True Life: My Marathon Training Started Without Me

Since its first episode in 1998, True Life has provided a window into the struggles, hopes, and dreams of young people. Narrated solely by its characters, each episode documents the unusual–and often remarkable–circumstances of real individuals.— True Life summary

This is MY story.

It was a normal January morning like any other. Long to-do list at hand, I set out to conquer one of the most important: Finalize Marathon Training Plan. I knew my training was meant to start the following Monday, and I wanted to be well-organized with my workouts this week before I kicked into high gear. I made the table in Word and as I entered the weeks, I realized: I had been counting the weeks wrong this entire time. Instead of my training starting the next Monday (five days from now), it had ALREADY STARTED, two days ago.

My marathon training started without me!

I felt like a huge idiot. Luckily, I’d run nine miles over the weekend (four in a duathlon and five the day after) and three on Monday, so I was actually fine. But instead of feeling on top of things, I felt blindsides. Most people know their training is starting BEFORE IT HAPPENS. Idiot.

Whatever. I was determined to make up for lost time. Six miles today? No problem! Seriously, not a big deal at all. I’ve run six miles hundreds of times. (Okay, maybe not.) But it’s my FIRST MARATHON TRAINING RUN! I’M PUMPED! WATCH ME FLY!!!!

I had visions of this…


But that was not the Reality.

What really happened was something far more disturbing.

First, I was freezing. Absolutely freezing. Leaving African summer for American winter, and being a naturally cold person anyway, I was caught trying to leave the house in this.

(And that’s not a shoutout at the Muslim half of my family—rather, it’s the best way to drape several blankets around you at once.)

I finally made it outside and man I was not looking so good. I was COLD. Tragically, unspeakably cold. Please ignore the shining California sunshine and get wrapped up in my drama. Thanks.

I warmed up with the agility of a ballerina.

And I set off like a cheetah (see above).

Actually it was more like this.

There were times when I felt weak.

There were times when I wanted to just give up.

But I reached down to the core of my very being and…


I felt overwhelmed with ecstasy at my once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment.

Yes, my marathon training DID start without me. But I caught right up to it. And kicked it in the bootay.

The end.


I wrote this as a joke (obvi) but wanted to bring up the marathon training—I’m on week 3 and it’s going really well. I’m SLOOOOOOOOW (the turtle joke is not at all far from reality) but steady and so far my knees and joints are holding up fine (*fingers crossed*). But I recognize I am in the super-easy part (comparably) and trying just to have fun, even when I’m freezing. (I do look like that when I get outside. Even yesterday. When it was 65 degrees out.) I’ve ran a bit over 60 miles so far and have like 390 or some other really depressing number to go!

While I definitely have my anxieties about the marathon (I’m registered for Big Sur on May 1st) I’m trying to concentrate on the training being a journey in and of itself and remembering what I always say: I run because I can.

You won’t see me posting workout details or mile splits on here—I’m kind of a snail and I don’t think most of you really care—but I did run my fastest 5 miles ever yesterday. In 49 minutes. This is a big accomplishment. I’m not focusing on speed, I just want to have fun and get stronger. And for now, that’s what it’s going to be about.

If you could be on a reality show, which would it be? Or, any training advice for me? : )


  • Comments

    1. AHAHAAHAH best post title ever!! any reality tv show?… REAL WORLD!! party all night and meet new people- YES

    2. Hahahaa… you crack me up!

      But in all seriousness, sometimes I don’t realize how close a race actually is. As in, I made a training plan for this current race I’m working towards and went “oh crap, that starts in less than 2 weeks???”

    3. Glad to hear marathon training is going well! It will get tougher as you go – but that’s why it’s a progression! Congrats on your fast 5 miles! :)

    4. omg this post sooo funny!!!! I am just like you and I run super slow. Slow and steady is what my body is made for (super short legs, super long torso, very weird combo). If I were to be on a reality show I’d pick The Real World/Road Rules challenges. I want to win $!!!

      • I’ve got the super short legs/long torso combo too! It makes me a slow runner, and it also means that my belly is always peeking out of my inevitably-too-short tank top during Zumba. I think that part annoys me even more. :)

    5. Great post! Congrats on your training. I am training for a 10K and I am also like a turtle. I am really TRYING not to compare my speed (or lack there of) to other people. Just doing the race will be an accomplishment. That’s the advice that I would give. Also, try to incorporate some strength training. That will help prevent injuries.

    6. hahaha great post! you crack me up! I especially love the photos of you struggling during your run! : )

    7. yay training. but boo cold! i’m currently wrapped up in blankets too. brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    8. Hahha, I think if you maintain this level of enthusiasm for the rest of your training plan, you will be in great shape! Who care if you were a little late on the uptake? Better late than never!! Look forward to hearing about your progress.

    9. You are too funny! :) I really enjoyed this post. You go, girl! :)

    10. I love this post! all those pics are hilarious! :) 5 miles in 49 is soo good!

    11. Your blog is so cute! I wish I had training advice for you but you are light years ahead of me. Still, it’s so nice to “meet” you! :) If I could be on a reality show, hands down it would be Real World/Road Rules Challenge. I’ve been watching that show for years, and the challenges look so amazing!!!

    12. Go Courtney Go! My marathon advice is just to take it as easy as you humanly can on your long runs (within reason, of course….no naps on the long run now! haha). I really think that that’s why I avoided injury during training, and I also think it helped me to recover quickly from the race as well. Just so you know, I’m a turtle too. Probably even more turtle-like than you (lol), and I just had fun with the training. I rocked out with a sweet itunes playlist on every long run and really just enjoyed the scenery. It was all very zen. Don’t worry about time, and just do your runner thang! Bask in your turtle awesomeness!

      If I coud be on a reality show, it would be The Amazing Race because then I would get to travel the world on someone else’s dime. Doesn’t get much better than that…

    13. This is HILARIOUS!!!! Get it, girl :) I hope it continues being super successful for you… despite the cold CA weather!

    14. Girl you’re so awesome! I often look the same way before I leave for my runs :) But for me I futz around trying to motivate myself, and when I finally get going it’s I’m off! You have a great positive attitude, I’m trying to have the same because I’m running my first half-marathon in the beginning of March! I am so jealous of your sunny runs – it’s always raining/snowing/freezing here!

    15. These are such great pics of you on your run! I definitely feel the same way in this cold weather:)

    16. Love this post – so creative!!! The weather here blows – so ridiculously cold! But I’ll take that over running in the heat any day. :)

      • “Your cryptic words ituirgne me. Could you kindly elaborate?”Dondu,I disagree with the most of the views you expressed in your blog but you command respect for your fight against the vulguar words relentlessly.But I was disturbed when read those words in your blog. Anyway, It is all up to individuals. Let this thread discuss its intended message. I just wanted to point out that AIDS patients need not be isolated from the society. That kind of thinking should not be encouraged. I am happy that you understood the point. Thanks.*cheers*Nambi

    17. Haha this was so cute! And funny! You had me on the edge of my seat (will she make it?!) and crying tears of pride when you pushed through and conquered the run. Okay, maybe not really but I was smiling the whole way through (and the pictures are perfect!)

      True story — once my marathon training DID start without me. I mean, I knew I was going to train for a shorter period of time than usual, but I ended up counting wrong and thought I was supposed to officially start a week later than I actually did. Oops!

      And 2 things — one, I can’t believe you ran in all that gear in 65 degrees! haha I’m in freezing New England, and 65 sounds like heaven at the moment. Two — I’ve heard that Big Sur is amazingly beautiful. :) Good luck with the training!!

    18. I am loving all the pictures for this post. And cold is cold. Plain and simple. I would be a wuss right along with you.

    19. Congrats on making it through the run! I’m still a total wimp when it comes to running in the cold. I live in FL so I rarely run when it’s under 50…i know i know i should stop complaining.

    20. Haha this is great – love the dramatic pictures :) You will kick marathon training’s butt!!!

    21. HAHA I was laughing throughout your entire post :)
      I have never ran a marathon so I have no tips for you but I know you can do it!

    22. this is the best post in the world! seriously so funny. please post it again tomorrow so I can enjoy again :)

    23. Your running gear is oober cute! …so is your blanket outfit :) haha. Good luck with the marathon training, still can’t run outside here…WAY too icy.

    24. 1. I imagine myself as a Cheetah when I run, too.
      2. I’m bundled in blankets right now.
      3. The turtle wins the race in that story. Go for it :)

    25. I’m always reminded that it’s ok to run slow…everyone is built differently, and running to enjoy running is definitely worth it. I tend to compare a lot and get frustrated, but at the end of the day, I’m just competing against myself. :)

    26. what a fun post -congrats on getting out there!

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