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May 2009 Archives

May 1, 2009

Michelle and Mike: On Courage First

When we hear of someone planning to run a long distance race, like a half or full marathon, we often take for granted the courage required to make that commitment.

Regardless of whether that decision is made by an experienced or novice runner, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.

With that decision comes the realization that a certain type of courage is needed.


Take the novice runner. Imagine you have never run a race before, much less a full or half marathon. Heck…you may have never even run a mile in your life.

This person is staring into the unknown.

Why the unknown? Well, look at it this way….this person has never run before so this person has no idea what to expect from his/her body. Also, this person may not fully understand the commitment to training that is required in order to be properly conditioned for this event.

Then of course is the event itself.

What kind of preparation is needed?

What is expected on race day?

What takes place before the race?

What happens during the race?

What happens after the race?

What else?

So it takes a special kind of courage for someone who has never run before to commit to running in not just their first race but a half or full marathon.

Last year Michelle decided to run…for the first time…having never run in a race before…but wanted to do the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon.

How did she see how courage plays into such a commitment?

In her own words:

“Courage. That word takes on a lot of meaning, depending upon the context in which it’s used. When we’re talking about running a race, one might think of the courage one must draw upon to get to the start line on race day….and that certainly does take some fortitude…but what about the courage it takes to take those first steps…?

As a first time runner, who had never competed in a race before, the first big step for me was to sign up for the 2009 Disney Half-Marathon. It took some courage. By submitting my name, by paying the registration fee, I was, in essence, challenging myself and making a promise to myself. By clicking that “Register” button I was challenging myself to consider that I could, in fact, commit to the training. I was challenging myself to start to tell my friends and family that I was going to do this. I was promising myself that I would set aside the time to learn about running, to ask many questions of my coaches, and to do everything I could to prepare myself to get to that START line in the best shape possible that I could to finish the race.

We must call upon courage when the outcome is unknown….when we know that there are difficult struggles ahead, but when we know we have the strength to do whatever we can to get through. “

Those are the thoughts of someone who was staring at not just her first half-marathon but her first race EVER!

The courage Michelle needed to gather was different from that which Mike, and experienced runner, had to call upon, for his first half-marathon.

You would think that an experienced runner would have far less of a need to find the courage to sign up for such a commitment as a half-marathon.

Think again.

Mike tells us:

“I registered for my first half-marathon at the tender age of 55. Although I had been running off and on for some 38 years I had never run more than 9 miles and basically averaged about 6 or 7 miles a day.

I wasn’t sure if I could do 13.1 miles

I was also concerned about an old basketball injury that resulted in my left knee no longer having an anterior cruciate ligament to keep it stable.

My orthopedic surgeon years ago had recommended no more than a 10K distance per day…otherwise there would be possible “complications.”

So my fears were well known...age and injury were at the top of my list.

I also knew a bit as to what it would take to commit to the training for this race.

So as an experienced runner I knew what I was up against and needed to muster courage somewhere to face these known obstacles.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to do a full marathon but was not ready to tackle that mountain….but a half-marathon seemed doable.

I knew that signing up for the race and getting to the Start was a sign of courage…and that is what all that are doing their first half or full marathon should understand.”

Signing up for a long distance race…regardless as to whether you are either a novice or experienced runner takes courage.

It’s your first step.

There is no looking at it in an other way. To accomplish this feat you need something important…

…courage first.

We congratulate our Team AllEars members and everyone who has signed up for the ½ or full marathons, but we’re especially proud of our new runners, who took that first step, who have shown the courage it takes to simply register for the race.

Let’s do this!

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About May 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Team AllEars® Running Blog in May 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2009 is the previous archive.

June 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.