I'm pretty done talking about the marathon I ran. And if I feel done talking about it, that must mean the universe is beyond done hearing about it. But I'd hate to not mention a few things I learned along the way. Pretty sure I could ramble for days on that topic. But I managed to boil trim the rambling down to 10 that were the revelations I put people to sleep with while when I'm asked about it over the water cooler.
10 More Things I've Learned From Running: Marathon Edition:
1. Marathons are long. You think you grasp how long it is. You don’t. I’m here to tell you, you don’t. Take how long you think it is and multiply that by 4. Then add 3. Then double it. It’s just so long. Way longer than 26.2 miles. Because it includes miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of repeatedly wondering “How much further can it possibly be?”
3. You don’t have to lose any toe nails or get any blisters. I finished my marathon with all of my toe nails intact and zero blisters. No really. My worst physical complaint other than exhaustion, tired calves and regularly wanting to die was some chafing on the backs of my arms. But that was only when I got to double digit long runs. And once I got tired of having to wear band aids on the backs of my arms for 3 days afterwards, I invested in a stick of Gold Bond Friction Defense stuff and that’s all she wrote. I use it anytime I go for a long run over 6 miles.
4. It’s fun to be able to tell people you ran one. In the days after my marathon, I ran into several people at work that I only know casually and that had no idea I run let alone that I was training for a marathon. It was fun to watch their face when I’d tell them what I did over the weekend. It was also fun to watch them sort of reevaluate their impression of me. You could sort of see on their face that they were recategorizing me in their head like I’d moved into a new bracket of crazy or something. I love that they thought they knew me and that I caught them off guard and now they had to rethink what they thought they knew.
6. You can train in any kind of weather you want but mother nature controls race day and sometimes mother nature wants to torture your soul changing it up on you. I had trained in mostly cold weather. It was 66 and humid during most of my marathon. WTH.
7. If it’s your first time, just let go of time. Finishing is winning. Remind yourself of that when you lose sight of the pacer for the time you’d secretly been hoping for. Remind yourself again when you start to think about trying to catch him. And remind yourself again when you see your final finish time. It's easier said than done. But that's why you just keep reminding yourself until it sinks in.
8. There’s always someone slower than you. After passing the 13 mile marker, there was a lot of elbow room on the route. As we started spacing out more and more, I couldn’t see too many other people. I started to feel like it was because I was the slowest runner on the planet. Especially when I’d get passed by someone that looked like they were falling apart which can only mean that I was falling apart more and just didn’t realize it. The day after my marathon I looked at my official time on the race website. And then I realized that I’d actually finished just slightly slower than the average time for all females and there were plenty of people slower than me. It put it in perspective for me and then I felt kinda proud of myself. Or rather, I felt more proud of myself than I had already felt. So what if I’ll never be the fastest. I’m not the slowest either. And that's something. That's also life.
10. You don't know what you are capable of until you try. I thought I couldn't run a marathon. I thought that’s something only fit people can do. I thought that’s something only strong people can do. I thought that’s something only younger, thinner and more athletic people can do. I was wrong about a lot of things. But the most important thing I was wrong about was what I am capable of. And if I had never tried, I would never have learned that.