Wait, you're doing WHAT?!

TOP 5 REASONS TO RUN A MARATHON

When you decide to run a marathon and start telling people about it, chances are, you're going to get some looks... looks of disbelief, looks of confusion, and definitely some looks of "kid, do you need to see a shrink or something?" ... or at least those were some of the looks I first got.  

If you ignore all of these looks and decide run a marathon anyway, I can promise you that it will be one of the hardest things you do in your life BUT it is absolutely worth every ounce of sweat, pain, tear, and blister that you'll feel along the way. 

Instead of just using my promise to put those looks your friends and family will undoubtedly give you when you tell them you're running a marathon to rest, I've put together a little list of the things you should tell them - the reasons you should run a marathon.

1. Because you can. You, yeah I'm talking to you, YOU CAN run a marathon. I promise you, no matter who you are, no matter if you're out of shape or if you've never run a step in your life, YOU can run a marathon. Start your training early and pick a plan that works for you. Listen to your body if it is telling you to modify the plan. I promise, if you put in most of the miles, you'll be able to run 26.2. And don't worry about your time for your first marathon - just cross that finish line and take in the scenery. It will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, even if you are crawling at the end.

2. Because the pain is worth it. And yes, there will be pain. A lot of it. And I'm not just talking about during the actual race. Training definitely takes it's toll on your body as well. Your feet will ache and blister and you might even lose a toenail or two, you may have joint pain, and there will definitely be chafing in places you didn't realize it was possible to chafe (Ladies, sports bra burn is a thing - I suggest stocking up on body glide). But like I said, it's all worth it. I don't have any kids, but I imagine running a marathon is something like being pregnant and then giving birth. It's not pretty, it hurts like hell, but then it's over and it's worth it because you did this amazing thing. Running 26.2 miles is no small feat. And you feel pretty badass once you cross that finish line.

3. Because everyone is cheering for you. I think my favorite part of running a marathon is not only seeing my friends and family cheering me on throughout the race, but also seeing complete strangers cheering you on along the way. People I've never met holding signs and handing out snacks and water and even an adult beverage or two? There's nothing better. Plus, in both the marathons I've run, the creativity of strangers has just astounded me. You can't see a tall, gangly and pale man wearing nothing but a speedo, sunglasses, a cape and a Bob Ross style wig standing on a bridge and holding a clever sign and not have a little more pep in your step and a smile on your face after it... even at mile 22. The lines of children trying to high five each and every runner along the course always makes me tear up a little bit. All the support you get along the way only emphasizes the fact that you are doing something AMAZING. 

4. Because it will make you better. Physically and mentally. I read once that "You can't run a marathon and NOT have it change you" and I think that is definitely true. No matter what training plan you choose, your body will change for the better. No matter what level you are starting at, I promise you once training is over you will be stronger, faster, and just feel better. And mentally it's no different. Running is a big mental game. Your mind gives up way before your body but training and running mile after mile trains your mind to know that it can do this. Plus, like I said, being able to say "Yeah, I ran a marathon" gives you a lot of self confidence and makes you feel pretty badass.

5.  Because there's a lot of eating involved. This is probably my favorite part about training. I'm sure I'll write about this sooner or later in this blog, but I used to be a fat kid. I'm not talking I needed to lose some of my baby weight fat kid, I mean like I was seriously overweight - a good 60 lbs heavier than I am today... as a 10 year old. So, yes, it's safe to say I love to eat. But when I started running, and definitely when you train for a marathon, you begin to learn that yes, eating is awesome, but it is also so important to fuel your body. I'm not saying you get to just go crazy when you start training and eat donuts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I know... that's the dream) BUT you are going to be hungrier than normal. You'll learn what to eat before a race or a long run and yes, you should definitely treat yourself after your long run day but keep in mind that your food is your fuel and to eat A LOT but make sure it is A LOT of good foods that will fuel your body. Stay tuned for some recipes and foodie reviews. :)

There are probably about 1,000 other reasons to run a marathon but use these ones to start. And embrace the fact that this is going to be one of the craziest, most awesome, most fulfilling thing you'll do in your life.

Leah Backo