I have a home in an asylum. Well, two homes really. Am I crazy? You decide: I am a Double Agent, a member of both the Marathon Maniacs and the Half Fanatics. Our club is called The Asylum because you really do need to be a little crazy to belong. But why wouldn't I want to join The Asylum? It's become a community of runners to me. I meet new members at different races, make friends, share couches when traveling to races, and keep in touch between races through Facebook.
What's this all about, you ask? These clubs are comprised of thousands of members who have run, and most likely continue to run, multiple races in short periods of time. Marathon Maniacs is for people who run full marathons (26.2 miles), and the Half Fanatics are characterized by running half marathons (13.1 miles). I am Maniac #4436 and currently only at the Bronze or one star level. I earned that rank by running 2 marathons in a 16 day period. I did this back in 2006 and didn't even know about the club until 2011. Of course, I joined right away.
|My Marathon Maniacs singlet - welcome to The Asylum, Maniac #4436|
|With other Maniacs at the 2012 George Washington Birthday Marathon|
It took me a little longer to qualify for the Half Fanatics because I ran 4 full marathons before I ever ran a half. I had some catching up to do. But I qualified this February at the Last Chance for Boston Half in Dublin, Ohio. So now I'm Fanatic #1955.
|February 26, 2012 - Last Chance for Boston Half - my Half Fanatics qualifying race|
|With fellow Fanatics before the 2012 Gasparilla Half in Tampa (photo credit to Paul Riccardi)|
Very quickly I moved up from one moon (Earth) level to three moons (Saturn) level. And within the next several weeks I might modify my race schedule so that I can move up to five moons (Mars). I'll do that by running 4 half marathons in a 9 day period. That means two consecutive weekends of double half marathons (one on Saturday, one on Sunday…then one on the next Saturday, and one on Sunday). That's crazy, right? That is why it's called The Asylum.
But I'm not the craziest one in it! There are 100 marathoners who have qualified as Maniacs at the ten star (Titanium) level. There are a couple ways to earn that rank; one way is to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Wow! Mere mortals don't get this obsession. (I'm not sure I do either, but I've gotten myself so wrapped up in it this year, that I may as well keep going.) People tell me this is too much, that it's necessary to have longer breaks in between endurance races. They say I'll wear myself out or become injured (too late…I've already managed to keep going through a stress fracture). And all of the advice of well-meaning people has been said before to me, and to many a Maniac or a Fanatic. But somehow we keep going.
My goal for 2012 was to complete 6 marathons and 6 half marathons in 6 months (January-June). That will get me to two star (Silver) level in the Maniacs. I am more than halfway there, and I added extra half marathons to that schedule. And I've also scheduled several races for after June (you can view my race schedule at the top of this blog). Why?
Is it the notoriety? Is it the medals? Is it the sense of accomplishment? Maybe it's a little of each. But mainly it's that setting race goals keeps me running, and running is the only cardio that I actually enjoy. I have nothing to prove to anyone except to myself…and I want to prove to myself that I can do something this incredible. Status in The Asylum is not dependent upon pace or speed; all that matters is finishing the races. This means that runners of all abilities can participate in this amazing community. I'm proud to call myself one of them!