RunVermont’s Marathon and Half-Marathon training classes begin this week and we still have space available. Curious what you can expect from class? As previous participant Patti Daniels attests, the value far exceeds the wisdom to get through your first big race. The class schedule and registration link are available here.
Written by Patti Daniels
Twenty of us sat around a large table, everyone thrumming with nerves but not speaking much. My own emotions ran the gamut from adrenaline-soaked giddiness (“I can’t believe I’m doing this!”) to doubt-laden dread (“I can’t believe I’m doing this…”)
This was the first night of Marathon 101, six years ago this month. Each of us had a unique idea, a motivation, a reason that brought us there. Some of us were fast runners – truly gifted with speed and biomechanics. Some of us were totally new to running, with rookie ambitions untempered by reality. But all of us were first-timers at this rodeo, and that sealed a bond across whatever differences existed among us.
Each week, we rejoiced together, commiserated together, and attentively listened to stories of longer mileage, sore shins, blistered feet, and huge post-run appetites. We laughed knowingly about bathroom-break travails on long runs, and cursed the icy weather that had us seeking out treadmills. As training wore on, the eyes of our nearest and dearest glazed over when we talked about goal pace, hydration, the difference between soreness and injury. But Marathon 101 became a support group of willing co-conspirators. Once a week, we talked in detail – sometimes gut-wrenching, torturous detail – about endless miles and the emotions they evoked. We were doing this thing, and it was rare, and it was awesome.
Yes, we learned about how to build a proper training schedule. Yes, we learned about optimal nutrition. Yes, we learned how to avoid the services of a PT, and where to find one should we need to. And in the six years since, I have applied and gladly shared that information. But the most valuable take-away from Marathon 101 (in addition to the satisfying weight of that finisher’s medal) is a handful of life-long friendships that sprang from the shared experience of trying something so hard.
We’ve commiserated over missed goals, and celebrated healed injuries. We’ve run through relationships, births, deaths, new jobs, and plain old small talk. Since finishing that first marathon, we’ve traveled to many more races – in Chicago, New York, Houston, Boston – sometimes to run, sometimes to cheer each other on. We even stuffed ourselves in a van and ran the 100 on 100 relay. (Team name? That’s right: 101 on 100.)
Your first marathon is memorable, no matter the outcome. I’m grateful my memories are all the sweeter for having shared it with some of the kindest, most genuinely supportive friends — all who just happened to be in the same room at the same time, wanting to attempt the same fantastic goal.