Five years ago, I ran a marathon.
The first time I ever laced up my running shoes and ran a mile was just nine short months before this race. At the time, I thought it was the longest, hardest mile of my life. I never believed that I could run more than a mile, but I did. I ran 26.2 miles. As I made my final steps toward the finish line, screaming at my body to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I promised myself that I would never do it again.
Five years later, I did what I swore I would never do again...I ran another marathon.
I never thought I would do another marathon. Let's be honest, I only did the first marathon for bragging rights. I already had the rights to brag that, I did a marathon. And brag I've done. Ask anyone. They know because I've told them. Bragged about.
However, this marathon was different. I needed to do this marathon for me. It took me five years to forget about the pain of my first marathon. It took me five years to realize that I could do this again. It took some peer pressure, but in the end this challenge was mine. I needed to overcome my fears and conquer this challenge by myself and I did. I wasn't entirely alone. I did have friends training with me along the way. I had family and friends encouraging me. I had a husband loving me in spite of the many hours I spent logging miles instead of tv time with him. I had children that inspired me to push myself and work hard for them. I had many reasons why I run.
I told myself that I was going to do this race now because I was ready. I was better trained and I was actually prepared to run a marathon. I wanted this race to feel good. I wanted to feel better than I did during my first marathon, but I never believed that it would actually happen.
This weekend, in the early morning hours as I sat on a school bus riding the 26.2 miles up the canyon to the start of the St. George Marathon, I realized that this was actually happening and I knew that I could do this. I had three goals in mind as I started the race:
1. Don't get sick (a common problem during my long runs).
2. Finish the race.
3. Enjoy the journey.
I knew that goals one and two I could do. I was confident that I could manage through those goals, but number three would be difficult. How could I possibly enjoy running 26.2 miles? I never thought I could enjoy this race...especially the last few miles.
Never say never.
I didn't get sick, I finished the race and I enjoyed every second of the journey...I flourished the last few miles and sprinted past hundreds of people. This race was my best run to date. I absolutely LOVED it. I loved the energy. I loved the scenery. I loved my body. I loved running. I loved being by myself. I loved that I was doing it...AND...I not only did it, but I loved doing it.
I finished the race in 4:21:02, which was slower than I should have done. Honestly, I felt a little too good at the end of the race, but I didn't care because I was happy to slow myself down a bit and enjoy myself. I think I'll take this analogy and try to apply it to my life. I maybe didn't accomplish as much as I could have, but I definitely had more fun, which was something I never thought I could do!