I've never pressured anyone to run a full marathon. For the most part, I'll encourage them to get moving and maybe to do a little more than they are doing now but when someone tells me they are going to run a marathon, especially a family member, I always feel a little responsible for the suffering they will experience. I've even tried to talk them out of it.
When I was training to run my first marathon, everyone in my immediate family took it upon themselves to start running and be part of the Fargo Marathon experience. Kristy and the kids started their 5k training when it was really cold outside. The twins, Becky and Liz who were 10 years old at the time, would faithfully put on their coats and run up and down the block. They didn't want to. But even at 10 years old they new it was something they should do. And they did it mostly without complaint.
Our oldest daughter Allie was going to school in Michigan and did her training on her own. I'm not certain if she ever even asked me for any advice. She's pretty intelligent and I knew she'd figure it out.
Marathon day came and we all had a great time. More family members joined in the 5k and one even did the half marathon. 9 family members in all joined in the fun. It was a day of healing, so to speak, for our family. Making the most out of losing a loved one to obesity. I know big brother Gene would be proud of our accomplishments.
Though Becky and Liz have hung up their running shoes, at least for now, Kristy and Allie continue to run. Mostly with no real goals but to help stay fit and maybe just to clear their mind. For 5 weeks, Allie walked 500 miles across Spain one summer so we know she has some endurance. They both ran a couple of half marathons and though they had good experiences, doubted they'd ever go further. I doubted it too and was totally cool with that. Although a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone. The full marathon is all together different.
Much to my surprise they both started training for a full marathon. Allie ended up with an injury that kept her from hers but Kristy ran Fargo last year and did great. A few months pass and Allie told us she was training to run a marathon in January. I'm sure she felt a need to step up to the plate and get it done being her Mom had already done one though there was no pressure from us.
I was kind of stunned when she asked me for my opinion on the training plan she was considering. Like I said, she's pretty intelligent but I forgot to mention, independent. Being she was asking, I knew it was something that she had looked hard at, made sense to her, but was much different than the conventional marathon training that she heard me talk about. The one she was looking at had the longest long run of 16 miles. As which is normally the case for me, I pointed out the facts and let her make her own decision. One of the facts I pointed out to her is that this is the type of marathon/ultra-marathon training that I had been doing for the past few years. Though I pointed out the benefits to getting a few runs in over the 20 mile mark, she opted for the 16 mile long run program. I predicted, though not to her, that she'd finish but it would really be a struggle.
I only got to run one long run with her when she was home over Christmas and when it was over she looked fresh. Even so, as a parent, I was concerned that her preparation wouldn't be adequate to keep her from the inevitable suffering that comes with the marathon. It was too late now. She was on the downside of her training and with only a couple weeks to go there wasn't much you could do. Cramming for a marathon just does not work.
I've always said that my kids are way more intelligent than me. Maybe not smarter, as they haven't lived as long as I have, but they seem to be able to figure things out much more easily than I do. I've had to learn most things the hard way and that is not what you want for your kids. So going into the marathon yesterday, I thought that Allie was going to get a life lesson the hard way. Should have listened to Dad. Though I didn't pressure her, I did try to persuade her to use a conventional training plan for her first marathon. She didn't and I though she'd pay for it.
I predicted a 4:30 with lots of suffering the last 6 or 7 miles. As it turned out, I was way off. She ran a 4:11 running the second half 1 minute faster than the first. She said that she never hit the wall and didn't start thinking "This needs to be over now" until somewhere around the 23-24 mile mark. Kind of amazing when you think that is 7-8 miles further than she'd ever run at that point. I've had marathons that I trained well for that I was wanting over by 18 miles. But then, I seem to have a need to learn things the hard way. I guess I'll have to start learning more from my kids.
Though I don't carry much pride in my own accomplishments, giving credit to help from above and always thinking that I have yet to do my very best, I am so proud of my family and friends in their accomplishments even though I've had little to do with their success. Maybe it's just that I helped to get them moving.
Welcome to the marathon family Al. I'm so proud of you. No matter what direction your steps in life take you, you now know that you are unstoppable.