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Saturday, February 16, 2019

My Wife's First And Only (So Far) Marathon


Ah... The porta potty line at the start of a road race, really makes you appreciate ultras.

Author's Note:  I wrote this back in mid 2018 just a few weeks after the Tahoe 200. After writing, I left it untouched until now (February 16, 2019) when I finally decided to post it. 

It was at some point during 2016, I don’t recall exactly when, that my wife announced t me that she wanted to run a marathon. These were some of the most beautiful words she ever said to me. I write that rather facetiously. She didn’t elaborate on what motivated her to want to run a marathon, just that she wanted to run one before her thirtieth birthday which would be later that year.

My wife, Amanda, wasn’t a newbie runner, but she had not run as much or as regularly in recent years after having children as she had before we had kids. So hearing that she wanted to run a marathon wasn’t a completely radical or ridiculous idea, but it was still a bit of a surprise. In fact, Amanda was a runner long before I ever was and I credit her for me becoming a runner. I doubt that she ever thought that a passion for long distance running would burn so strongly within me once I discovered ultramarathons, but anytime she gets annoyed with my obsession I just remind her that she had a role in instigating this addiction.

Some final words of
encouragement before the start.


But this story is about her, not me. However, my obsession with ultrarunning plays a bit of a role in the story. She decided on a marathon, the Lehigh Valley marathon in PA in mid September. If memory serves me correctly, this gave her roughly three months during the summer to build up her mileage base and improve her overall fitness level to get to a point where she would be able to enjoy the marathon experience rather than just struggling through it. After all, that was her main goal: to finish a marathon, not run it as a Boston qualifier. With this in mind she looked over training plans and asked me about my training. Ultimately, she followed a similar training regimen to what has worked well for me: HIGHLY FLEXIBLE! With two young boys at home, there aren’t many other options.

She did her shorter runs when time allowed. Her longer runs were done on weekends incrementally increasing the distance. The training time seemed to go quickly for me at least and during that time Amanda enlisted a friend to run the marathon with her. Soon enough, we were meeting up with her friend at the pre race expo adjacent to the steel stacks in New Bethlehem, PA. The following morning I drove them both to the start and after some last minute goodbyes and words of encouragement from the kids and I they were off.

Since this isn’t my race report and I wasn’t around to observe Amanda’s progress throughout the day, I’m going to gloss over her whole race experience and just report that she finished running it in. While she was busy running her first marathon, I was busy swimming with our boys at the pool of the hotel we stayed at. As much fun as they were having, we made sure to be at the finish in plenty of time to cheer her in. She made it there, looking a bit tired, but running nonetheless.

Last photo before entering the start corral.
Since then Amanda pretty much went back to being an occasional runner for the last two 
years without ever even suggesting any interest in running another marathon. I was a
Just finished!
bit 
shocked just a few weeks ago when she unexpectedly said she wanted to run another marathon. I can’t help but feel like I deserve some of the credit for motivating that desire. I in no way blatantly or even intending to push her in that direction. I was simply doing what I often do: following a race online. Specifically, the Tahoe 200.
Likely, the majority of the credit for motivating Amanda to pursue another marathon should go to Courtney Dauwalter. Amanda usually doesn’t show much interest when I provide her unsolicited updates to ultras I’m live tracking and geeking out on. However, the weekend of the 2018 Tahoe 200 seemed a little different as I reported to her throughout the day that Courtney was still leading the field with a big gap between her and second. Towards the end of the weekend after Courtney’s epic and inspiring battle for first place overall, Amanda announced that she would like to run another marathon. So thank you Courtney for providing that spark to motivate my wife. Now I just need to come up with some great reasons why she should just go ahead and register for a 50k rather than another marathon. Any suggestions are welcome!

At the finish!

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