Why: Marathon

In writing the title of this blog, I couldn’t decide how to order the words “I” and “am.” That is, I couldn’t decide whether to declaratively title this blog “Why I Am Running a Marathon” or, more accurately to my current situation, as a question: “Why Am I Running a Marathon?!”

Because I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. Between the 6-am before-class wake-ups, the running on roads rather than trails, and the newly growing pain in my left hamstring, I keep asking myself why in the world I decided I wanted to run a road marathon.

Long ones. (@JessieDigginsPhotography)

Unlike many people, for me, running a marathon has never been a goal. Honestly, it just looked really hard. From the pavement pounding, to the crowd shuffling, to whatever terrors happen to everyone at mile 20, the whole thing was something I intended to opt out of for life.

Respect to those who pursue it, I thought, but it’s just not for me.


Then, at literally the first chance I got to run a marathon, I volunteered. With vigor.

Without hesitation, I signed up for 26.2 miles of pavement pounding, crowd shuffling, and all that happens from the start to finish (including mile 20). I didn’t make that decision so much because of what I was being asked to do, but rather who was doing the asking (I’ll give you a hint, the organization changed my life).

I was raised an athlete. From my first days on this planet, I had the privilege of participating in sport at every level. I’ve shifted from a recreational to professional athlete and back again, stopping at every step in between. I have played soccer, run track, tried my hand at swimming and golf, before ultimately deciding to pursue cross-country skiing at the elite level. All my life, I had dreams of being a professional athlete.

Unfortunately, for many American girls, that’s never going to be an option.

A mixture of culture, tradition, and socioeconomic status keeps girls from getting involved in, or staying in, sport. That means that they are not only missing out on the chance to live active, healthy lives, but also the opportunity to access education, social, and career opportunities. Luckily, a handful of people are working to change that.

When those people, The Women’s Sports Foundation, asked if I would like to represent them in the TCS New York City Marathon, I responded with an obvious, and immediate, YES.

You may not know it, but if you are, or know, a woman in sport, you’ve been affected by WSF’s work.

I, along with three other athletes, will be running this November. I’m sure the experiences and training will be heavily blog worthy, so I’ll be sure to update here as inspiration comes. (Help a sista out and get involved: CHECK IT OUT!)

One of those other athletes is Rachel Dawson, a field hockey player who I had the pleasure of meeting through WSF last fall. Here’s a little intro video we put together on our marathoning.

(Note to viewers: Try not to be too overwhelmed by our incredible videography abilities and miss all the words we share.)

You can plan on me posting tales of long runs, slow mornings, and (hopefully) fast strides here. If you want that extra kick of entertainment, follow Rachel and me on Instagram for extra challenges and sass.

I’m a couple dozen miles into the training process, and things are going pretty well so far. I’ll keep you updated on my progress, but, for now, I’ll be stretching my hamstring.

Happy trails,


5 thoughts on “Why: Marathon

  1. You go girls.

    Annie, I have run 1 full marathon. Not that I ever intended to either. But it was who asked me. My best girlfriend from 10 years old. An insulin dependent diabetic. Lorraine and her 3 sisters, along with her 2 childhood friends. Myself and a gal named Katie. On a side note, Katie and I happened to share the same birthday.

    Each one of us not only had to train but raise $4000 for the American Diabetis Association. We trained for 9 months. It was grueling. I was 42, had young kids at home, woke at ungodly hours to do my long runs, planning food, rotating shoes, clothing challenges for various conditions plus trying to deal with home responsibility, I was absolutely exhausted.

    The marathon was in Dublin, Ireland. I can only say that the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line, was like giving birth. All the food issues, clothing issues, lack of sleep, and managing daily life, was well worth the prize at the end. Total JOY. I had done it. You will feel the same, I am sure.

    I never did another one, but have done many many halfs. Enjoy the journey.

    Love ya, Doni

  2. I think you’ll like it! I ran my first marathon last year (in record heat) and it really wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Also, I may be running the NYC marathon this year as well, so I might see ya out there! Good luck training and enjoy! 🙂

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