I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions, I figure if it is good enough to set a goal, you might as well start now. While I think most New Year’s Resolutions are just fluttering dreams made to be broken a few weeks down the road, some are awesome! Take for instance, my friend Rob DeCou’s New Year’s Resolution for 2013, to run 1 marathon each month, a total of at least 12 marathons over the course of the year. Awesome.
As we rang in the New Year on January 1, 2013 Rob and I discussed our 26.2 mile plans. We started with a January jaunt around Santa Barbara, stopping at McDonald’s for a soda and bathroom break. That first marathon was brutal (on me) and took a long 5+ hours, but it would get better.
At the time Rob and I were training for my first long race, the 65 mile Are You Tough Enough ultramarathon in April. Rob, an accomplished ultrarunner, was helping coach me to the finish line. The Marathon a Month became part of our training.
Through the rest of 2013 Rob and I managed at least a marathon each month, sometimes together, sometimes alone, sometimes during a race (and no, a 65 mile race did not count as 2 marathons of the month). When we turned the calendar from December 2013 to January 2014 Rob set a new goal, to ride in the Oregon Cycling Challenge 400 mile bicycle race. I prefer to keep both feet on the ground and my butt out of the saddle, so I continued the Marathon a Month plan…indefinitely.
Which brings us to today…18 straight months of running at least 1 marathon a month. Recently I have actually run at least one marathon a month, sometimes two, sometimes more (in May I ran 5 marathon+ courses, one for each weekend). It’s starting to get silly.
In January 2013 I couldn’t have imagined where my life would take me. Today, I don’t’ regret it. Just 18 months ago I would never have believed that I could still be running at least a marathon each month. When I finished my first marathon (Chicago, 2002) I remember running with a guy named Elmer (that wasn’t his real name, his real name was John, but John would be too normal to put on a race jersey to get the crowd cheering, so he used Elmer). Anyway, I asked Elmer how many marathons he had run, he said 14. I walked (hobbled) away and wondered if I would ever get to 14 marathons in my life. Looking back at my first year running a Marathon a Month and getting into the ultrarunning circle I think I ran at least 14, maybe 18, or even 20 marathons in 2013 alone. I don’t really know…between the training runs, races, and just normal weekends I’m not sure. In 2002 (and even 2012) I could have never imagined that I would one day be here.
Marathon number 18 was pretty low key. I woke up, laced up my shoes, threw some snacks in a pack, and took off from home. I ran down State Street to the beach in Santa Barbara. It was low tide so I was able to take the beach route from Leadbetter to Hendry’s Beach, a beautiful 2.5 mile run along the sand, cliffs to the north, Pacific Ocean to the south. From there I took to the trails in Elings Park and then made my way over to the Douglas Preserve for more dirt paths. Around mile 14 I felt a little rumbly in my tumbly and stopped to satiate my hunger at the golden arches…sausage egg McMuffin, hash brown, and a large soda from McDonald’s. MMmmmm.
Marathon of the Month Map
I strolled back down Shoreline Drive to the Harbor and along the beach bike path to East Beach. Just past the volleyball courts I ran around the bird refuge and on to Montecitio’s ritzy Butterfly Beach. I turned and headed back to State Street, ran out on Stearns Wharf, and returned up State Street to the apartment. I ended up at home just past 26.2 miles, happy to be done and ready for a beer. I spent the day alone, but saw several friends out around town and listened to an interesting audio book and some ultrarunning podcasts, always great company on a long run.
It wasn’t fast, glitzy, or exciting, but it was another marathon, and for June 2014 the Marathon of the Month is complete. Check. 18 for 18.
More running posts here.