NYC Marathon Inspires a Marathon Dropout

Julie Ryan Evans

NYC MarathonIt's been several days since The New York City Marathon, but I -- a multiple marathon dropout -- keep running it in my mind.

From Shalane Flanagan, the American who came in second place even though it was her first marathon, to Edison Pena, one of the Chilean miners, to those who beat cancer or overcame obesity, there were some amazing stories of people who overcame odds and pushed through pain.

Stories that may have inspired me enough to finally complete a full marathon.

To give you a little background ... for most of my life I'd always been an intermittent exerciser who didn't particularly like to sweat. Dance and gymnastics carried me well through my younger years, then a smattering of aerobics classes, walks, exercise videos, and gym memberships took me through most of my 20s. Honestly, my career and a penchant for partying took a front seat to exercise.

Then I moved to Austin, Texas, where somehow a friend of mine convinced me to sign up for a marathon training program. I figured I'd do it for a few weeks to meet some people, but I had no intention of ever actually running a marathon. I'd never even run more than a couple of miles before.

But somehow I kept going back each week, building my mileage in absolute awe of body's ability ... and the sense of accomplishment and pride I felt when I finished. I loved every sore muscle and, after long runs, the deepest sleeps I'd ever experienced.

It was the amazing start to what has become one of my priorities, my passions in life. When I run I feel strong, and I feel free, and I feel like I am in control. It clears my mind and restores my sanity like nothing else ever has.

But back to the actual marathons ... as part of that first training program, we ran a series of races -- several 5Ks, a couple 10Ks, a half marathon, even a 30K, which is just over 18.6 miles. Both my love of running and my t-shirt collection grew, but a few weeks before the actual marathon, an injury sidelined me and I was unable to compete.

I was sad, but not devastated as I knew I would do many more.

Only then came infertility and a child and another child and a crazy busy work/life unbalance and everything else that makes running and training a bit challenging to say the least.

So I've become somewhat of a marathon dropout -- signing up with all the good intentions in the world, only to be derailed by ... life, I guess. I believe I can do it, I just have to make the time to do it.

Because while my regular runs are great, I still feel like somewhat of a running failure because I've never actually completed a full marathon. And when I look at what some of those people who ran Sunday's race overcame to do it, I know I should be able to overcome some of my much more minor life challenges to do it as well.

Because that's what marathons are about -- doing the seemingly impossible.

What kind of an impact does watching marathons have on you?

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