Friday, June 17, 2011

Marathon Training and Wedding Planning

I am not spending my summer training for a marathon. It's not the first time I've taken a summer off, but this is certainly a rarity for me. Instead I'm using the time to pursue some long shelved hobbies, oh and plan a wedding.

At first glance, weddings and marathons have little to do with each other. One is a 26.2 mile race and the other is a celebration that launches (hopefully) a lifetime together. You can train for and run many marathons over the course of a lifetime but you probably only want one wedding (unless you are Liz Taylor or Hugh Heffner).  But they do have some things in common. They both take a lot of time and preparation and they both can set you up for big expectations.

Marathon training is typically 18 weeks of following a running schedule and tacking on miles. In theory you eat right and make other sacrifices that conflict with summertime fun and an active social life. You buy a couple pairs of expensive running shoes and eat a lot of pasta. 

Weddings take an average of 1 year to plan. You usually have to book your venue this far in advance because everyone else has booked their wedding.  You hire a photographer, buy/rent expense clothing and eat a lot of pasta (Italian weddings only!).

Yes you can plan a wedding in a short amount of time or elope, and sure you could simply sign up for a marathon, do no training and show up on race day in your running shorts. Both of these options will give you a different experience than the traditional route.

When you've run as many marathons as I have, you expect a certain outcome. Yeah, it's an accomplishment just to finish, and that gets you through the first couple of marathons. But by the time you've racked up a dozen marathons or so, you have different expectations. You cannot help it. Simply finishing the race isn't enough, you want something to show for your weeks of blood, sweat and carbo loading. The race may not be a BQ* or even a new PR*, but you expect to have a decent enough run that you can be proud of.

Back to the wedding. The wedding is a just a day and the marriage is what's important. Future wife and I get that. That doesn't mean we don't want the day to be special for both us and our guests.

Weddings and marathons can be thwarted by events completely beyond your control. A hot day may blow your race day results.  A drunk photographer will impact the quality of the pictures from your special day. Being too drunk in either will not bode well at all.

In the end, you really cannot control everything for either the marathon or the wedding.  All you can do is plan for your day and hope for the best.

BQ: Boston Qaulifying Time.
PR: Personal Record i.e. best marathon time you have acheived.