Back in September 2012, I announced a big goal for 2013. I wanted to become a member of the Marathon Maniacs running club. It must have been a symptom of 'taper madness' because I made it only two weeks before running the Chicago Marathon -- my first timed marathon distance race. What sane individual would throw down the gauntlet on such a challenge before even knowing whether or not he could even 'finish' his first marathon race? Well, I guess that 'not quite sane' fellow would be me.
My "Mission to Maniac Membership" started in November, after the Chicago Marathon and the Indianapolis Monumental Half, when I began training for the Disney Goofy Challenge. I chose to qualify for membership into the Maniacs by completing three Full Marathons within 90 days.
My first of those three races was the Disney World Marathon in January. That race was fun (for the most part) but also brutal. Fun because I ran with so many friends (Kimberly, Hung, Mike, Liz, Beth, Vicky, Robbie, Rebecca, and others) who kept me laughing and motivated, even when the temps were 85F and 100% humidity (humidity plus high heat is my Kryptonite). But we made it, and I finished that race with a smile on my face and medals around my neck. It was a race I will remember forever because of the effort it took to complete, the friendships that were forged, and the sense of accomplishment of completing all three races that weekend (5K, Half, and the Full).
The second of the three races was the Surf City Marathon in February. Many of my Maniac friends ran this race, including Fast Eddie McCoy and Joe Taricani from The Marathon Show. I picked this race because it was in the state where I grew up and it happened to fall on the same weekend as my high school reunion.
I felt very strong and prepared for this race, even though it had only been three weeks since Disney. But again, there were a lot of friends running this race, and that really makes a difference for me. Overall, I ran well even though my first half was much faster than the second half of the race. I ran a new PR on this beautiful course, and I am seriously considering running this again in 2014. Second race in the books!
The third and last race -- the one that would cement my entry into the Maniac Asylum -- was the Little Rock Marathon in March (just three days ago). This race was equally amazing, fun, and definitely a highlight of 2013. Again, I had lots of friends running this race, including a fellow WISHer named Susie. The race course is challenging but very well supported!
I took the Early Start option which began at 6:00am in the dark, cold (29F) night. Lots of Maniacs were there, including my friends Fast Eddie McCoy, The Endorphin Dude, and Abbi Beuby Auger. I also met some new friends like Holly Aulen, Michael Miller, and Allison Leer (who also became a Maniac that day). I ran a solid race and would have had a PR time if my right hip hadn't forced me to walk for two miles at Mile 23.5! Oh well. The important thing was I finished that race with a smile on my face, and the country's (maybe the world's) largest Finisher's Medal around my neck (2.75lbs)!
When I finished the Little Rock, I immediately sent my race time to the GateKeeper for the club, so that I could be confirmed as a member. The email I received back started with the sentence "You definitely qualify for the Maniacs at the Bronze Level with your 3 races in 50 days". I am now a Half Fanatic (HF
#1852) and a Marathon Maniac (MM #6743). They call those with dual
membership, 'double agents'. Nice!
I had never really counted the number of 'days' that this 'mission' took to complete. I had only really thought of it in terms of 3 separate 'months'. But from the date of the Disney Full to the date of the Little Rock Full, 50 days had passed. That realization really made me feel good (and a little amazed actually). I am so proud to have achieved this goal. It took a lot of effort, time, and energy. And while it seemed kinda crazy back in September to decide to embark upon this journey, once I did I took it very seriously. I feel like just doing this and coming out of it uninjured is a "win", and reflects the amount of planning, training, and preparation that went into it.
I am also aware that I need to give my body some time to recuperate, rest, and rejuvenate. I have asked a lot from my body and mind this year. I started 2013 will some hefty aspirations. Now that they have been met, I have earned some R&R.
At least until May, when I run in the Flying Pig 3-Way Challenge (5K, 10K, & Half Marathon)! LOL Yes! I am a Maniac and a Fanatic! I am a Double Agent. "The name is PEETE. Rick Peete. I'll have my protein drink shaken, not stirred!"