I've not mentioned it here or much of anywhere in the past months, but I prepared and ran a full marathon this past week. Ran in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and it was the very first time I ran 26.2 miles.
I've shared profound learnings and thoughts on running before and I ran in 2 half marathons last year, one this same race and one in Tulsa. All three runs have been with my fierce running partner Summer Lashley.
For this full marathon, we ran prep runs of 15, 16, 18, 20 and 22 miles and we generally did good on the runs. We averaged about a 10:35-10:40 pace across these long runs so we expected to do such on the full.
We finished and I now have this marathon finisher medal and this great t-shirt that says I'm a finisher. I plan to carry the medal around for quite a while and I plan to wear the t-shirt a lot. I mean, I ran 26 miles for it. I mean I ran 26.2 miles for it. Likely, if you ask to see my medal in the next few days. I'll have it with me.
However, I learned that running a marathon is really hard. I mean really hard. I finished and I have a medal, and a cool shirt and some cool pictures, but I didn't run as well as planned and I had a really hard time. My running partner, my fierce running partner, had to keep me going, keep us moving forward, get us there. Now I would have never stopped, but she was the driving force to keep us moving right along.
Beth and Mia traveled around in front of us and cheered us along the way. We also saw lots of friends all morning long which was a lot of fun.
What a great experience for me. Running this distance is a deeply personal experience that is hard to explain. One learns about mental strength/focus/grit and about how their muscles and body respond to such a strenuous effort over such a long time. Friends have told me the goal of a first marathon is to just finish and that I did.
You don't have to go run a marathon, but don't stop trying out new, amazing, hard things. You'll learn a lot about yourself.
And I think I'll need to do another one of these...