A 26.2 mile training run vs. running a marathon

In just under 2 weeks, I will be heading back across the country to Florida for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!  I will be participating in the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, which is similar to the Dumbo Double Dare I did last Labor Day weekend at Disneyland, though a different kind of beast with regard to miles.  On Saturday, January 11, I will run the WDW Half Marathon.  Aaaand … on Sunday, January 12, I will run the WDW Marathon.

Yep.  That’s back to back.  39.3 miles in two days.

Who does that?!

I will … I suppose.  Signing up for the challenge was sort of an impulsive decision, but why not?  It will be a different kind of PR for me–mileage wise.

photo 1

Garlands leading the way into Balboa Island

Last week, my training called for a 26 mile run (of course, I added the extra 0.2 so I could say I ran a marathon that day).  It was a run I had mixed feelings about, but finally I laced up my shoes and ventured out.  I chose to run straight from my childhood home in Irvine down to Balboa Island in Newport Beach.  For all of you running in Orange County, I chose to run the Peters Canyon Mountains to Sea trail (down Harvard) allllllll the way to the Upper Newport Back Bay, down Jamboree, around Balboa Island …. then finally back home to Irvine.

To sum up: running 26.2 miles on your own is nothing like running a marathon.

It’s worse.  At least it was for me.

photo 2

At least I had this beautiful view at mile 12?

Yes, I love to run.  Yes, I’m continually learning to love the 26.2 distance.  But this? A solo 26.2 training run?  It was not the business.  It was not fun.  at all.  I may be exaggerating slightly .. but mostly I’m not.

I must say that there was one aspect of the run that did not go well due to my poor planning–water.  I came across a total of one water fountain on that path, and had to duck into Corner Bakery to grab some more during the high 70-degree Southern California weather.  Around mile 14, I was begging for water.  Nevertheless, the weather and the water issue would not have made the run any better.

Running 26.2 miles is long.  We’ve already established that.  What this training run reminded me of was the power of the running community and the power of a race.  There truly is nothing like having your fellow runners racing alongside you, a crowd of people cheering you on, countless volunteers handing you water and electrolytes, and a finish line.  It makes a world of a difference, compared to me running the same distance … alone … searching for water … with my parents’ couch as the finish.

Doesn’t sound all too fun, does it?

Yes, the run was a struggle.  I can honestly say (as of right now) that I never want to run that distance again as a training run (no ultras for me!).   But it did remind me of races–and how much I love them–and my gratitude for my fellow runners and all of the spectators is at an all time high.  The adrenaline and support works wonders–and they are aspects of running I will always cherish!



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