Perhaps it’s a cliché that I was inspired to run my first marathon because of Oprah and because I was about to celebrate my 40th birthday.  But come on, if Oprah could do it, surely this girl that had been running for years could do it.  And seriously, what better birthday gift to give myself for my big four-o than to do something that most people wouldn’t dream of doing.

Once I made the commitment to myself, I was a girl on fire!  Thank goodness Mark Zuckerburg was only 13-years-old and Facebook wasn’t an option, or I would have had friends dropping like flies as I posted the gory details of every training run!  Even without Facebook, word spread in my close-knit community and I got mostly positive encouragement… except for two people.  Both had been successful collegiate athletes, both were triathletes, and both were friends that I held in very high regards.  Both said pretty much the same thing to me when I told them my exciting plans, “I don’t think you understand what you’re getting yourself into.  Training for a marathon is no easy task and will take a lot of discipline.”  Those right there were fighting words, and I set out to prove them wrong!

As I’ve mentioned before, the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) was the race that I chose to be my very first marathon.  I trained for it alone before I started running with my BRF’s, before I started coaching, and before I met the Cruisers.  I set up several different loops in my neighborhood, and I set those routes up old school style… driving along the road beside the trail and measuring the miles with my car’s odometer. Remember, this was before cool smart phone running apps, MapMyRun, and Garmin watches.

I charted out various shorter courses of four, five, and six miles; all starting at my house. For a 20-miler I would run four-five-mile loops. As boring as this might seem, I didn’t mind and felt a little safer being in the confines of my community since all of my runs were alone.  Eventually Bill started joining me on some of my longer runs and we ventured to the W&OD Trail to run on what would become our running home-away-from-home.


Forty marathons later, this disciplined marathoner got the last laugh!

  • Questions:
  • What inspired you to run your first race?
  • How do you set up your running routes?
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