#4.-The Maiden-Madison Marathon 2016
The Maiden archetype is at the threshold. We sometimes stay at the cusp for decades or even a lifetime. I go into each marathon with a youthful, even naive approach. Even when I know the race itself will be a transformation. You begin with the youthful energy of the Maiden. I am curious, drawn to the challenge. I go down the rabbit hole of the task that awaits, clipping off mile after mile. Being willing to go into the “pain cave” while knowing the satisfaction of the finish line awaits.
My "shadow" side of the Maiden archetype fantasizes that I still have the body of my youth. Many runners tend to have body dysphoria and body image issues related to the Maiden. They try everything to keep that youthful appearance. Resolving the tension between caring for oneself and not demanding that you appear a certain way physically is part of reconciling this archetype. I love seeing that so many marathoners are older and every size and shape of body. A “runner’s body” is simply one that runs, not some unattainable ideal of youth.
That same fall I did my first “back to back” marathons. I figured if I was in shape for Twin Cities, why not add on a marathon during our family trip to Wisconsin Dells? I drove separately and after a two-day affair in the waterparks, I drove to Madison, Wisconsin to do a marathon the next day and then drive home. The timing seemed perfect. This would be my second out of town race. I felt like I knew “the ropes” a little now for out of town races after Med City in the spring. I had booked a hotel and went downtown to the expo. I had a little back and forth in my head about if I should do the full or the half distance. I had been up and down stairs at waterparks for two days, so my legs were not exactly feeling fresh and the Twin Cities Marathon was just a month earlier. I knew that if I wanted to start doing races closer together, I would need to get used to not always being tapered and rested.
I had looked up reviews online and heard that it was a very challenging hilly course in Madison. Being completely unfamiliar with the city and the course I was a bit anxious, but mostly excited. I was up at 4:30 am alone in a city I didn’t know, going to the start line for a 7 am start with a stiff cold wind. What was I getting myself into? I planned to keep an open mind and an easy pace to see what the day had to offer. Every step was new to me, I had no idea what to expect. We started in the city, then went into the Arboretum area, then into the University of Wisconsin campus and back into the city before heading north. There were views of Lake Mendota and Lake Monona periodically and quite a few significant hills throughout. I took the first 20 miles pretty easy, not losing too much steam on the hills. I really tried to pick up the pace the last 10k. I ended up with a huge negative split. My second half was over 6 minutes faster than my first half. Not easy for a marathon!
I loved the vibe of running in a college town with the community coming together to support the runners. I was definitely hooked on running marathons. It wasn’t just the training and getting ready for the races, it was the cities themselves that I was falling in love with. There is no better way to get to know a city than to run 26.2 miles through its streets. People coming out of their houses, the kids putting out their hands for high five’s, there’s nothing better. I still had utmost respect for the distance, but I was getting a little more “comfortable” with it. There are the highs and lows and everything in between that happens during those miles. I was becoming friendly with the marathon; we were a team. It was beginning to show me what I am truly made of. It doesn’t show in the traditional ways we see “success” in this culture, but it definitely shows you what you are made of, no matter your age or how you look.