This past weekend I ran a marathon. It still doesn’t actually seem believable when I say it out loud. 26.2 miles. It’s pretty wild.
Running a marathon wasn’t always something that was on my bucket list, but after realizing over the summer that the Des Moines half and full marathon fell on my dads birthday, I decided that running another half marathon would be a good way to spend the day, in honor of my dad. When I told my boyfriend that I had decided to run the half marathon and would spend the summer training for it, he was supportive and encouraging, and then jokingly said, ‘Well hey, not just run the full?’ It triggered something in me that I just couldn’t shake and although at first I laughed at his joke – all, ‘Ha – yea, no, yuck, NEVER!’ it kept lingering in my mind and I just couldn’t stop thinking ‘why not…why not why not why not?’ I came up with a million reasons why I couldn’t, shouldn’t, or didn’t want to run a marathon. (the time commitment! do i have to give up martinis? isn’t it bad for my knees?) None of my ‘excuses’ seemed to trump the unbelievable thought of completing this big crazy lofty goal. And after I couldn’t get the ‘why not?’ question out of my head for a few weeks, I took the scary plunge and officially signed up for the full 26.2.
There were definitely days I didn’t want to run, or couldn’t because something hurt, or skipped one because it was rainy, or the opportunity to do something more fun came up, or I simply didn’t feel like it. I ran in crazy hot weather and in pouring down rain, I ran in Central Park, Chicago, Yosemite National Park, Minneapolis, and all around Des Moines, I ran late at night and early in the morning, I cancelled date nights in favor of runs, I ran from a wild angry attacking bird! And in the midst of it all, I hurt my foot and ended up taking almost 4 weeks off running. But I recovered and kept strong through biking and yoga – and keeping that marathon finish line moment in my mind, I hit the pavement and followed my training plan as best as I could.
I woke up this past Sunday – marathon day – feeling anxious, excited, nervous, thinking about my dad, and somehow not at all but more than ever ready to run. I was lucky to have the very best, most amazing, awesome support group that showed up so many times along the course that I lost count – always with signs, yelling encouraging things, and cheering me on. It made all the difference in the world. While the last hour of the race was no doubt a brutal, painful, mind-game filled hour where I questioned everything and convinced myself that one more mile was not actually possible…the sight of that glorious finish line suddenly shut everything up and I hardly felt my feet touch the ground. To finish was indescribable.
Running a marathon is a big goal, one that each person makes for their own personal reasons. It’s already got me thinking what’s next – now that I’ve done what I never thought was possible, I need to think bigger! But for now, I’m going to spend this week basking in the runners high I still can’t shake, pour myself some extra bubbly, and enjoy some serious well deserved relaxation.