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What led me to run a marathon?

A few years ago a friend of mine, Sydney Ringdahl, asked me if I wanted to run a marathon with her in Florence, Italy. I told her not a chance, as I’d never run further than 3 miles in my life. She was persistent and said, “Okay, what about a half marathon? The max you’ll have to run in training is 10 miles, and just think about how cool it would be to run in the beautiful city of Florence that we are living in for the next few months.” I ended up agreeing because I liked the idea of having something to motivate me to exercise; I was also too cheap to sign up for a gym membership and needed something to combat my beer & wine drinking.

Sydney and I have now run three half marathons together in the last three years. After our last half marathon in Long Beach, California, I thought I was ready to move on from running as it wasn’t the best experience. The Long Beach half marathon was not a formal, well-organized event like I’d experienced in the past; it was hot and the course was just back and forth on the beach. I was pretty sure I’d just go back to playing sports to stay healthy and feed my competitive spirit.

However, a few weeks later, I had a conversation that changed my perspective. Mike Beltz, who has often acted as a second father in my life, shared that he had run six marathons in his life. He encouraged me to run one in Europe, since I was about to move to Ireland. Mike has always been someone I look up to, as he embodies the characteristics of confidence, generosity, intelligence… the list of positive characteristics could go on and on. I want to continue to create the best version of myself and if Mike had run a marathon, then it seemed like something I should strongly consider.

I went home and started looking up marathons in Europe. Dublin had one in late October and boom, right in front of me was the Athens Authentic Marathon on November 11th. I looked at the calendar and saw that it was 13 weeks away. I immediately googled three-month marathon training plans and hundreds of results came up. If I was going to go through the time and commitment to run a marathon, the original marathon route in Greece of all places was definitely my best option. I signed up right then.

The training plan that I selected was four days a week of running, two days cross-training or yoga and one off day. I selected this because many plans had five days of running and four seemed a bit more manageable and it also highlighted yoga on the plan. One of my best friend’s parents, Stacy and Matt Wagner, are previous marathon runners and stressed to me the importance of yoga to keep my body and limbs healthy so this seemed like a good plan for me.

The next 13 weeks of runs, detailed by the graph below, flew by and I grew to love crossing off the dates of the completed runs on the calendar in my room. My hope is that even one person can read this, feel inspired to create the best version of themselves and find their way to cross off their goals. Set your mind to it, create a plan, and extraordinary results can be achieved!

-Jake

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Jake SiegertComment