Reflection Before the Pain (you enjoy)
Tomorrow is race day. Tomorrow I ran my marathon. Tomorrow all the work I have put in over the past 6 months will be shown. But wow, I could not finish and I would be disappointed, but it sure wouldn’t be a waste. The process has changed me to be better and find something I didn’t know I had in me. I have had to dig in and do things that were hard.
After months and months of long runs and time intensive training, my marathon really did sneak up on me. But looking back, I have come so far in the past 6 months. I am down 25 pounds. I feel better. My VO2 max has increased significantly. My mental health has improved. I am better for training and tomorrow I am able to showcase the training. I am ready to take on this challenge and do something I have never done before. There can only be one first marathon, the next one will be easier because I know I’ve done it before but tomorrow I take on a challenge I have never accomplished. Let’s get it!
Below, I want to share 5 things I have learned during training. These lessons may seem like no brainers but these are ingrained in my mind and who I am. They make me who I am today. I have finally internalized them, I can point to them in the future. They are basic ideals and proven facts through my experience. And I will continue to remember them as I continue on.
- Just keep showing up — there are many days I didn’t want to run, I didn’t want to workout. But I kept telling myself, just show up. I may not have had the best training day but I at least improved that day by showing up.
- Find joy in the journey — hard things in life do not come easy. If you are only happy after you finish, you miss out on the journey and you will spend most of your time unhappy. I have found joy running. It clears my mind and lets me get away from the stresses of life.
- I can do hard things — when I started running, 5 miles seemed insurmountable. A marathon was truly unattainable but that’s why I signed up and committed early on. Every single week I started to increment my mileage and each week I was running further than I ever had in my life. I learned I could do things that I thought were impossible. Tomorrow will be the same, I have never ran 26.2 miles but I know I will finish because I know I can do hard things.
- Little improvements = huge results — we live in a world of instant gratification, running a marathon cannot be done in one day. It takes a lot of work and dedication to run a marathon. Small improvements daily result in huge changes. We are the result of our decisions everyday, modifying a few of those decisions changes our lives.
- Mental health benefits — running has been the best form of therapy for me. Exercising has allowed me to deal with my doubts and struggles. I have found myself alone exploring my thoughts and feelings allowing me to see myself on a deeper level. I still have a long way to go but this has been a saving grace for me during a crazy time in my life.
Tomorrow seems like the end. But really it is only an end, not the end. I have been changed through the process and I will continue running because it means so much more to me than running a marathon. It truly has changed me for the better. I am a work in progress and little by little these crazy hard goals and feats are pushing me to be better every single day.
My first official half marathon. It is all part of the process.