Road to 26.2

Copy Editor Courtney Kueppers logs her triumphs and tribulations of marathon training in this bi-monthly running column

Story by Courtney Kueppers, Copy Editor

For this runner there are very few things more frustrating than someone else telling me I can’t run, and lately Mother Nature has been that someone.

She seems to be doing everything in her power to keep Wisconsin runners off the roads this season. Though I rarely let her win, she was triumphant in keeping training partner Johnny and I inside when her most recent snowstorm hit. While the flakes weren’t enough to close the university for a full day, it did put our plans for a 14-mile trek on hold.

When I don’t get a run due to my own lack of ambition is something I can deal with but when an external factor like snow keeps me off the roads I get anxious. Determined to get some kind of run in, Johnny and I headed to the indoor track.

It didn’t take much more than one 200-meter lap around the blue track in the stuffy Ade Olson Addition to McPhee Physical Education Center for me to remember why I don’t run track and how much admiration I have for those who do. A round and a round and a round: I get dizzy just thinking of it.

Those who have the determination and dedication to run track, especially indoors, have my utmost respect, but the inside run left me longing for the streets I normally curse for being too icy.

Refusing to let Mother Nature win, Johnny and I fought back last Sunday with a 15-mile run. We met up early in the morning to tackle the challenge: two miles further than our last distance run, and the furthest either of us had ever run at one time.

My weather channel app read 29 degrees  below zero with wind chill before we left, so it seemed like the perfect time to break out the hand warmers my mom sent back to school with me. I was thankful I did.

As we headed down Water Street toward Carson Park to begin the first leg of the journey I became kind of freaked out by myself. Who was I? Had I really become someone who willingly gets up in the morning and runs 15 miles when it feels like 29 degrees below zero out?

Just a year ago I would have laughed at the thought and yet there I was. Heading toward the North Crossing, wrapping around in front of Banbury Place and finishing down Clairemont Avenue.

The weirdest part was I enjoyed every step, even with sidewalks that resembled snow banks, ice and slush. I knew that with every corner Johnny and I rounded in sync we were a step closer to finishing a run that was vital to our training. Even when my legs were begging to stop somewhere around mile 13, I knew I could keep going.

We paused the progress only twice to quickly swallow down the GU Energy Gel’s with a swig of Powerade Johnny lugs along on a fuel belt. As my watch beeped with each passing mile I was proud of our training thus far.

Even though we have 11 more miles and two more months of training before we can call ourselves marathoners I have gained a new sense of confidence that we can and will do it.