On October 13, 2012, I ran my first ever Marathon, the Baltimore Marathon. Previously, I had only run a few 5K races.It was an amazing journey: both the training and actual event.
One particularly meaningful point for me was training virtually with my 3 brothers. About 20 weeks before the event, we all chatted about the prospect of doing something like this. Before you knew it, we’d all said we were going to run. Paul was already planning on doing the Marine Corps Marathon. Peter, Michael, and I all decided we would target Baltimore. We were all there for each other as we hit different challenges, needed to commiserate, or wanted advice. Though I think the only joint training run any of us had was a ~3 1/2 mile run Peter and I shared in hilly Pittsburgh, I still felt like we were all there experiencing it together.
Time: 4:04:02 (Pretty happy, though I must admit I wanted to be sub 4 hours.)
Calories Burned: 4067
Total miles run in 18 weeks of training: ~425
Training Program: Hal Higdon’s Novice 1
Two dedications. First, I dedicate this run to my parents. Simply put, I worked a little hard for this and made minor sacrifices. My parents have both worked so hard and sacrificed for us. We’ve had a simple life (in material terms) but have shared a loving and culturally rich upbringing. My parents have given everything to us. I am truly grateful. Mom and Dad, I love you.
Second, I dedicate this maiden marathon to my loving wife and awesome kids. This would have been impossible without Michele’s amazing support. Even the kids were kind enough to remind me to get my water, get my shoes, get my phone, etc. They enabled this journey, and I love them for it.
Heart health. That was a big one. It’s no secret that the Lennon clan has a history of heart issues. I needed to get a lot more cardio, especially since my volleyball days basically ended when we moved to NoVA.
Have a health goal. I set a goal to run 1000 miles in 2012. It won’ happen, but I’ve made a pretty big dent. (503 after the marathon.) I will probably try to get up to ~750 by year’s end.
Both of those motivators are really just to be around longer for the rest of Casa Lennon. Want to be able to enjoy my wife and kids as long as I possibly can. Too bad for them.
I had three primary running inspirations. First, my brother Paul whom our cousin Kevin has aptly named the “family Kenyan.” Paul is the first in the immediate family to have run a half or a full marathon. He showed me that even we procrastinating Lennon’s could do this. His maiden Philly marathon time of 3:37 and Baltimore half marathon time around 1:35 are pretty inspirational.
Next, my cousin Kevin who recently ran the NYC Marathon. Kevin has battled arthritis for some time. However, he found the courage and determination to power through that, train for, and finish the world’s largest marathon. Kevin, hats off to you.
Third, to my friend Debbie. Debbie was one of the first people I knew who actually enjoyed running. Debbie has a hectic personal life paired with a demanding professional one. Nevertheless, she always tries to keep running. I was most impressed when she battled a series of nagging injuries but kept fighting to see how she could get out there again. You showed me I can keep going.
Beyond the health benefits and goal achievement, the actual Marathon was a blast. It was really awesome to be out there with over 26,000+ runners running for whatever reason. And to have thousands of strangers along the race course cheering you on and sharing funny signs was energizing and often amusing.
Favorite Moment: Seeing Michele, Sophia, and Alexander around mile 23 light up and start jumping up and down to cheer me on. That really hit me. I rubbed Alexander’s head and kept running. (It is a race after all. 😉 ) I almost lost it about 50 yards later.
Biggest moment of concern: At about mile 13.2 (just after the half-marathon starting line), my left calf muscle started to hurt acutely. I stopped to stretch. Twice. As I was trying to run it out I had two thoughts:
- This is the f’ing marathon that I have been training for for 18 weeks. I am not stopping!
- A dude with a prosthetic leg was doing the full. No excuses.
Some of my favorite quotes and signs:
Quote from yelling spectator: “You got this! Do this for America, or the terrorists win!”
Quote from two African-Americans sitting on lawn chairs (straight out of Friday): “Damn, these motherf&#%ers are crazy!”
Sign: “If Marathons were easy, they’d be called your Mom.”
Sign: “Smile if you are running Commando.”
Sign (on a runner’s back): Photo of Gandalf with caption “You Shall Not Pass!” (Ran by him at around mile 18. 😀 )
I’ve been asked this a lot. I want to run another marathon at some point. I really want to get under 4 hours. (Well, really under 3, but let’s be realistic.) Other things I’ve considered are a triathlon sprint, a marathon relay with my brothers, more bike riding, who knows?