The Flying Pig Marathon | Training For and Running A Marathon As A Dad
A little over a year and a half ago, I decided it was time to make a change in my life. I was close to 240 lbs and felt gross all the time. Molly and I had Blakey on the way, and I might have been coming out of a quarter-life crisis, who really knows? So I decided that day (October 31st, 2016 to be exact) to set a goal to run a marathon, I signed up for the 19th Flying Pig Marathon and started training... kind of.
The Marathon Training Process
I started by training for a 5k first, then a 10k, then a half marathon and by the time I ran these I was well on my way to running the marathon. But I was having some foot pain during my training, and I couldn't identify the problem. I decided to get new shoes a few weeks out from the 2017 Flying Pig Marathon and stupidly decided to run 10 miles in them the day after getting them. That was the day I gave myself a stress fracture and had to postpone my running of the Flying Pig. I was sad and happy all at the same time, at that time I hadn't trained well enough for the marathon and wasn't as ready as I should have been. Looking back on it, it was a blessing in disguise that saved me the embarrassment of being picked up knocked out on the course at mile 11. So I took a few months off of running, six-ish to be exact.
When January of 2018 came around, I had finally gotten into the mindset of training. I decided I was going to do it and run that stinking marathon, mostly because I couldn't bear the thought of paying all that money and not doing it! So I started back at my training with a few miles a week and built up each week. My long runs were on Sunday afternoons and I did a few short runs in the middle of each week that allowed me to build up quickly.
One of the significant obstacles I faced for the second time during training was foot pain AGAIN! I tried stretching my feet more, icing them, rolling them, and more, but nothing was working. I finally decided to do a shoe switch again, and it was the miracle I needed. The new shoes got me to the point where I could run 10 miles and more without staggering back to the house in pain. It was a fun relief and certainly lifted me up!
Another obstacle I faced was being away from my family so much. It was sad to say goodbye every Sunday afternoon for weeks on end, but I got through that obstacle with the help and encouragement of my wife. She pushed me every day to keep training and get over the finish line of training and the marathon itself.
I finally was on my last week of training, and I had foot pain come back again and honestly when I got to race day I have no idea how I didn't have any. A blessing for sure and maybe race day excitement blocked it out.
My Marathon Training Facts
- 3 Pairs of Shoes gone through
- Four races run in prep
- 100s of miles run to train
- 1.5 years to get there
The Flying Pig Race Day Arrives
Race day came, and the nerves were there. But I was pumped, I had my race day routine, and I was ready. I had trained for months for this day, and luckily enough I had four individuals running a relay with me the whole way. My sister in law, her boyfriend, my mother in law and my dad.
The starting gun went off, and 30 minutes later my corral crossed the start line. Yep, I know what you are thinking, I am slow and it was a huge race! I was running a stinking marathon, and I was going to do it. It set in a few minutes after the start that I was going to finish that day, even if I had to be rolled over the finish line.
The Flying Pig is known for the hills in the first 10 miles, and I went into it knowing that, I beat those hills to a pulp and never stopped. But the day got hotter, and by mile 16 I was already at my wall. I wanted to be picked up by the paddy wagon. But I started counting sets of 100 steps and moved on from there, I had figured out before the race that I'd be looking at roughly 55,000 steps for the marathon. So why not count 550 sets of steps, eh? The heat was killer, but the constant water and Gatorade stops kept me going.
My wife, daughter and many others found places along the way to cheer me on, and that knowledge that they were waiting to cheer was encouraging and energizing. I got to the final 2.2 miles, and the whole relay team met me to run the last miles. It was exciting, fun, painful, hot, and slow. But it was finally coming to an end, and I was excited to call this goal accomplished.
My wife and daughter met me in the last .2 miles, and I carried little Blakey across the finish line. It was the best finish I could have asked for. I then grabbed a snack and began the runner's shuffle.
Years later with a one year old in tow, miles of training, awesome and supportive people all around me, I had finished my dream of running a marathon for the first time. And in just under 6 hours for my first marathon, I was PROUD. So can you accomplish goals? Heck yes. With the right team of people supporting you and a high level of commitment YOU CAN.
My Tips For Dad Runners
1. Do your long runs early in the day. I didn't do this, and it meant sacrificing precious time with family.
2. Don't whine and gripe to people about how hard training is. I did this and shouldn't have.
3. Train with a partner on your long runs. I used a podcast, but a partner would have been better.
4. Commit for a reason. Mine was to work towards a healthier lifestyle for my family, and it worked! Plus you walk away with a shiny medal.
5. Just do it, get out there and start one mile at a time. When I committed to running a marathon, I was not a runner by any means. But I became what I needed to in order to make it happen! And now I love/hate running just like every other runner!
So what are you doing? Get up off the couch and attain a goal. Comment below with a goal you want to do in 2018 and stay accountable!