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After five months of rigorous training, injuries, research, panic and excitement, I finally completed my first marathon. (Wahoo!) Back in the spring, when my boyfriend nudged me to click Register, I made sure to check the Refund box since I secretly doubted I would actually go through with this monumental task. I felt a bit of peer pressure to complete a marathon since I work with runners, hang out with runners and well, love running. I also am a wee-bit competitive, so a small part of me also wanted to see if I could actually do it. Somewhat tormented with the idea, I registered and was on my way to my first 26.2.
As I began my trek into marathon preparation, I soon realized that I was entering a world of information overload, which led to fear. Online running forums were filled with horror stories of people chafing all the skin off their bodies, under-fueling and passing out during the race, overhydrating and becoming violently ill due to hypernatremia, hitting the wall, breaking bones, having heart attacks and even dying. Why do people do this? I thought. I had felt the passion and pure euphoria of the Boston Marathoners as I watched them cross the finish line back in April. I had felt that each of these runners was insanely driven — but did I have what it would take to risk all these horrible illnesses and injuries? Well, spoiler alert, I did — and it wasn’t nearly as bad as these forums were saying.
I ran the whole dang thing with no bowel issues, no blisters, all my toenails, no heart troubles, no cramps, no hitting the wall and really no horror stories — only happy ones. Although those troublesome things can happen, and I did sprain my ankle four weeks prior to race day, I hope to be living proof that running a marathon — or any race — can be a positive experience. And that’s the best thing to focus on when clicking Register. Yes, I was sore and tired, but it wasn’t what I focused on or what I tell people who ask what it was like.
I say that it was an amazing experience — because it was. The course was breathtaking, the runners cheerful, the crowd energizing, the junk-food stops delicious, the pace group helpful and crossing the finish line — unreal.
If you’re on the fence about reaching for your next goal that may now seem impossible, I would encourage you to go for it. Don’t let the possibilities of obstacles stand in your way from tackling your next race head on.
Featured image credit: iStock Photo, Copyright: Tijana87