#42for42 or ‘Why the heck am I running a marathon?’


Exactly four weeks from today, I will be running my first marathon. Four weeks. From today. What have I gotten myself into?

Race Motivation

Prior to 2009, I had never run. Maybe I had rushed to catch a bus, or participated (unwillingly, of course) in the odd sport that required me to move faster than a shuffle. There was that one time in college where I thought I should try ‘jogging’, a venture that was quickly abandoned.

After my first race in 2009 (read about how I started running here), I realized something…I am one of those people who studies because there is an exam.

That’s not to say I was someone who crammed the night before. In fact, I was a pretty good student (some might call me a ‘teacher’s pet’), but I studied and worked hard to get good marks, and because I knew that at the end of it there would be an exam to write. Apparently, this carries over into my running – I will keep training when there’s something to train for.

So I started registering for more races.

Moving beyond the 10k

While shopping for shoes at Forerunners during the 2009 Christmas break, one of the staff mentioned the running clinic they hosted. I thought, “Hmm, it might be good to have some people to run with,” and decided to join. I showed up for my first run in mid-January, expecting a leisurely 10k or something similar. As it turned out, the clinic was in training for the First Half Half Marathon in February, and were hitting their peak of training before tapering.

Me to some pleasant-looking strangers outside of Forerunners:  Hi, I’m new this week.

Pleasant-looking strangers:  Oh, that’s great! Have you been running long?

Me:  No, I’m kind of new – I just started last year.

PLS:  You’re welcome to run with us! We’re the slow pokes, but we have a lot of fun!

Me:  Great! Thanks! How far are we running today?

PLS:  20k

Me: …

And so it began. By the end of 2010, I had run 8 races, and racked up about 300km (in training & racing). And one of the main inspirations for my amped up running was my participation in the Forerunners running clinic, led by Coach Carey, and those pleasant-looking strangers who became good friends.

The Half Marathon

First Half Half Marathon 2013

I decided that 2011 would be the year I tackled a half marathon, and finished the First Half in 2 hours 15 minutes. For various reasons, including a very rough year career-wise, I managed only 4 races in 2011, and my total run distance was just shy of 500km. In 2012, I completed 2 half marathons, finishing both in 2 hours 7 minutes. My total running distance was about 550km.

As mentioned in a previous post, I lost my mom in the spring of 2013. In spite of that, it was a year of surprising success in terms of my running:

  • 7 races
  • 3 half marathons – including my first sub-2-hour marathon (1 hour 52 minutes:  a full 23 minutes faster than my first half 2 years prior)
  • My first sub-40-minute 8k
  • My first 50-minute 10k
  • A total of over 1000km run

Which brings me to 2014. And that darn marathon.

#42for42 – Yes or No?

In December of this year, I will turn 42. I’ve been pondering the theme for a while, pretty much since my 40th birthday. Wouldn’t it be cool to run a full marathon (i.e. 42km) tin my 42nd year?

In December of 2013, about a week after my 41st birthday, I emailed Coach Carey to ask his advice (permission? blessing?) regarding my #42for42 plan.  With full credit, I will quote his response:

I think it’s perfect timing. You’ve improved a lot over the last two years and you can build off that base. It’s basically the same except you run extra distance on Saturday. Why not go with the 42 theme and run the marathon.

So I signed up for my first marathon – the Honolulu Marathon – and will run it just one week after my birthday!

Hey look – this race is almost as old as me!

“But wait, what? Didn’t you say you had a marathon in 4 weeks?”

Yes, well…when the earlybird reminder for the BMO Vancouver Marathon hit my inbox in January (I’m also motivated by saving $$$), I thought…maybe I should get just one marathon under my belt before doing a destination marathon.

And so…Sunday, May 4 it is. Four weeks. From today.



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