I did it!
I finished a full marathon. I ran for over 26.2 miles (tangents were not on the list of priorities for various reasons). Over six months of thinking about this marathon, over four months of training for this marathon, and in what felt like the blink of an eye (after the fact, of course) the race was over.
I had a lot of mini-goals lined up, some public knowledge and some in my head. Just finishing was the overall goal, but knowing I wouldn’t give up even if I were crawling, I couldn’t let that be THE goal. I mentioned the hope of going sub 4. Then I wanted to finish without walking.
Truthfully I had two goals that would have made ANY outcome a happy one for me.
- I wanted to finish with the desire to run another marathon in the future, which meant I wanted to enjoy the process and the race.
- I wanted to start healthy and finish healthy. This is a goal I haven’t had much success with for the past two years and was the most important.
I was successful.
I didn’t meet all my minor goals, but I’m happy to report I’m not injured. I’m a little sore, a little stiff, and I’m missing the toenail that never stays anyways, but I’m not injured! What? There’s no foot pain, not even in the slightest like I dealt with in my final month. My hip flexors and glutes are sore, but not injury painful. The tendinitis that brought me to my demise two years ago didn’t flare up before, during, or after the run. I’m not injured!
My time wasn’t perfect. I threw up at the finish. I let my mind get the best of me and make excuses towards the end. I gave into the mind games my brain played. I walked a handful of times.
But there were far more positives than negatives.
I took small goals in the dark miles and turned them into big victories in my head. I followed my fueling consistently and never felt depleted of energy. I danced and sang with Laura throughout the course. I smiled at dogs and tried to read every sign I could. I took in as much as I could of the sights around the city. I stayed positive and focused on the goal of finishing, despite the run/walking finish I had. I made mental notes of what was bringing me down so I would remember to fix that for the next time.
It was a successful marathon because there will be a next time. Sure, the Saucony 26Strong program ensured a positive experience during the race and your first marathon being a Major certainly doesn’t hurt, but more importantly to me, this first marathon confirmed me that yes, I am capable of the distance and also doing more within it. Despite my positivity and determination to finish no matter what, it’s nice to have official confirmation that it happened. It’s easy to be confident saying “yes, I will finish this,” and know you will because you’re that determined but actually doing it and reaping the benefits (beer, food, right down to the achy muscles) elevates it to a whole new level.
Stay tuned for more updates coming in detail regarding the Chicago Marathon experience (expo, pre/post marathon logistics), the actual race (believe me, I have so much more to say!), and the weekend with the Saucony 26Strong group… But until then I have recovery to do, sleep to catch up on, loads of laundry to do, and an apartment in dire need of cleaning!