26.2 complete. Feels so good!

I ran my first marathon this morning – KC Marathon. What a race. First of all I would like to say that running a marathon is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. It truly is a test of your physical AND mental endurance. I ended up getting 3:47:19. Seven minutes away from qualifying for Boston – I am definitely going to do another one with a flatter course to see if I can qualify. It’s the ultimate challenge. I was running the race by myself, but luckily I met a girl about my pace at the beginning and we ran together until we had to part (she was running the half). The last 13 miles were a little lonesome – just me and my mind, oh and my burning legs. 🙂 The first half flew by and felt really good. I was keeping with the 3:30 pacer until about the 17 mile mark and then I started to gradually slow down a little bit. It was HARD. My legs throbbed, but it was my mind that was the hardest obstacle to pass. You have to control your thoughts. It is the only way that you can get through it. I focused

just keep runnin'

on quotes, as cheesy as it sounds. “Pain is temporary, pride is forever.” Yes I repeated this phrase in my mind. As lame as it sounds I also used, “Just keep going.” I guess simplicity works for me! The real struggle cam between miles 22-26. My stride was pretty wimpy at that point and I was more than ready to pack up, go home and take a bubble bath. BUT I kept going. I love how supportive everyone is of each other during the race. When I was struggling, a man ran up next to me and said, “you can do it, keep pushing, keep it up.” That was all I needed. I wouldn’t say I cruised through the last few miles, but they were easier than I thought. My parents came to watch and my dad said he had never seen so many people frowning in his life. It’s hard to look happy-go-lucky when running 26.2 miles. Enough said! It’s the challenge. I don’t know of many people that thoroughly enjoy pushing themselves to run for 3-5 hours. It’s part of the mystery of the running phenomenon and addiction. Apparently, we all want to put ourselves through brutal physical and mental conditions. Sound about right? 🙂

When I passed the 26 mile mark and saw the finish line on the horizon, joy swept over

DONE! choco milk time.

me. It was a genuinely happy moment and I will never forget it. A feeling of accomplishment. A feeling of reward. That feeling was why I ran the marathon. That elation was what I yearned for. It is only when we push ourselves further than our limits that we can experience that surreal state of happiness. I will be back for more. It isn’t over yet, marathon!

Oh and just for the record. Post marathon cravings = pumpkin bagel and chocolate milk. 🙂