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RADJournals: Christy Marchel started running to lose weight and now races all the time for fun

I started running as a way to lose weight, and I discovered that I loved it. It can be a solitary sport or a group sport. You don’t have to depend on someone else to show up like if you played tennis. I’ve never been fast, but I have certainly been persistent. I started out with 5Ks and used to hope I placed in my age group. Then I moved up to half marathons and finally to full marathons. To me it was a challenge, I needed to see how much I could push myself and what I could accomplish. I have run 76 half marathons and 10 full marathons to date, and I generally approach each race with the thought of doing better than the last one. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. We all have off days and when those happen, you just do what you can.

I made a decision that for my next goal I wanted to earn a Six Star medal doing all the Wold Marathon Majors. I ran the London and Berlin Marathons back to back last fall. That was hard. They did not go as I had hoped. I had a really bad cramp in my hamstring from mile 18 on in Berlin, then got the biggest blister underneath a toenail that I had to baby for a week before London. I loved London. Absolutely the best time I have had despite being tired and sore from Berlin. I think I had chills when we ran over the Tower Bridge. The sights you go past are so historic and amazing. The people there were the best cheerleaders and spectators. Every race I run, I learn a little bit of what to do or not to do. For London, I came out too fast. I felt awesome, I had the best 10K time ever, and then I crashed at the halfway point. I was trying to do better than I did in Berlin, where I slowed because of my hamstring. I finished and my times were 6 seconds different between the two races. But I earned two stars on my journey.

For me, and probably a lot of other people, races are 50% physical and 50% mental. I have many conversations with myself during a race where doubts creep in and I overcome them telling myself that I can do it. It’s very easy to think about quitting, but I don’t let myself. I always keep the thought in my head that there is only one way to reach the finish line and that is to keep moving forward.

The Flying Pig last weekend was challenging; but in that difficult course, I had the best time. I loved the crowd, I loved the course, and I loved the fun day I had. I certainly did not PR on that course. I participated in the 3-Way Challenge racing a 5k and 10k on the Saturday and then a half marathon on Sunday.  I felt great on Saturday and not so great on Sunday. But I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying it.

I would love to be faster; I was at one time, much faster until I injured my Achilles. And I do compare myself to faster runners and look at them with a little bit of jealousy. And sometimes I feel like I’m not a "real runner" because I’m not fast, but in truth, I dismiss those thoughts because I know I am a runner. I put in the miles, and I do it with my heart. I do hard things. I feel awesome about myself when I am done. And I do them again. Now, I know that I could do all of these things on my own, but races, that’s where you share your feeling of accomplishment and the people around you are doing the same.

Runners are the most encouraging people in the world. And I’ll be your cheerleader.

Next up, New York City Marathon Fall 2022!

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