Back in 2016, I went to the NYC Marathon Expo with Tom and his family. While there, I saw so many marathon runners- whether it was their first ever marathon or their fourth/fifth time. Never had I ever felt so intimidated by a group of people, those brave enough to participate in a 26.2 mile tour of the five boroughs. Tom’s mom made a joke, saying how by the same time the next year she’d have me training for races. I laughed, she laughed, Tom laughed, his little brother laughed. We all laughed: Courtney? Running? For fun?
But then, I found myself registering for races- starting with a half-marathon. Stupid, stupid Courtney. I registered for a couple of smaller races before I’d attempt to run 13.1 miles through Brooklyn, to use them as “training.” I put that in quotes because I’ve never once went out of my way to train for any kind of run I had coming up.
Brooklyn Half? Ran two 4 mile races a month before hand, no more no less. Bronx 10 mile? Ran a one mile sprint down Fifth Ave three weeks prior to taking a tour of the Bronx. Staten Island Half? “Trained” through the Bronx 10 miler two weeks before it. And that’s it. I don’t train, I don’t have the willpower to get up and just say, “hey, i’m going to go run x amount of miles because I feel like it”, even when I have something to be training for.
I have ran 10 races this year. Ten. Not once going out of my way to train, which is probably why after most races (usually the longer ones) I have to teach myself how to use my legs again (also probably accounts for more than half of my leg injuries and numerous asthma scares). I love participating in these races, it’s a lot of fun running through different areas and having the crowd cheer you on. It’s really cool being able to walk away from a race sometimes with a medal, and usually a super cool dry-fit t-shirt to commemorate the race.
And here’s where I am now. New York Road Runners has a program that if you run nine qualifying races and take part in one volunteer opportunity at another, you receive guaranteed entry into the following year’s NYC Marathon. As a member of NYRR, I’ve ran nine races spanning from a single mile to 13.1. I’m set to volunteer New Year’s Eve at the Midnight Run in Central Park, fulfilling the 9 (races) + 1 (volunteer commitment) program. I’m just wondering what makes me think that I’d be capable of running 26.2 miles.
I don’t even think that I like running. For me, truthfully, it’s about proving to those who doubted me that I can do it. That even though I’m a lazy piece of shit that I can go out on any given day and run 1 mile, a 5k, 4 miles, 5 miles, a 10k, 13.1 miles, whatever fucking distance my stupid ass signed up for. Maybe that’s why I don’t train, so I can prove to anyone really that I’m a fucking superhero and don’t need to warm up my muscles/ ligaments/tendons/lungs to running long distances (don’t try this at home).
But how can someone so disgustingly lazy and unmotivated consider participating in one of the world’s most famous running events? What makes me think that I, Courtney, can get up off my fast-food loving/junk food obsessed ass and train (starting in the middle of summer) for a 26.2 mile trek throughout my city?
I would love to be able to sit here and write, “My name is Courtney, and after watching my boyfriend and his mom run the 2017 marathon I’ve decided to pour my heart into it and run the following year”, except I don’t know if I’m that person. I would love to be able to stay true to myself when I promise that I’m going to train for the next race I have. I wish I could say that I’m unbelievably motivated to be a part of something so special and important to New York City. I wish I could tell myself that I am capable of participating in an event where the five boroughs will lift me up when I want to fall down. I’m perpetually lazy, it just does not go away. Or something always comes up. My back hurts, my knee hurts, I’ve had an emotional breakdown. I always find some kind of excuse to not stay true to myself, something I hope I learn to shed through counseling.
My next race is in March – the New York City ½ Marathon. Claimed my guaranteed entry after running four of six designated races throughout the five boroughs (I “ran” the Brooklyn Half, Queens 10k, Bronx 10 Mile, and Staten Island Half).
Will I train for it? I’ll tell you I will, but I probably won’t. And I’ll regret it that Monday morning (as if Monday’s weren’t bad enough). I have several other races in mind to participate in too, mostly little baby races (3.1 miles, 4 miles, you get it) that honestly my Grandma could’ve participated in if she was still alive.
Maybe I should do the marathon. Maybe I should claim my guaranteed entry after completing the volunteer commitment, sacrifice my first born for the entry fee, and train my fucking ass off before taking to the New York City streets.
Am I strong enough to do this? Do I have the undoubtable support from those most important to me? I’d like to think so. I guess when I decide if I’m going to grow a pair of balls or not to participate in the race, you’ll be the first to know.