“If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble.
If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal.
If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal.”
Rob de Castella, winner 1983 World Marathon Championships
Gosh, where to start?
Well, first- yes I did just post Yoda for inspiration. Trekkie-Star-Wars-geek? Guilty. But seriously, who doesn’t love Yoda?
Everyone says running a marathon will change your life… Something about getting a new found sense of being able to conquer anything. To be completely truthful- I don’t feel any different 26.2 miles later. At first, it was a bit of a let down. I thought it would be this amazing epiphany; but, I didn’t feel anything when I finished (other than enough pain in my legs to literally make me sob – in fact, I was so debilitated by that point, that the thought of needing to hobble to the bag check AND car seemed like a more difficult task than the marathon itself.)
Now I am not saying the marathon was not an AMAZING experience (in a hating every painful moment of it kind of way). However, I think the true benefit was not in the event itself, but rather in the training. Marathon training changed my life. It changed me so dramatically that I absolutely believed I could conquer anything before I ran the whole grueling distance. If I didn’t believe it to the core, I never would have made through the race on a good day, let alone a bad one. Marathon training gave me confidence. It was an outlet for many of my PSTD symptoms. It gave me something that was mine. It was an excuse to be selfish and generous at the same time. It gave me an opportunity to give something back. Marathon training helped me redefine my identity. I survived marathon training before surviving the marathon, and I will never be the same. 🙂
Finishing the marathon itself was just the icing on the cake. The weather was beautiful! The spectators and volunteers were awesome. The course had a few nice views, but, for the most part, was not my favorite. Adam and I held a solid 10 min pace for the first half, and then things started to get a little hairy. Somewhere between mile 14 and 15 I had my first breakdown. I had stopped at a water station and my left knee immediately seized up. I tried to start running again, but it wouldn’t cooperate. I was just over halfway and couldn’t fathom how I would make it the rest of the way when I couldn’t even walk. I sniffled and limped next to Adam for a short while before I finally forced my body to start jogging again. The swelling and pain in my knees was throwing off my gate, and it wasn’t to long before my hips started acting up too. We took short walking breaks every few miles for a while, but every time we stopped I would start unraveling emotionally due to pain and utter frustration. Adam would put his arm around me and assure me I was doing fine, but I was embarrassed to be struggling (and now crying) in front of him. He had not done any training and made it look effortless while I worked my butt off and struggled every second. I wanted to run harder (maybe I was a little delirious) and felt angry that my body wouldn’t cooperate. Every step from start to finish was painful. It was one of my worst runs in a long time; and I was beyond disappointed that, of all days, my epic-bad run day had to be this day. By mile 19 I decided I was through with walking breaks. It hurt more to walk than to jog, and it was way too much effort to get going again just to take a few moments rest. I jogged the rest of the way to the finish without stopping. The closer I got, the more determined I became. I was happy to find Adam again around mile 24 after having lost him for a stretch. We pushed to the finish line as fast as our beaten down bodies would carry us, and then I fell apart all over again. I was just overwhelmed- not only by the pain, but also the whole situation. It was a culmination of everything I had been through the past several months. It was finally over!
At the same time, I think I was still feeling a little disappointed in myself (despite running practically the entire course, managing 9 miles more than I ever had before, and raising money and awareness for a great cause.) It’s only now after the fact that the magnitude of this accomplishment is just starting to sink in. Perhaps once I recover from the shock of it all I might be able to enjoy the victory a little more. 😉 Once again, it’s just surreal. I know I was there, but I have a hard time believing I did it.
The amount of support I have received throughout this process has been phenomenal and well exceeded anything I could have imagined! I am so grateful to everyone who offered well wishes, congratulations, and donations. It has been such an amazing journey!
As always, comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated. You can also email me directly at email@example.com. Please feel free to share any info on this blog, just please give credit back to the site. Have a great night everyone!
- Believing and Becoming (runningthriver.wordpress.com)
- She Did What?! (runningthriver.wordpress.com)
- Pre-Marathon Jitters (runningthriver.wordpress.com)
- 100-year-old marathon runner aims for record (telegraph.co.uk)
Thank you, this was really inspirational. I found it kind of put things in perspective. I’ve always run to escape and work on my problems if need be, but they have never been anything like yours. You’re very strong and I admire that. Congratulations on your run, you looked great out there.
Thanks! I love running to decompress. I think tapering was the hardest part of training for me. Good luck with your running!
I am going to do my own recap and I can definitely relate to your disappointment feeling – so don’t worry!!! We have many more marathons to rock (if we want to) and the first one is effing hard!!!
I can’t wait to read it! I have already been toying with the idea of running another. I can’t believe it, but I think I really want to conquer the distance. lol
And just added your blog to my reader!
I agree- when I finished my first marathon, I didn’t feel that “omg ephiphany” like everyone said I would — I think its the process and devoting yourself to a grueling race that changes you (like you said!)
I am glad I’m not the only one!
BTW- I didn’t realize up til now that you were in med school. No wonder we’re on the same wave length. 😉 I can’t believe you did marathon training during your surgery rotation! lol Good luck with your residency. I’m sure you’ll do awesome. 🙂
Congratulations!!!!!! That is fantastic!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’m sorry you didn’t get the life changing epiphany, but you definitely may at some point. I think mine happened so quickly because of the other events that went on last week at work and stuff. I’m definitely with you on the surreal feeling though. It’s been exactly one week since mine, and I still can’t believe I really truly did it. Weird! 🙂 🙂 Congratulations and be proud of your amazing accomplishment!!!!
Thanks Noel!!!! And thanks so much for helping me believe I could do it!!!! You are a true inspiration!
Epiphany, shmiphany – YOU FINISHED A MARATHON, you are a changed person because of that alone! You don’t see it now, you will later. My one accomplishment in the past was to do a 5K, and despite having had to walk part of the way, I crossed the finish line in a decent time and I was PROUD OF ME. It’s not an end, it’s just the beginning. Only you can make this finish one to be proud of or one to be ashamed of – I’d rather hear the pride. You’re awesome!
Thanks! Congrats on your 5 K! That is HUGE!!!! Getting started is always the hardest part. Keep building momentum! You can do it!
The hardest part was the first step…Spot on! The time you set is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. You could think of your run as one bookend…where you place the other bookend is the hard part. Keep up the good work!
Running a marathon is an amazing experience simply because you *did* it and not many people have the courage to even attempt that distance! CONGRATS, girl! I also did my 1st marathon this past weekend and was, also, disappointed in my performance; however, as it was just my first, I know how I can improve the next time! Ready to go for another too??? 😉
Thanks! Congrats to you too!!! I am totally ready for another!!! lol
Great job!! I hope to run the NYC ING someday!! I’m hooked!