Last weekend my husband and I ran our first marathon, the St George Marathon to be exact. It was perfect weather with great scenery, the best company and I loved it from start to finish. It was so exciting to finally be running a marathon.
When people found out that I was training for the marathon I would consistently get one of three reactions: a) “There is no way that I could ever do that.”, b) “Wow, you’re crazy.” or c) “Wow, you are awesome.” Reaction a) is false. I saw a physician that I know, running the marathon, who had polio as a child, and it wasn’t his first time running it either. I saw people who had 4-5 decades on me running it and I saw people who were significantly heavier than me running it.
People from both of these categories were running a lot faster than me too. If they can do this thing and I can do this thing, I think that anyone who decides that they want it and really tries can do it. Once upon a time, before kids, before nursing school, before I was an adult and had excess free time, I was a runner. That was a long time ago. This time around when I started it was a lot harder. I remember the first time after having my last baby that I set out to run a mile. It was hard and painful and discouraging. And it was hard and painful for the first four to five months. But gradually over the past nine months I conditioned myself so that running a marathon was not a suicidal act. It was still hard and my time was nothing to brag about, but I did it and I enjoyed it.
I’ve heard many people say that marathoners are crazy. ‘Why would you want to inflict that much pain on yourself?’ First of all, if I am crazy it’s not because I run. I feel like exercise brings a little sanity to my life. Running gives me time to clear my head and have some time with my own thoughts. It has introduced me to new friends who give me encouragement along the way. Running makes me feel strong. Second, running a marathon was not as painful as I expected. I have worked many a 12 (or 18) hour shift that were far more painful than running a marathon. Not to mention all the pain associated with pregnancy and child birth. Running a marathon is way easier than motherhood. If you are tough enough to be a mom, you’re probably tough enough to run a marathon. And third, maybe I am just a little crazy, but really, who isn’t?
And lastly, maybe I am awesome, but if I am it’s not because I run marathons. If running a marathon makes a person awesome I believe that label is better deserved by those who have to work so much harder to reach the finish line. If I am awesome, it’s because of the other things that I do. I am a mom and I work hard for my kids; that’s what makes me awesome.
Running a marathon has been on my bucket list for the past fifteen years or so and I used to think that it would be a one time event, but now that I’m done I really want to do one again. There was something so exhilarating about putting on my running socks and shoes and finally doing this thing.
I had been having nightmares for the past few weeks that it was time to start the marathon and I couldn’t find my shoes. There’s so much excitement and energy at the starting line, it fills you with endorphins and makes you feel like you can take on the world. When I got to mile 19 and I still felt excited and happy, it was a great feeling. ‘Here I am, going farther than I have ever gone before and I can keep going’. And I kept that feeling for the rest of the race. It made me feel that I am powerful, that I can do hard things and if I decide to, I may just surprise myself with the things that I can accomplish.