26 Miles, 26 People, 260 Minutes

In two days, I run my first marathon. I have been training for a long time for this, both mentally and physically. Most of my time spent training has been by myself. But that doesn’t mean that I have not had a lot of help and support along the way. As I run my marathon on Sunday, I plan to have a person every mile to inspire me. Some of them have inspired me physically, some have inspired me mentally and some are just inspiring in general.

Mile 1: Mira, who was my first running buddy. She was the one who helped me get through my first long run. We used to run along the levee in New Orleans, from work back to our room, which was a 10 mile run. She was great company and a fabulous running partner. I ran my first Half Marathon with her by my side the entire time. 

Mira and I at the Newburyport Green Stride Half in October
Mile 2: Dad. My father was my first fan, and is still my greatest fan. He has sacrificed many a Sunday morning to not only cheer me on but to take photos, run the 5k races and even sometimes jump in to finish the last quarter mile with me. He even brought water and Gatorade for Mira and I when we ran our first long run. 
Dad came in 3rd in his age group in the City of Roses 5k!
Mile 3: Granddad. There have only been two people in my family who have run a marathon. One of them was my Granddad. He died when I was a teenager, but I always remember thinking he was crazy, because he would tell me how he got up at 5 am to get his runs in. Now I know what he was talking about (it is still crazy though!) 

Mile 4: Craig. My uncle was the second person to run a marathon in our family. Even better is the fact that he ran the same marathon I am running. When he ran it, he was also about my age. This is very special to me that we have this in common.

Mile 5: Lea, my friend who always tells me that I inspire her. What she doesn’t know is that she inspires ME every day, by believing in me and being there for me no matter what.

Mile 6: Jack is another CIM alumni and my friend who will be keeping tabs on me and promised “not to make fun of me” if I run really slow. He ran this marathon last year, but got hurt around mile 20. He walked the rest of the way but still ended up finishing. Not finishing fast, but finishing all the same! I can finish this too!

Mile 7: Hal Higdon. He doesn’t even know me, but I used his training schedule for both my half marathon and this marathon and I have felt great the entire time. I may be a little premature in thanking him, but even so, I do.

Mile 8: Bloggers who run are great people. Everyone is always so encouraging, whether you are running a mile or a marathon, whether you run a 20 minute mile or a 5 minute mile. People have given me advice on everything from what to wear, what to eat or where to run. When I express nervousness about a race or have questions about a run, the running bloggers are there for me. For a taste of some of the bloggers who inspire me, go to Jill's Fitness Friday page! 

Mile 9: Bloggers who don’t run are also great! They still are encouraging, even if they don’t know exactly what I am always talking about or going through. They are still there for me when I feel scared, excited or nervous and when I am having either a good day or a bad one. You can see some of my favorites over on my right sidebar under "Some Blogs I Follow".

Mile 10: Lisa, my friend from Minneapolis, who has been a wealth of running advice and support. She introduced me to the Yasso; she has suggested nutrition and hydration methods and products. I met up with her earlier this year to run a 10 mile race in MN, so mile 10 is for her.

Mile 11: Chris and Alan, my second set of parents, who have not only put up with my stupid, crazy, idiotic antics for years, but are letting me stay at their house AND driving me to the start line early (the race starts at 7!) in the morning on Sunday. They will be cheering me on from somewhere near mile 11, so this one is for them.

Mile 12: Bart Yasso. He doesn’t know it, but he helped me realize that I could be faster. His program for intervals helped me become faster, but more importantly, gave me confidence in myself. I was running at a certain pace, which was “good enough for me” but then I pushed myself a little and realized that I can be faster if I just work a little harder.

Mile 13: Grandma S, who always keeps up with what I am doing and is very supportive. Here is what she said recently via email: “Think of you a lot as you practice and then run those horrendous marathons! I admire your stamina!”  So, as I am reaching the halfway point of this “horrendous marathon” I will be thinking of HER a lot!  Also, hopefully I still HAVE stamina at this point!
Mile 14: My East Coast Family, who I got to spend Thanksgiving with this year. We had a great time, as always, and it was great to catch up with them, to eat, drink and be merry and to remember how great times with family really are. My Cousin and Aunt have also both lost weight recently and are getting out more, walking around and eating healthier and I am so proud of them!

Mile 15: All my friends in New Orleans. NOLA was the first place I really ran seriously. It was where I ran my first half marathon and where I did the majority of my “firsts” (first 8 mile run, first 10 mile run…) There were a lot of people there who I was hanging out with in those days (you know who you are). They were my family away from home. They were there when I was taking my baby steps. 

My first Half Marathon: Mardi Gras Marathon
Mile 16: The Race Volunteers. These people are tireless and friendly and sometimes not even runners! They do it out of the goodness of their hearts. Without the volunteers, there would be no races, or the fees would be much higher! They give us water, Gu and directions! Without them we would literally be lost.

Mile 17: My West Coast Family. Many of them will be cheering me on from the sidelines on Sunday. They are great to be around and I always have a good time with them. I can’t wait to see them and am glad that an event like this is bringing us together, even though it’s not a holiday! I just hope I don’t fall asleep at the table during lunch.

Mile 18: My San Francisco friends. I actually got to see many of them last weekend when I visited the city. I miss them and it was great to see them, although I did not get a chance to see everybody. I had a great visit with some of them though and will be thinking of all of them (and dreaming about buying a house in the city someday) as I run mile 18.

Dinner in North Beach. Bad photo, but good people!
Mile 19: Karen and Nadine, my other “mother” and her daughter, who is my oldest friend. You know those people who you don’t see for years and when you meet up, it’s like no time has passed? They are like that. They are family. And they make a darn good coffeecake! As I am eating a Gu at mile 19, I will pretend it’s Nadine’s coffeecake.

Mile 20: When I hit the wall (and feel like crying) at mile 20, I will think of my Mom. She is always encouraging me no matter what I am doing and I will remember her kind words in my head, and she will help me through my struggle. I usually don’t run races near home, so she watched me for the first time only last month and will be here on Sunday to support me once again. Thanks Ma! 

Mom and I at Almond Bowl Half in November
Mile 21: Kara, my friend who has an energy that I can never match. She recently got married, had a baby, bought a house, moved and got a new job. In between that she does about 4 million other things. Hopefully during the race I will have her energy to get me through the wall and to the end.

Mile 22: My honorary nieces and nephews. They are little bundles of energy. They are full of life. As the miles start to drag, I will keep them in mind, knowing that they believe in their Aunty and that I can do it for them. This mile is for the children!

Mile 23: My Uncle Jay, who died of Cancer last year. He fought it and fought it and was very positive about things until the very end. He didn’t let anything get him down. I will fight these last few miles like (and FOR) Uncle Jay! 

Uncle Jay, Christmas '09
Mile 24: My Brother, who is a huge pain in the butt, so, when I am getting my butt kicked by mile 24, I will think of my brother and I will kick the butt of mile 24. I will not let it beat me. I will beat it, just like I still  used to beat up my brother ;)

Mile 25: Mr. Lovely, who has put up with my running, racing, sweating, smelling bad, telling him repeatedly how many calories are in things, talking about running blogs, nagging him, making him drive me places, making him wait for me, making him be the event photographer, boring him to death with talks about running, running shoes, running pants, Gu, the newest fad and the fact that I am hungry (again) and I need my bunions feet massaged. To top it off, all my races are on Sundays (football days). Since I was a difficult pain in the butt to him for the last several months, I will think of him on this most difficult mile. 

Yes, it's a Lovely Mustache. It may look ridiculous, but it won 100 bucks in a contest!
Mile 26: Myself. This one is all for me. I will finish this race for myself. I am going to cross the finish line. I may not be fast, but I will finish. For all the work I have put into this. For setting goals and attaining them. For proving to myself that I am strong enough. The last mile (point two!!) is all mine. I am going to own it.

My goal is 260 minutes, or 4 hours and 20 minutes, which is a 10 minute mile. I don’t know if I will make it, but that is what I am shooting for. If I don't attain that, I will still be happy. I just want to finish. 

To finish the moment, to find the journey's end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Who is your greatest supporter? Your most inspirational friend? What do you do to get through tough times, physical ones or mental ones? 


  1. I found your blog through LisaYarns this morning and wanted to say good luck! I just started training for my first half, so I'm really excited about discovering new bloggers who run too.

  2. This is great!!! I loved this post and this concept!

    Bloggers that run are so inspiring! I wish I would get bitten by the running bug, but it just doesn't happen for me. Even in high school when I trained with the track team or belonged to a running club to get in shape for soccer, I hated it.

    You are going to do so great at your first marathon, I can just *feel* it! I cannot wait to hear all about it!

  3. It's wonderful that you have that many people supporting you through your first marathon. Good luck, and just knock down those easy 10 minute miles. The goal of your first marathon is just to finish, not to hit a specific time. I can't wait to see how you do! Remember to drink 3 bottles of water as soon as you cross the finish line.

  4. I love this post and the concept of dedicating a mile to each person, and I love that you explained a little bit about them and why you would be dedicating that mile to them.

    Good luck! You are going to rock your first marathon!

  5. Love this post! It takes a village to get to the starting line, doesn't it? So excited to read about your race. The first marathon is so awesome - enjoy the run and take it all in!

  6. Great post and I love this idea for the marathon. Have a great time and good luck :)

  7. This is a great way of planning for those 26 miles. I wish I had done something similar, but I will certainly do it on my next run. Good luck this weekend, I can't wait to hear how you do!!

  8. Wow, you are really blessed with lots of love and support. Congrats and good luck!

  9. Hi I just came over from Control the Chaos. Thanks for your comment. Just wanted to say good luck on your marathon. I just completed my first (in barefoot shoes) in October. You will do awesome. I can tell you are ready, because it's all mental. Looking forward to hearing how it went.


  10. Also, I am your newest follower. I love to travel too; we live in the Netherlands right now and who knows where next.

  11. Awesome post. Love the individual mile dedications and hope that every one inspires you and helps you as you rock out those 26.2 miles.

    Wishing you a wonderful day for your first marathon and hope you bring home lots of memories to share, too.


  12. Ah, this is so exciting! I feel really honored to be included in your 26 people! It was a great race tactic for me and I know it will be for you as it keeps your mind off your feet! You will have alot of people cheering you on both there and virtually!

    I think you have a great goal for this first marathon. Like John said, your goal shoudl be to finish as the first marathon you learn alot and then you can go from there. I mean, I shaved almost 30 minutes off my time when I did my 2nd marathon. I KNOW you can do a 4:20 (assuming no injuries occur, one never knows!).

    Good luck friend!! You are going to do awesome!!!

  13. Good luck girl! I know you are going to rock this marathon. You are well-trained and speedy!! :)

    I really like the idea of dedicating each mile to a person and I am totally doing that when I run Vancouver in May!

  14. Good luck! You are going to do great and I can't wait to read your race recap! Glad to have found your blog!

  15. good luck-thinking about all your supporters will help you on the run

  16. Love love love this post! My greatest supporter is my husband. Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful for all that he does during the good times and the tough times.

    Good luck with your first. Enjoy the experience! Crossing the finish line of your first marathon is something you will never forget!

  17. we'll be thinking of you, too! we loved seeing you at thanksgiving. lots of love to you and mr. lovely. xoxo

  18. Good luck! Can't wait to hear all about how you've done! I love the idea of dedicating each mile to a person...I remember Lisa doing it last year and thought it was a great idea. (Maybe if I ever get up the courage to run another half -no marathons for this girl - I'll do something like that!) Good luck, again!


Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!