Waking up the morning after a marathon has always been the same for me. Whether I ran a great race or one that I’m less than proud of, I wake up with a heavy load of race residue to process. Oh, and my body usually feels like I got hit by a truck.
On marathon day, things went pretty well at first. The morning dawned cold and overcast, I was eager to start running. Walking to the start line among 14,300 runners, I was feeling all sorts of emotions – anxiousness, nervousness, excitement. After hearing the gun go off, I was ready. I was feeling great — at least until Mile 11. That’s when my legs turned to iron, my mind was clouded and I barely noticed the cheering crowd. Every part of me knew that this day was going to be a fight to the end. I just couldn’t bring myself to fully let go of the goals and expectations that I had poured so much of my heart into over the last many months of my life.
Eventually, time no longer mattered and I felt myself finally letting go and just hoping to make it to the finish line. Making it from Mile 19 to the finish was the stretch of the race that I knew I would have to dig deeper within myself than ever before and test limits that I wasn’t prepared to test. The lessons I’ve gained from this marathon are things that I will take with me always.
I finished the race coming in a good 30 minutes later than I’d hoped, with a time of 4:36. Though I certainly felt proud of my achievement, I was so relieved that it was over. I crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles feeling stronger, more determined and with a greater appreciation of what I am truly capable of. I will forever be changed by what I learned in the Dublin Marathon 2012. And I am only stronger for it.
Life lessons worth remembering:
- We are stronger than we think we are. When we get to those moments in life where we doubt there is anything left to give, there is always more.
- We are not alone in life. Faith, friendship and support of others around us will help us get through the difficult times. There is great beauty and value in the support of a community.
- We can always change and set new goals. Letting go of goals and changing expectations can lead to new possibilities. When one door closes, there are more to be opened.
- Being REAL is a gift to ourselves and to those around us. When we share our heartbreaks and struggles and allow ourselves to admit that we feel broken, we reveal the human side of ourselves that so many can relate to. We open the doors to be loved.
- Hardships make us stronger. Life doesn’t always go as planned but each new opportunity allows for growth. Every time we are tested with challenges, we rise stronger than before.
Have any of you ever completed a marathon or is it something you aspire to accomplish one day? Let me know your stories below :)