“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”-Emil Zatopek
Last Sunday, I ran a marathon. It has taken me the last week to sit down and write out the experiences from the day. I’m not sure that what is written here will truly reflect what happened during that 26.2 mile trek last week, but I’ll give it a shot.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that this time last year, I would have laughed at anyone who told me I would run a marathon. I honestly would have chuckled if someone mentioned running more than 3 miles in a day.
So to say this day was a huge accomplishment for me is putting it lightly. It’s by far my greatest achievement so far.
The week leading up to the marathon, I was a nervous basket case. Well, I’m always a little bit nutty because of school, but the marathon enhanced those feelings within me. I woke up every morning before my alarm to my heart beat racing with anticipation and fear. I had started to doubt whether I could finish the race if my knee started to hurt. I also wondered if I was truly trained for the big day.
Once race day came, most of my nerves had turned into excitement. I couldn’t stop picturing myself crossing the finish line with one of my best friend’s, Becky. I just knew it was going to be a great day.
When I got downtown, I was overwhelmed by how many people were there. I found my friend Becky and lost her again right before we took off, which made me nervous because we had planned to run together. Luckily, she found me about 1/2 a mile into the race and we started our very long journey.
To be quite honest, I can’t remember every step of that race. Honestly, I think the only way I finished it was by shutting off my brain because if I hadn’t, my mind would have convinced my body to stop.
I do remember that the first 14 miles felt really great. I was surprised at how strong I felt considering my knee had given me so much trouble during training. Again, I realize now why so many people say pain is a mental state. Had I allowed myself to actively think about what I was doing, I’m sure I would have felt more pain.
The last few miles, we were joined by Becky’s bootcamp coach and her mom. They ran the rest of the rest of the way with us. Without them, those last miles would have been even harder, but they kept pushing us and encouraging our ability.
As we ran down 9th street and forged ahead to the finish, we were met by our wonderful team, waiting for us on the corner. The emotion I felt as we saw their smiling faces was indescribable. I found myself crying for everything my friends and I had just accomplished.
Running a marathon is not something I ever thought I would do. When I got interested in the idea of running a couple of years ago, I had pretty superficial reasons motivating me, which is why I never stuck with it.
The second I realized that running took more than superficial motivations, I started to really push through and work hard.
What happened during those 26.2 miles, although something I can’t entirely remember, changed me.
I can’t wait to run another one!