Thursday 17 January 2013

A Marathon versus a Sprint

I joined an online infertility forum when I realised that I needed to vent my frustrations regarding my infertility and Myrtle's upcoming delivery. One of the most helpful comments I received was "it's a sprint for others and a marathon for us". Not only was it a brilliant analogy, but it accurately fit our situation. Myrtle ran track for one season and was a sprinter and I am a distance runner. I did my first half marathon in 2009. I was inspired when a seemingly un-athletic woman in my office revealed that she had done a few marathons (she walked, but it's still covering 26.2 miles). So, I signed up for a "disease race" (term coined by my swim coach who gets inundated with fund-raising requests) and completed a twelve week training program and raised $1,000 for The American Heart Association. I was keen to do another one and maybe consider training for a full marathon, but we started looking to buy our first home. In 2010, we became homeowners and renovation projects consumed all our free time for at least a year. Then, Myrtle invited me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, which provided the motivation to get back into fitness. I completed two triathlons and re-discovered the fun of racing. I signed up for many 10K events, aiming to do at least 1-2 per month. It's a comfortable distance for me and I figured that I would still be able to partake in the earlier stages of my pregnancy. When the pregnancy thing wasn't happening, I decided to increase my distance and registered for a half marathon. I confess I was trying to tempt fate a bit, but suddenly the race was a month away and I wasn't pregnant and hadn't trained very much. Husband and I were worried if I would finish under the official cut-off time, but to my surprise I ran it in 2:14 -eight minutes better than when I properly trained. Once I discovered that I could prepare for a half marathon in 3-4 weeks, I continued to schedule events to console myself when I received a BFN. Recently, I decided that I needed a new challenge and I found a unique 18 mile run, which is scheduled in May. I can't say I'm trying to tempt fate, as the race organisers allow a full refund (albeit race credit) if you cancel up to ten days before the event (it's a woman only race, and that policy was probably based on possible pregnancies). However, it will be good to focus my training on a new goal. I thought a bit more about the comparison between distance runners and sprinters. Yes, sprinters get much attention. Almost everyone can name Usain Bolt as the Gold Medal winner of the 100 metres in the recent 2012 Olympic Games, but only dedicated runners know that Stephen Kiprotich won the Marathon Gold (along with his friends and family). I also thought about how impressed I was when I learnt that someone I worked with was among the 1% of the population who have completed a marathon. It's a triumphant accomplishment. Almost anyone can run a 100 yard dash. Only a few have the strength to endure a marathon.


  1. That is super impressive! You should be proud of yourself! Good luck training for your next race - you will be awesome!

  2. I am not a huge runner, but I always thought it would be great to do a marathon just to know that I accomplished that. One day I will do it. I think I need to motivate myself by picking a great race location. Good luck with your newest challenge.

    1. Hey, I nominated you for the Liebster award :)

  3. Holy hell, you run a fast half! I was at least a half hour slower (and that was three years ago when I was in good running shape), so I am way jealous. Have you ever tried trail running? When I got bored with regular road races I signed up for a few trail runs, and there's also the Spartan Race ( which is like a trail run with obstacles. I haven't done one yet but friends have said they're super fun; I'd like to try one this year if I'm still un-pregnant.

  4. ICLW #55. I'm so impressed with your running! I just started 5K's - a 10K is "long distance" for me. I'm still at the point where running a complete 5K with no walking would be a huge accomplishment.