Welcome to the 12 month marathon! My name is Kim, and my goal is to run a marathon, a mere year after beginning to run. You’ve heard of the Couch to 5K program–well, this is essentially the Couch to Marathon project. Project Marathon. Project…insanity?

Where it all began

In September of 2009, I attended my first marathon. Now, I’m not much for spectator sports, and I wasn’t particularly excited about watching a bunch of runners for five hours. A dear friend was running, though, and as the marathon was in Budapest, he had no support team. So, I hopped on a plane from Poland to act as his one-woman cheering section (no problem: I’m loud).

That dreary day changed my life. I watched the top-tier runners come in, looking fierce and focused. A man in the crowd laughed when I, talking to a friend on my cell phone, said, “Man, marathoners look downright miserable–why on earth would anyone want to do this?” As the clock inched toward 4:00, however, the pack began to change. The runners began to look less like all-muscle-and-bone-competitors and more like fit, healthy people. They were smiling and raising their arms to cheer with the crowd. They began to look happy.

But the best part, the most incredible part, was the athlete-crowd interaction. Every other sporting event I’ve seen has the “us against them” mentality, where the crowd is rooting for someone to lose. At the marathon, everyone was rooting for everyone to finish. I stood in one spot for an hour and a half while I waited for my friend to run by, and found myself cheering for others as they passed. The crowd was so supportive, and gave their loudest cheers to the runners who needed it most–the elderly, the slow, the injured. The more miserable someone looked, the more encouragement they got.

It was an incredible atmosphere.

My friend finished his first marathon just over 4 hours, and I stayed on the street, unable to stop watching. As the clock neared 5:30, the pack changed again. The back of the group was composed of the runners who were not regular athletes–just normal people doing an amazing thing: all shapes, all sizes, all ages. Watching their determined faces, I teared up as friends and families joined them to jog for a few hundred meters. One woman had an entire group of friends watching, who screamed and jumped around as she approached, and ran with her for a bit, wearing heels and carrying shopping bags.

I couldn’t get enough. And as I wandered back to the hostel before the post-marathon celebration with my friend, something clicked. More than a thought–more like absolute knowledge, down to my very center. “I’m going to do that. I’m going to run a marathon.”

How can you argue with that?

Couch to Marathon

I began running at the beginning of November 2009, and I plan to run the Chicago Marathon on October 10, 2010, just under 12 months later. Now, most sources advise against this. They say that before you train for a marathon, it is wise to have at least a year of running under your belt. By the time I start the official marathon training (May 23!), I’ll have been running for almost seven months.

Why do a marathon in a year?

Well, why not? I’m not one to do anything halfway or halfheartedly. After years of living with myself, I know that the most effective motivation is a big goal, preferably one that seems improbable or even impossible. If people say, “You can’t do it,” all the better…as my friends know, nothing fires me up more than being underestimated!

And for me, a marathon seems like a pretty darn big goal. It’s an exciting prospect, which I expect will keep me enthusiastic and motivated all year. Plus, there are multiple smaller races on the way, all new to me–5K, 10K, half marathon. Goodness knows I love a new challenge! Plus, I announced this marathon project to my friends and family, so I’m now publicly accountable.

23 responses to “About

  1. Pingback: Welcome to the 12 Month Marathon! « 12 Month Marathon

  2. Carrie

    I am new to the blogging world (I know a little behind the times), and to the running world. I am attempting to run my first half this May. So far it sounds like you and I might be on the same page and I have been looking for a mind to movitivate! I look forward to reading more!

    • marathonkim

      Hi Carrie! I’m so glad to hear from someone else who’s going through the same thing. What training plan are you using?

      • Carrie

        Hello Kim!
        Right now I am doing a hybrid version of a couple training programs I found. Some were either too much for me to handle or not enough of a challenge (hard to believe when you are training for a half let alone a full). I am going to check out a local running store next week that organizes a weekly training program for the half I am running. I am really thankful I found this program it is so hard to find the motivation when I’m working alone. I am hoping they don’t mind having an injury-prone, slowpoke like me trying to get a little support!

  3. Hey Kim, hope the training is going well. I’ve just started out on a very similar journey, looking to run in the London Marathon 2011.
    Glad I came across your site, hopefully I can pick-up some helpfull tips as I build up to my marathon over the next 14 months.

    • marathonkim

      Hi Matt! Glad you’re here. It’s so good to connect with other people going through the same thing. As soon as I get back from my run, I’m going to check out your site in more detail–the Gmap pedometer looks really interesting.

  4. marathonkim

    I’m finding that the Higdon half marathon training plan isn’t challenging enough for me–but after having so many injury worries last week, I’m not sure if I’m willing to risk it by upping the level too much. (It was really scary to think all of the hard work to get where I am might have been for nothing!)

    Isn’t it amazing to be thinking a half marathon training plan isn’t hard enough when just a few months ago, the idea of running a mile seemed ridiculous? 🙂 How great.

    I was thinking today about adding in some speedwork, even though everything I read says not to do that for your first half/full…

  5. Good luck! I am planning (secretly) to run a marathon on October 17th! hopefully we both reach our goals!

    • marathonkim

      Thanks, Kara! I totally get the “secretly” part–I’m still hesitant to tell people about mine (especially the really thin or really fit ones) because I’m afraid to get one of those concerned/skeptical, “poor fat girl thinks she can get run a marathon” looks. (I’m not calling myself a fat girl. That’s just part of the fear.) I think I’m not giving my friends enough credit, though. The other day, I told the friend who originally inspired me to do a marathon, and he was SO excited for me and promised to be at the finish line. And another friend makes a point to tell me how proud he is, and my family has been amazing.

  6. im so excited to follow your journey 🙂

  7. Saw your comment over at Erin’s blog – we are both running Chicago! 🙂

  8. Hi Kim-
    I’m actually on a very similar boat as you are. I just began running consistently this year and just signed up for my first half marathon today! The race is on May 16. If all goes well I am also planning on running the Chicago Marathon in October.

    I also started a blog to chronicle my journey, http://marathonerblog.blogspot.com

    Check it out when you have a chance!

  9. Hi! I had to do some searching to find out if you had a blog after your post on mine 🙂 Your about me reminds me of the beginnings of my running journey in 2005. Can’t wait to read more!

  10. Brian

    Look, I don’t want to make small of your goals, but I’m doing the whole “couch-to-marathon” thing in less than five months! In your face! Just kidding. I am however, going to be running the 2010 L.A. Marathon in March a mere 19 weeks after beginning to train. So, if I don’t die, I’ll let you know how it goes. Anyways, good luck!

  11. Bobbi

    Hi Kim!

    After years of not running (4 kids) I have jumped on the bandwagon and am also training for the Chicago 2010 marathon. People tell me I’m crazy (and maybe they’re right) but for me, the only way to force my butt off the couch was to pay the money. I’ve only been at it for a couple weeks now.

    I’m looking forward to following your journey…hopefully we’ll both make it to the finish line!

    • marathonkim

      You’re definitely not crazy! Sometimes a huge goal is just what you need for motivation. 🙂 What kind of a training plan are you using?

      • Bobbi

        I downloaded the 17 week beginner runner schedule from the chicago marathon site. I’m aiming to be doing 5 miles no problem by the time the schedule starts mid-June…so far I’m up to 3 miles pretty comfortably.

  12. Raul

    Hey there, just wanted to let you know of a great website that I encountered a couple of weeks ago, its pretty cool, it tracks your daily runs and stuff. And you can add a widget to your blog to let your followers aware of your progress. Here is the website: http://www.dailymile.com


  13. Joe

    Kim, good luck on your training! Good to see someone a bit crazier than me. I got off the treadmill last summer and started running outdoors. In May, I (hopefully) will be running my first half marathon. If this goes well (i.e. I survive), a marathon will be next on the list. I look forward to reading about your journey.

  14. Tara

    Good luck training! I have my first half marathon on Sunday and am experiencing some pre-race jitters. Your blog is getting be back on track, thanks and good luck!

  15. Hi Kim,
    Really looking forward to following your journey as you train and run your first marathon. I am starting my own blog as well, while I train for my marathon in October in San Francisco. Looking forward to being able to compare notes with you.

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