content
*PBP ran the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 26 in Washington DC. It was too hot, too crowded, too windy and too long! However, it was an incredible experience – inspiring and exhausting. I laughed, cried, made new friends, and learned a lot about myself. Check that off the bucket list!