FINAL COUNTDOWN ...
Columnists ready for marathon day
STORY BY JAY HEATER
PHOTOS BY ANDREW LAKER
After sharing her hopes, aspirations and struggles with The Republic’s readers as she trained this summer for Saturday’s Mill Race Marathon in Columbus, Rose Ellen Adams finally will be able to mow her lawn.
No, it wasn’t writing a diary for the newspaper that kept her away from yard work. It was the relentless training schedule of preparing her body for a 26.2-mile run.
“You can see where my priorities are,” said Adams, who will run in her first marathon. “If someone drove by my house and looked at my yard, they could see I haven’t spent any time there. But I don’t feel sorry about it. It’s just one of those things.”
Adams and Tim Proctor have been writing training diaries for The Republic for the past five months.
Adams wrote as a beginning runner, having started less than two years ago as a way to get into shape and lose weight. She has lost more than 130 pounds and will be running her first marathon.
Proctor also will be running his first marathon, but he is a veteran of cycling and competitive running events, albeit shorter ones.
Both have been experiencing a bit of nervousness and excitement as they approach Saturday’s event.
“I am excited to be taking part in this event, and I’m excited by the impact it’s had on the community,” Proctor said. “It doesn’t seem to matter what the weather, or time of day, I see so many people running on the People Trail and running around the parks and streets of the city. The influence of the race has been really incredible.
I know that everyone participating will learn something new about themselves, about what an amazing gift their body is to them and what incredible things they can do. That’s the reward everyone gets for turning up at the start line, no matter if you place first or last.”
So what did Proctor learn about himself as he trained?
“While there have been a lot of positives from this training, I’m also certain that this will be the last marathon I run in a long time,” Proctor said. “The training effort is very significant and has taken me away from my family more than I would have liked.
It’s also taken a toll on my body that cycling simply does not do, no matter how much I train. My shin splints (in both legs) are manageable, but not fully recovered. My legs ache, and I’m continuously worried about the slightest joint pain, which seems to be amplified by the jolting impacts of running.
“I definitely haven’t caught the ‘marathon bug,’ which gets some people motivated to run multiple marathons in the same year. Running is much harder on my body than I had anticipated, so I will stick to running half-marathons and shorter races from now on and riding my bike.”
Adams, however, did catch the “marathon bug.”
“I definitely see that I will want to participate in more marathons,” she said. “I read where some people are doing one in every state or a certain number in a lifetime. I guess it’s like I got sucked into this whirlwind.
“Everything has happened so fast in a year and a half. I went from a 5K right into training for the marathon. I got pulled into it so quickly, but I’ve enjoyed it,” she said.
“Now I need a new goal. I’m actually going to miss the training, so I’ve thought that I could just start training for next year. I guess I have it in my head now, but I don’t see where this stops. This is the way I want to live the rest of my life.”
It has been a grueling schedule for both.
“I guess the first thing that pops to mind has been the increasing amount of time needed for running and cross-training,” Adams said. “It almost rolls and snowballs. It grows bigger as you get closer to your goal, and it becomes harder to manage. You have to do more flip-flopping in your schedule, and you make more sacrifices. There were a lot of times I wanted to do something more fun or social, but I needed to do some training.”
Although she has had to make sacrifices, Adams said training as a whole has been a wonderful experience, not a chore.
“It’s been a labor of love. I actually love it, and that’s why I made the sacrifices. I make the time, and I do the juggling because I see how many benefits it brings to my life.”
More marathons might not be in Proctor’s future, but he has appreciated his current journey.
“As I look forward to the marathon, it’s with a mixture of nervous anticipation and relief,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed the training and the effect it’s had on my body. I’m leaner and faster than I ever have been. I’m excited to try to reach my goal finishing time (of less than three hours).”
Now it’s just a matter of getting to the finish line for both.
“I don’t know if the right word is that I have ‘overcome,’ but I think I have been able to build that confidence that I am able to do this,” Adams said. “I think what I have learned through this experience is that I have built up a confidence that has spilled over into other aspects of my life. Whether it is professionally, or being present for my kids, or just general time management, I feel that if I invest the time into a goal and believe in myself, I can accomplish most anything I want.
“I rate this event right up there with the really important things in my life. It definitely has been the most physically challenging thing I have done. This was hard — there is nothing about training for a marathon that you would classify as easy — but if you ask all the people who know me well, they would say I am a different person. I am more confident. And I want my kids to think back someday, knowing that anything they want to do, they can do it, and see that I have been a model to them.”