I completed my first marathon in Chicago in 2014, but I can still relive each moment perfectly when my mind wanders back to the race.
I started at the front of the second wave and paced myself with three men who were in really good shape. Rather than sticking to my original pacing plan, my adrenaline took control, and my first mile split was 7:10. So was the second…and third. I was crushing it.
Until mile 12.
And then it hit me. I remembered why it was so important to pace myself properly–to take it easy the first half and then allow my adrenaline to kick into gear.
I stopped to stretch at mile 15 and mile 20. At this point, I took gatorade and water from every station. When I stopped to grab my cup, each walking step sent pain through my legs. It felt so much better to jog than to walk (yes, at this point I was jogging at 9:00-9:30 pace).
Walking through the finish chute was probably the most painful part. I remember seeing people sitting on the ground, and all I wanted to do was give up. Each step hurt, and laying down forever felt like a perfect solution. To my good fortune, I had to meet up with my family and friends, so sitting on the ground was not an option.
It took three days after the race to be able to walk down the stairs somewhat normally, to get out of a seated position without the assistance of my arm strength, and to get out of bed without the reminder I had just ran 26.2 miles.
When people asked me if I would ever run one again, I felt conflicted. Yes, I wanted to run another. I wanted to give myself another chance to pace myself properly. I wanted to feel the adrenaline and again say I had completed this challenge. However, training for the race was a huge time commitment. Not to mention, the pain afterwards was a deterrent.
Yet, today, is my first day of training for my second marathon. My boyfriend decided that he wanted us to run one together, and this was enough motivation for me to find my old training plan and to commit all over again.
We are going to run a trail marathon, so my expectations for time are quite a bit lower. And this makes me excited. I won’t start at 7:10 pace, and I won’t put pressure on myself to PR. Instead, my only two goals are to finish and to have fun.
Today is the day my marathon training journey starts. This time I will have my best friend at my side. This time I will reshape my perspective and enjoy each moment.
Perhaps this journey will reshape my perspective on life as well. Isn’t it all about finishing what we need to and enjoying each moment in the process? Here is to fun, to thankfulness, to taking one step at a time.
I am excited to start this new journey, and I am excited to tell you about it along the way.