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LAURIE5658
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My Revelation and seeking HONEST feedback

Monday, September 26, 2011

I realize that I owe of my faithful Spark friends two race reports. For me to write a race report takes alot of mental fortitude because I am a Virgo (perfectionist) and if I don't get it right the first time, then I simply procrastinate. Call it a flaw, I call it normal. Right now, I have something that is suddenly heavy on my mind that popped up out of the blue. I did NOT see this coming. The purpose of this blog is to get my thoughts out there and for some serious and thoughtful feedback. You see, I am very analytical and break everything apart to the point of exaustion. That is the way I roll.

I ran HM #8 yesterday after running HM #7 just a week before. I felt ready, rested and the end result was awesome! I ran with our son Matt who was experiencing his first HM and I felt a strong motherly urge to run it with him from start to finish. It was a success!

With that said, something happened through the course of the Quad Cities Marathon from start to finish. It was a snapshot in time as we were in our positions waiting for the canon to blast the start of the race. The day before at the expo/paceket pickup, I was perusing the very comical Pacer's displays that they create themselves. You have the typical pacers that promise finishing a full at Boston marathon qualifying pacing time, the pacers that promise a blah blah finish and everything in between. The one that totally caught my eye was the pacer that promised to finish literally "same day". This guy has a reputation of being quite the comedian but will get you to where you want to be. It was THAT moment.

I have now finished 8 HM's with the last 3 being so comfortable, fun and VERY rewarding. I am now convinced that I am truly a runner. I am a Half Fantatic with 3 moons and even though there are runners that don't approve of what Half Fanatics stand for, it is important to me. I am not a fast runner but I am a runner that has truly embraced the joy of running. I don't include the fancy schmancy speedwork or the Tempo runs because it sucked the fun out of lacing up my running shoes and heading out. I simply run for the fulfillment it gives me. I run for me. I have also spread the joy of running to 3 generations in our family. That is hopefully one of the most important legacies I give my family.

With all of that said, something happened yesterday as I ran with our son who was running his first HM. With the pacer's sign advertising "same day" marathon finishing and running side by side marathoners on Rock Island Arsenal Island, I have discovered that out of the blue, I now have that urge to run a Full.

Now, please do not tell me "I told you so" because I don't want to go there. This is how runners evolve and it is the normal process in the runner's psyche. I am not asking for "rah rah shish coombah" you can do this. What I am asking for from fellow runners that have trained for and successfully finished full marathons is for the down and dirty and the truth of what the process is really like.

With the tought of pursuing a full, my biggest fear is injury, overtraining and burn out. I am under the very close watchful eye of my wonderful chiro Dr. Lake that gives me ART. She is very honest with me and I depend on her to keep me running healthy and happy. I have a very aggressive Fall HM schedule and I am having a blast. My next HM is in 3 weeks and i cannot wait! I am just now feeling that urge to perhaps raising the bar. That raised bar would be a Full.

I am asking fellow running buddies that have experienced this very thing if you think I can do it and most importantly, if they wish they had not gone to that next level and regretted it.

The Full I would most likely attempt would be the Quad Cities Marathon one year from now. I have a great comfort level here and I know that the QCM race organizers are AWESOME and put on a great event.

This urge is not leaving. I have not even told hubby Jim about this yet and only a few close friends here. Coach Nancy told me that I will know in my head and heart when it is time to pursue this goal. She told me to respect the distance. I respect everything she so unselfishly advises me.

I am scared, nervous but yet very giddy with this new mindset. THANK YOU for reading this to this point. I also promise race reports for Air Force and Quad Cities HM. Both events were so awesome! Trust me.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • OOLALA53
    I am not a runner but I have been a dancer starting after age 40 just on a moderate level but a kind of dance that is very aerobic, and I just want to caution you because the high can be very seductive. And the repercussions can come much later. I am getting more careful as time goes on, looking for more vigorous activity that is also restorative and protective of my joints because sometimes just getting up out of a chair can be frighteningly painful. Frightening because I am only 58 and did not expect to feel this kind of pain until much later. I certainly did not feel it at age 53 when I was being tougher and dancing harder more often. This is not to say that there aren't serious runners (or dancers) who work out hard until quite late in life with seemingly few repercussions. Unfortunately, there isn't a crystal ball to see if you are one of them.

    Good luck in your decision. emoticon
    3415 days ago
  • BIGT_56
    From one fellow Vrgo to another...I feel your pain! I analyze everything to death. The perfectionism trait can keep us from doing things just for the enjoyment sometimes. We have to work harder at the "just for fun" part.

    I will never be a runner in the true sense of the word, but I am becoming a walker/jogger. I admire all those that can be true runners...half or full marathon kind. If it makes you happy, then do it. You can always try it, see if it is for you, and then go from there.
    emoticon
    3471 days ago
  • IMSMILEY88
    I haven't run a full (yet) either, so no help there! But, it sounds like you have a very solid background & are a smart runner. So, I hope you have a wonderful time training & doing your first full! (By the way, I'll be running HM#2 this Sunday then 3 more in the next 3 months...I guess I'll be finding out how much I enjoy HMs...and I'll be a Half Fanatic!)
    3477 days ago
  • LUV4CHOCOLATE
    Laurie - I didn't go back and read all your responses, but I followed Galloway's "Fat Burning Training" schedule for my first marathon (as I was still trying to lose weight). He also has a "To Finish" program for first time marathoners. His programs are very conservative with mileage to promote an injury free training experience. I am now training for my 2nd marathon and I am using his "To finish" program again. The only thing I am doing that is not in the program is running an extra day (3 days a week isn't enough for me). I'm not ready to go for a time goal - I just want to enjoy it! All these plans are in his book "Marathon - You can do it".

    By the way, I'll be running 26.2 with Donna in Feb 2011. emoticon
    3479 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5826541
    You ARE ready to take on the challenge. i felt it like a calling and it is a calling. I would have regretted it if I had backed down and walked away. Do it. You are a runner and considering your record, you have a SOLID, RAWK SOLID, running base.

    I think you are hearing the call, its time to answer.
    3482 days ago
  • MOMONTHERUN1
    I am running my 6th Half Marathon on October 17th and I never do speedwork or tempo runs. What the heck is a tempo run anyway? I am not a fast runner by any means - I end my Halfs around 2:50:00 and I am happy with that. I also run for me and I think that all of us should do it for ourseves although I do find it very hard for me not to compare myself to others. I always feel like everyone else is looking at me and sizing me up and wondering why in the world I consider myself a runner.

    Anyway, I think that it is a great accomplishment to run/walk 26.2 miles and if you really want to do it....then do it! You know your body and if you feel that you want to run further and accomplish more than do so. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it.

    Lianne
    3482 days ago
  • MARATHON_MOM
    Laurie -
    I think you are absolutely right... it is the natural progression when runners have trained for and completed half marathons. It's how we are wired, I think.

    I trained for my first marathon using Hal Higdon's Novice 1 program. No tempo runs, no speedwork... just mileage laid out on certain days and very do-able.

    I never felt burned out with running on this plan, and I never lost the joy that running gives me. I never got injured, either. Which seems incredible to me now, considering all of my injuries lately. LOL

    The most important thing with marathon training is to put in the time and do the training. SO important. RESPECT THE DISTANCE. It's tough, mentally and physically, but so rewarding when you cross the finish line. The feeling of accomplishment is absolutely incredible. I won't lie. I cried like a baby from the time I saw the finish line and heard my family and Wendy screaming my name... until several minutes after.

    You will do great! I am excited for you!
    3482 days ago
  • LIGHTNINGRUNNER
    Congrats to you. I am happy for you. You are discovering you are ready. I unfortunately, will leave the fulls to you and my other fellow sparkers. Some people, like me, have no desire to get out there for so long.

    You can do it....and I will be your emoticon yelling emoticon Go Laurie - I am sure you will soon be at Disney Marathon having a Disney experience
    3482 days ago
  • BE-THE-CHANGE
    I think Coach Nancy gave you great advice - enough said!
    3483 days ago
  • GOLDFISHLIZ
    My inspirational friend - I know you will do this! You have been so meticulous in all your running training, you will obviously prepare properly to avoid injury, and I'm guessing you will have a blast!
    Go for it! I'll be cheering you on on this side of the pond!

    emoticon emoticon
    3483 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1425027
    Not really sure what you are afraid of w the responses...

    Just get out there and do it. If you aren't going for a time, then just gently work up your mileage until you are walking/running or a combination of the two to whatever mileage you want to max your training out at.

    If you want a prescribed method, I would say Galloway. Somewhere I have a link to a program that is only 3-4 days of running/cross training a week. I'll see if I can find it. Getting the long runs in is the most important part! Otherwise, when you are ready, just find a plan you like, do what you can and enjoy the experience!

    Love ya, but this blog makes me laugh. I think it is VERY true of a Virgo. And I mean that in the BEST way possible!!!

    Honest question here - has ANYONE told you they regretted doing a marathon????

    I am so happy with the ones I have done, but still prefer the half distance. I'm sure I'll mix it up in the future, but only YOU know what your heart finds the most favor with.

    AND THAT is your answer! Even if its only running halfs from here on out...
    emoticon
    3483 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/27/2011 4:10:08 PM
  • IFDEEVARUNS2
    I have no doubt that you will do it well when the time is right. And with Galloway, it's absolutely doable! emoticon
    3483 days ago
  • FUNFROG79
    I can't give much advice b/c I haven't run a full either. I have the same concerns as you, espeically injury and overtraining. I have been thinking of Vegas 2012....but I don't know. When you figure it out, let me know! Haha! emoticon
    3483 days ago
  • MCCOURTT
    Well, you know how I did it, took nine months, I didn't do any speed work, only did long runs. As important as the long runs are to the training, I really believe running "form" is what carry you to the end. You already done the most important thing, deciding to do it.
    Now the low down on full marathon via a 1/2 marathon (using my vast experience of one full marathon ;-) The level of exhaustion AFTER finishing is like nothing I've ever experienced before. In terms of injuries, getting the "form" right, seem to have saved me. (Injuries were my number ONE concern when I trained)
    I currently have three marathons schedule for next year I would be honored to add one more!
    Gump


    3483 days ago
  • DANDRAS
    I am also in the same place as you. i admire your commitment to doing a full. I am also going to do my first full marathon 3-2012. I would of done 5 1/2 in the last 2 years. I am looking to finish

    It is a personal thing just to say I done it. I am also thinking of doing the Galloway method vs my fast walking/slow jog. It all depends on my knee. If i have to walk it all at my under 15min pace then I will. Like you my goal is to finish!!!

    Grats!

    3483 days ago
  • RUNNER_TIFF_07
    I haven't read the responses to this blog yet, but I wanted to put my input while I had a chance [Alexa is taking a nap, yay!]. I just want to say I think it's fabulous you want to run a marathon! I came online JUST to comment on this blog! I would never say I told you so, although I will say that you never know what life will bring you :). I always said I'd never run a marathon -- why the heck would I want to put myself through that, I would always ask myself. I thought marathoners were crazy! [Hah, maybe we are?]. Anyway, like you, out of the blue, I realized that a marathon was my next goal. I have no idea where it came from or really why I suddenly felt like I had to run one, but I knew I needed to do it. And you know what? It changed me. I became a different person, a better runner, through my marathon training and finishing was the cherry on top :).

    So here's my thoughts. I'm sorry if what I'm going to say repeats what others have said since, like I said, I don't really have time to read them! I know you can train for a marathon WITHOUT the dreaded speedwork or tempo runs. Those types of runs are NOT for everyone and I don't think you need to add them to your training simply to finish a marathon. Not even to improve a previous marathon time, to be honest. As you know, I train for and ran mine using Galloway's run/walk method and a tweaked version of his "to finish" marathon training plan. I think that would be an awesome plan for you to follow but I'm pretty sure you already know that ;). If I recall, he doesn't add speedwork until his time goal plans and you don't need to be worried about a time goal right now.

    I'd plan for a pretty easy winter/spring race season so that you can train for the marathon without worry of getting injured. When I trained for the marathon last November, my ONLY big race during the training period was a September half marathon, which by the way fit PERFECTLY into my training plan. It was the race I needed to develop the confidence I wanted to have during the marathon. I had other smaller races in there but I wasn't looking for PR's in anything because getting to the start line of the marathon injury-free was my main goal. If I recall, I did PR the half marathon but that was mainly because of the run/walk method [it was my first long distance race using it] and because I'd finally gotten to run a half marathon in decent weather! :)

    I treated the marathon as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I will run another one, although right now I'm still trying to get myself back into running so I'm not sure WHEN that will be. Most likely after I'm done breastfeeding since engorged breasts don't sound like ANY fun near the end of a 26.2 mile journey! Hehe :). But I wasn't sure at the time if I'd ever run another one. I looked at it as an experiment. I also tried to enjoy training and the milestones. Each long run was an experience that I wanted to remember. I wanted to learn just as much from the training, if not MORE from the training, than I would during the race itself.

    Finishing the marathon was an AMAZING feeling. It changed me and after that I would never be the same. It was TOUGH but it was definitely absolutely positively worth every step. I know you can do it :).
    3483 days ago
  • CRZYRUNRGRL
    HI!!
    I am so excited that you want to do a marathon! I can say it was the most amazing experience and I recommend doing at least one!
    For me, the training was the hardest part. Dedicating one day a weekend to running half of the day (not really half the day but you know). I have trained for a marathon several ways, straight distance, intervals, with a running buddy and now solo. I recommed Galloway for sure! The more I train for them and the more I do, the more I love the distance! There is something about getting to a training run of 20 miles that makes me feel incredibly accomplished!
    Don't get me wrong, the half is totally my favorite distance and I don't think that will ever change but the marathon gives you a whole different feeling!

    I am so excited for you! You are amazing!!
    3483 days ago
  • LEFTCIRCLES
    HOLY COW did you get some replies on this blog, so I'll keep my comments short.

    If you feel like you want to do a full, then you must, it is there to be done. The training is hard, but it has to be cause if it was easy then everyone would do it. Plan on hitting walls in your training when you just don't want to keep going, these pass.

    The only bad part for me was a TON of post race depression, but that led me to the TRI, so it actually worked out well.

    DARE MIGHTY THINGS!!!
    3483 days ago
  • TRILLIUM22
    If you chose to follow Jeff's to finish plan, for the most part you will find the training fairly easy. Given your running experience. You will have to schedule the long run, but they only occur every 3 weeks. Things I realized when shifting from a HM to a marathon schedule, you are running long runs further from good temperatures. 18 miles in Jan for an April marathon, 20 miles in the first week of August for a lot Oct marathon.

    Your chosen race has a 6:30 finish time, which should be fine for you. One thing you do realize about the marathon distance is that because you run longer you are more likely to have uncomfortable temperatures than for the HM distance. So If you are running a comfortable HM race with a 2:30 time you will take longer than 5:00 on the marathon and that can be exagerated if it is warm. With a 7:30 start you'd be finishing a HM at 10, but a full at 12:30 if running at a 5 hour finish pace. I did look at the race results and there were some finishers above 7 hours---not that you'd be in the category---but I always look at past years results when thinking about a race.

    One thing I'd consider doing is listening to Jeff Galloway on the extramile podcast galloway edition. I got a lot of insight from this.

    http://gallowayextramile.bl
    ogspot.com/

    One of the things I learned was that Jeff suggests you run your first 18 miles of you race just like your training runs and only then pick up your pace. Yes it is in the books, but I had not noticed that. So if you do the to finish schedule remember that you will approach your first race more conservatively. I did find it much harder to push the pace on a marathon after using a to finish schedule than when I used a to finish schedule for the half.



    3483 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/27/2011 10:06:40 AM
  • EMILY1244
    Ask me if I am surprised. Go ahead, ask. Knowing that I share your brain, you know that I saw this coming. Why? Because I know that my path will lead me to a full eventually. You know your body. Ypou know when you are ready to start. But this is a majorly intense thiing to put yourself up against. But I know you, and I know that you weigh your choices heavily. i also know that if you decide to pursue this, and it turns out it isn't the right choice, you will have the sense, and the courage, to admit that it isn't right. I hope that IF and/or when that time comes, you are able to take off your runners' blinders and truely see whether you are being safe and smart about training or whether you push through just for the sake of pride because that's where injuries (or worse) can come from.
    3483 days ago
  • PIXIEMOM13
    I love reading your blogs..and while I'll look forward to race reports, you don't "owe" anyone them. ;)

    That said I am looking forward to them...especially the Air Force one since I was thinking that would be a cool one to try (and the fact that hubby would love to visit the museum there doesn't hurt either.. lol)

    Do your research and if you decide to go for it, well, I'm sure you will do very well!
    3483 days ago
  • NATPLUMMER
    Congratulations on both of your recent HMs!!
    I cannot give you any insight into marathon training. I can only wish you much luck.
    3483 days ago
  • BAM0827
    I think the Virgo in you is going to do all the proper training to help you stay as healthy as possible along the way. I think next fall is a good time line for you to prepare (although some long runs in the heat of the summer may be difficult but you're also game for getting up at 4 am to prepare). Have you looked into training programs? Maybe a good next step would be to map out your training plan to see if the distances seem like good ones at the time of year you'd be doing it. That might help you make a good decision for you.

    From what I've read you write over the past 6 months, I think you'd love the training and the actual running of the race. I can feel your giddiness as you think about it.

    You'd better tell your hubby soon - he's going to have to start thinking about longer bike rides if you're going to do this :)


    3483 days ago
  • BRIAN36
    The quick synopsis of my running resume is I've run 10 halfs (2 of them in 7 days to qualify for Half Fanatic) and 2 fulls and have been running for 4 years. And like you, I love the 1/2 marathon distance. I don't run for speed and when I'm finished, I've enjoyed the run and can go on about my day. I give that info. so you can decide if my advice is useful or not.

    You say the feeling won't leave and you feel giddy at the thought of attempting the marathon. That tells me you're mentally game for it and your running history makes me think your body is probably ready for it.

    However, Coach Nancy is right. Marathon training becomes almost like a job. It's not too bad at first but when you get into the 16, 18 and 20 mile runs and have to start carving out 4 hours on the weekends just for running time, sacrifices have to be made. Cutting evenings out early so you can get to bed because you have a run in the morning, watching everything you eat because of how it affects your run, becoming paranoid of injury and illness. It is all consuming. It really is nothing like training for a 1/2.

    I don't regret doing it. In fact I signed up for the second one because I was convinced I could do it better the second time. And I did. The key is to find a training plan that works with your schedule. Even if it's a hybrid of a few different plans. It has to be something you know you can do and stick with it. Resist the urge to add multiple 20 milers just to ensure you can "go the distance". Trust me, one 20 miler is enough. You really have to take rest days seriously. By the time you get to the taper, you'll be wondering why you ever signed up for it and just wish it was over. That's why that taper is so important because by the time raceday comes, you'll be ready to jump out of your skin and you'll feel like you're holding back race horses.

    I may have painted a somewhat dark picture, but if you've trained well, those last 6 miles of the race you will be just bursting because instead of thinking "can I do it?" you'll be wanting to scream, "I can do it and I am doing it!".
    3483 days ago
  • AMCG2002
    You are getting some great advice here, and I'll give you my 2 cents, too! Two years ago I didn't see why anyone would want to run 26.2 miles. In three weeks I will run my third full marathon in 12 months! I don't think Coach Nancy would endorse that, though! lol

    I'll start by saying that I love training for the hm distance; it is a manageable distance. You are not exhausted or sore after a long run. However, it is an amazing feeling when you accomplish 16, 18 and 20 mile long runs. And when they put that medal around your neck... One of my friends says it ranks right after the first time she held each of her children. 13.1 miles is, IMHO, mostly a physical event; 26.2 miles is physical, but those last 6-10 miles are so mental, too.

    You will know in your heart if you really want to do it, and if it is the right time in your life for a full marathon. The training, nutrition, sleep and recovery can be very consuming. You definitely need to talk with your support system; I need to have dh and my parents (even though they live 400 miles away the kids and I spend much of our summer with them) on board so I know they are willing to support me and sacrifice to help me reach my goal.

    One of the greatest assets to my training has been a huge local marathon training group that consists of several hundred runners. If you have access to a group that can accommodate runners with pace group coaches, that can be invaluable. One of my pace coaches is running his 24th full this fall; his knowledge and stories on the really long runs have taught me more than I'd ever learn from a book/plan. Oh, and until this summer I never did any speed work either!

    Good luck and you know you will have full support here, regardless of what you decide!
    3484 days ago
  • JENN26POINT2
    Personally, I think you can do it and I think you will do very well at it. I think you have the fortitude necessary to stick with the training, to train smart, and to do your best.

    The question I ask myself (and consequently the question that told me I am not ready) is, are you cool with running 22 miles "just for fun"? Personally, that distance overwhelms the crap out of me, so I know I'm not ready. That might not be the right question for you, but it might help you think it out.

    Also, QCM has a great training program you can sign up for (I think it starts in June??) that meets on Sunday mornings.

    I think you'll do very well and I look forward to reading about your training. Best of luck to you.
    3484 days ago
  • LYNNANN43
    I wrote my Bucket list a few years ago. On it, I quote...

    "~ Run a Half Marathon (because a Full Marathon seems unnecessary)"

    It's a few years later and yes, I still feel this way! LOL

    I doubt I will ever change my mind, but who knows?

    But if that's what you desire, than set your new goal and GO FOR IT!!!
    3484 days ago
  • BOBBYD31
    I can't give you answers but when I was training last year I found a very easy . I'm not a long distance runner , the injuries mount it up on me that's why I had to drop off the quest . I was 6 weeks out had made it to miles 17 and again to that point it was surprisingly easy . do what your heart tells you , if you find it too much down the road you can always quit there is no shame in knowing when to quit if you have to . lots of rest and fueling well are the keys to being successful ,then you at in your cross training keep you healthy . good luck on your decision but I think you know what it is .
    3484 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8332469
    I love your honesty about the tiempo/speed work I feel the same way. I just love running plain and simple, no fancy stuff, lol. I think you should go for the full if it is on your mind!! Just like my SP name, you just have 1life2give. My hubbys says give instead of live b/c what you give is how you live.. Anyway, I say go for it!!I have also been thinking of completed a full, but I just took the entire year off due to a complicated pregnancy. Good Luck, looking forward to reading your race reports
    3484 days ago
  • no profile photo CD318156
    Training for a full marathon becomes a job...your nutrition and sleep must be on par. While you can't step out of your life to train (like Olympians), remember that stress in our life is just as detrimental to stress brought on by training (our bodies can't tell the difference) therefore, if this is something you would like to do, figure out the time of year that would be most conducive and least stressful for you to train.

    My opinion, if you plan on running one in 2012, allow the winter for your body to fully recover from a very busy racing season. While working with a chiro is great the one thing she can't do is diminish the inflammation from months of training and racing...that can only be done with time and easy running.

    These are things I would tell anyone who would come to me asking the same thing...my job as a coach is not to tell a runner what they want to hear, but what they need to hear so that they can determine when and if they are ready to begin training and completing the biggie.

    RUN SPARK STRONG!
    3484 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/26/2011 11:00:07 PM
  • SLYTHERCLAW55
    RB, you know I'm supportive of your running goals and dreams, no matter what you decide. Only YOU know in your heart what is right for you, and if a full is it, by all means go for it. I have more to say, but for now, I'm running out of steam and nearing bedtime. As an "in training marathoner" I'll give you more of my perspective when I have a little more energy!

    Love you!
    3484 days ago
  • MIRAGE727
    "Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use."
    Carlos Castaneda

    I've never physically met you but not only do I know you have heart...you have the passion! You have my prayers. Be safe and run well.
    emoticon
    3484 days ago
  • LALAFLOWERS
    I so understand where you are. I personally am in the: 'just gonna stick to the half' category. I just don't have it in me right now to commit to the long runs that come in the last few weeks. I don't have the desire to be out there running for several hours. I love halfs!

    But.. I also hear that you are ready for the next step. You are now a strong runner. (note: no speed comment here. that doesn't count in this equation). You know how to push yourself. You've overcome a day or two when the run wasn't fun, when it was just a case of getting your run in. You may well have a few more of those. Those long runs... IMHO are LONG! If you are ready to take on the training, then, I say go for it. Take it slow, build smart, and you'll have a great race.

    I'll have fun following the comments! Cause I know I'll get that itch someday... and not be able to ignore it either!
    3484 days ago
  • ROOT4HOME
    Oh my gosh Laurie...like Nancy, if you know in your head & heart that you're ready...then go for it! I'm so super excited for you and agree, the QCM sounds like the perfect 1st marathon for you!!! Since I've never run one (and am not "there" yet myself) I can't offer advice but am excited to have another dear friend to go to when I'm ready to take the plunge!! emoticon emoticon
    3484 days ago
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