The moments leading up to the Not So Normal ¾ Marathon on Sunday morning were filled with panic and anxiety. You see, I registered for this race because I thought boredom was the reason I didn’t stick to a training schedule last fall.
I treated three of the four half-marathons I ran between October and mid-November as training runs for the last one that took place at night on the Las Vegas Strip. Needless to say, I wasn’t crushing any time goals. I was just having fun and making sure I finished.
Around Christmas, I decided I must be beyond the half-marathon distance but not quite ready for the full marathon, so I found the Not So Normal race. At 19.65 miles, it was a distance that was just scary enough to make me think I would train for it. After all, who runs 20 miles without training for it?
Well….me. I did. Kind of.
I had great intentions (who doesn’t?), but intentions aren’t the same as actions.
I ran a 10 mile, a 12 mile, and a 14 mile training run in the months leading up to the race, but overall, I flat out failed in the training department for this race.
The race itself was incredible. The whole premise is to be “not so normal” because “normal isn’t good enough.” The distances offered were ¼, ½, and ¾ marathons and relays if you wanted to run as a group.
Although it was a smaller race, it was one of my favorites. I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride when I finished the third loop of the 6ish mile course because it meant I did something out of the ordinary that day. While I loved my experiences with the big box races Rock’n’Roll puts on, there was something charming and rewarding about knowing the Not So Normal race was organized by one man who just wanted to help his community.
The first six miles flew by. This was largely because I encountered someone I knew from the Fuquay Varina Running Club, and we chatted about knitting, wedding plans, and families for the first loop. She signed up for the ¼ marathon race.
The second loop was when I had to dig into the “I can do hard things” mentality. For the six months, I have listened to the Hamilton soundtrack on long runs because it’s equal parts motivating and entertaining. For this race, it was not doing much of anything for me, so I turned off my music at mile 14.
I ran this race in six to one minute intervals, so I would run for six minutes and walk a minute (usually to drink water from my Camelbak or eat a Honey Stinger energy gel). This method worked wonders for me until mile 17.
Mile 17 is where I got emotional. I just wanted to finish. My stomach felt like it was completely empty. I wanted to cry, but I knew crying would dehydrate me faster. For two miles, I just told myself, “Just keep going.”
Running has taught me so many things in the two short years I’ve been lacing my shoes up. But this race. This race solidified that the only way out is through, and you have to run the miles to get to the finish line.
I finished with a time of 3:35, which was 25 minutes faster than the four hours I told my family it would take me. When I crossed the line, I vowed I’d never run a marathon. But hey, I ran 20 miles…what’s six more?