Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Post Marathon Post: Part II...8 months later

This post was originally titled "The Post Marathon Post: Part II...7 months later." That changed this morning. I left my blog in the starting gate. Not sure if that's irony or not. It's been a hard 8 months.

I started training for this marathon a year and a half ago. I remember a conversation with my good friend during the course of our training (she was in the process of training for her first full Ironman) and she had this quote that she shared with me "Remember why you started." I held that quote close to my heart because it reminded me of her and our friendship as I pushed through the long Saturday runs of training. And I thought of this as I pushed through the grueling 5 hours and 58 minutes that I ran my marathon.

Sitting here, eight months removed from my marathon, I look back on why I started and what that race means to mean. I started because I wanted to lose weight. I started because I was trying to regain my life in a job that left me feeling overworked and needing mental time for myself. I started because I wanted to prove that my life was full and meaningful even without a husband or children. I started because I didn't think I could do it. Even as I gathered my things up the morning of my marathon to get on the bus to the start line, I doubted myself. I doubted that I could do it. There has to be a small amount of crazy in someone that wants to willingly run 26.2 miles in a certain amount of time. Was I crazy?

The marathon experience is hard to explain to someone unless they've actually done it. It's not actually 26.2 miles, at least it wasn't to me. To me it was a series of 1 miles increments. And when a mile seemed too impossible at the end, it was running from tree to tree. And cheering section to cheering section. And then it became just putting one foot in front of another. And when I didn't think I had anything left, there was my friend who literally ran with me to the end.

Three weeks later, I had knee surgery on my meniscus. I had injured it in August, but with an amazing group of physical therapists and appointments three times a week, I made it through the marathon. I'm not sure they really know how much they did for me. They weren't just there healing my body, they genuinely cared about me as a person. They were genuinely excited for me when I came back and had finished my marathon. They encouraged and pushed and supported in ways I didn't even know I was missing, until there they were.

Training for and running my marathon was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. The reasons I run are endless. The things I've gained are endless. The questions I still have are endless. I'm by no means a marathon expert, but what I would tell people is to find their own marathon. Find the thing that you're not really sure if you can do, and do it. If nothing else, try. Maybe you'll fail. But what if you succeed?