The Idea Of Running A Marathon Makes Me A Bit Throw-Uppy

So I’ve just booked my first official marathon.  What the what?

Everyone is probably aware that I love running, and as such, it should come as no surprise that running a marathon has been on my list of things to do for ages.  In fact, it is item #105 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Originally, running a marathon was something that I wanted to check off of my list of to-do by the time I had hit the ripe old age of 30.  Of course, now that I am pushing the ripe young age of 36 it becomes clear that goal was never achieved.   Sadly, I had to stop running for a while due to various physical issues, including some rather painful ITB syndrome, bursitis in both hips, and patella femoral syndrome.  Back in my earlier days of running, I didn’t seem to understand the importance of stretching or proper shoes. My body clearly paid the price.  Everything hurt, all of my muscles were excessively tight, and I was very much the un-bendiest person that likely ever existed.  One physiotherapist stated that she had never ever seen someone so non-flexible.  The pain and discomfort eventually hit a point where I was forced to put running on hold for several years while I recovered (and subsequently packed on the pounds).

Flash forward to about 2 years prior to finishing my Ph.D.  At this point I was seeing an Active Release Chiropractor (a most awesome Dr. Marco Lozej) and making steady improvements.  It was then that Almost Dr. Sean introduced me to his friend Patrick, a professional sports massage therapist.  The combination of chiropractic care and massage therapy was excellent.  My recovery accelerated and I was soon hopeful that I would be able to start running again.  To get myself active again, I started with simple biking and a lot of walking.  As that improved, the goal of running became ever more a reality.

Posing with a pineapple on the black cliffs below our house. Because it seemed like the thing to do.

Then, about 1.5 years ago I was introduced to Moksha yoga by my friend Lara.  With that introduction, the non-bendy issue has become a thing of the past.  Sort of.  I still require a lot of stretching on a daily basis, but my running has improved significantly.  I am stronger and faster than I used to be (but by no means a fast runner), and my breathing is much improved.  I’ve also added more biking into the mix, plus hill and interval training.  Overall, the result is a much faster, much leaner Dan.

Prior to running the 2010 Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon

I decided to test my running skills last October by running my first half marathon in several years.  My results were so much better than I had ever expected. The run was comfortable, I was never out of breath, I was able to enjoy the scenery as I ran, and I finished in 1h 50m.  Crazy fast compared to my previous runs.  At that point, the idea of running a full marathon seemed within reach.  So with that, I made the decision that I would run the marathon in 2011, even if it kills me.

Despite the change in physical fitness, I have to admit that the idea of running 42.2km scares the bejesus out of me.  Seriously.  It seems like a crazy endeavour, and yet one that I am compelled to complete.  And as Almost Dr. Sean said to me this morning,

Nothing worth doing isn’t scary.

And he is correct.  If it wasn’t a little bit scary, it wouldn’t be a challenge.

Anyway, I officially registered for the race today.  The marathon takes place on May 29 at 7:00am in Ottawa.  I am excited and nervous and maybe a little throw-uppy. Okay, a lot throw-uppy.  But I will do this.  Ultimately, this time around I want to just complete the run.  However, there is a small part of me (whereby small I mean large) that has a desire to finish the race in under 4h.  More specifically, I would love to complete this run in 3h 40m.  For those interested in coming out to cheer me on, that would be sweet1.  I provide for you a map of the run.  Gah, just looking at this map freaks me out a little.

So now the training continues (as I haven’t stopped running since my half marathon last October).  Yesterday I ran 21.7 km in my prep for the big day.  Between now and May 29th I need to train my body to withstand an additional 20.5 km in order to complete the 42.2 km (26.2 miles) of pavement pounding fun that is required for the marathon.  I’m guessing I’m going to have a lot of days where I feel throw-uppy. I’m so freaking excited 🙂

Wish me luck!


1 I was chatting with my friend Carolyn (also an avid runner) via the Twitter about race day motivation, and we found these awesome if not inappropriate race day signs. Clearly the inappropriateness of the signs only make them that much more awesome 🙂 Note: I would LOVE LOVE LOVE if someone were to come out and hold up signs like this for me.


For anyone else running the marathon, there is a deal with Porter Airlines to receive 20% off of flights to Ottawa. Check out the details here.

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17 Comments Add yours

  1. Carolyn says:

    You are going to SPANK the marathon.

    1. dangillis says:

      I am going to SPANK it. LOL.

      Excellent work on your run today.

    2. dangillis says:

      Actually, I think I want someone to post a sign along the route that reads “Dan – SPANK the marathon”. That will definitely make me chuckle. Or up-chuckle, as the case may be 🙂

      1. Beth says:

        On one of my half marathons, someone was holding up a sign that said “Nice legs.” I found it strangely motivating!

      2. Carolyn says:

        I’m not sure what the logistics are going to be like, but I’ll see if I can grab a decent hilarious-sign-holding spot along the route after the half. And if you aren’t throwing up or close to it by about the ~24 mile mark, I’ll be disappointed. =D

        1. dangillis says:

          Well, given that I yakked after my run yesterday (yes, I’m just that classy), I’m sure by mile 24 my insides will be more than happy to be on the outside.

          Is it weird that we put ourselves through this, and somehow take pride in making ourselves puke? Or is that just me?

          1. Carolyn says:

            Oh no, not just you. I kind of welcome the nausea. We must lack a moderation gene or something. I won’t feel like a real woman until I collapse at the finish line of something.

            1. Beth says:

              You two are making me feel very inferior. I do love the feeling that I was just run over by a train that comes at the end of a good race, but not nausea or vomiting. I hate vomiting long time!

  2. Beth says:

    “Nothing worth doing isn’t scary.” – I like that. Perhaps I like it even more than usual due to my impending 10 day long hockey game. But I think it’s just a good motto in general!

    I also like this story because it shows that when you set your mind to it and get the right help, you can do anything. You can go from being the most unbendy person in the history of persons to running a 1 hr 50 min half marathon! Did anyone ever tell you that you are made of Grade-A Awesome?

    1. dangillis says:

      Thanks! I may have heard something like that before 🙂

      I have to keep reminding myself when I do stuff like this that I have a bunch of people supporting me. Although I find that greater motivation is derived from thinking that the same group of people will mock me relentlessly should I not succeed. I know they wouldn’t, but it’s great motivation. LOL.

      I think your 10 day hockey game is insane but AWESOME. Clearly you are also made of 100% Grade-A Awesome.

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