After spending six months training for my first marathon, I finally crossed the finish line this past Sunday. What a feeling!! My legs have been extremely sore for the past few days and I’ve hobbled around in pain but I’m still feeling the high of my accomplishment. As I was running I couldn’t help but think about how my experience during the race parallels to life in general.
What I learned….
Start slow and save your energy.
It’s a given that you will be full of adrenaline at the start of the race and I was tempted to come out sprinting but instead I kept my cool and started out at a slow and steady pace. So often in life we start on a new project full of energy and halfway through run out of steam which hampers our follow through. We’ve all been there at some point.
Slow down and enjoy the scenery.
I’m not a competitive runner and I was certainly under no time constraint for this race so I took the opportunity to enjoy my surroundings. We even had 2 miles on the beach and my sister and I stopped for a selfie photo opp. I was only at mile 6 and having so much fun in the moment! We get so caught up in the ‘busyness’ of our lives that we don’t stop and just enjoy the journey. And that’s what life is really all about it….the experience of it all.
Celebrate every milestone.
I told myself before the race that I would only focus on getting to the next mile. And that’s just what I did. After every mile marker I would do a little dance in my head and then reset my goal to get to the next mile. That made ALL the difference in the world when I got to mile 20 and started to feel my body scream at me to stop. When I got to mile 25 I cried and then I sprinted my way to the finish. It also reminded me to continue to celebrate every milestone in my life-big or small. My whole life has been about setting and achieving goals. After every accomplishment I give myself a pat on the back or even celebrate with my family and friends. Then I set a new goal and start a new course to reach it.
When you’re ready to give up…don’t.
The most challenging part of the race was when I was between mile 22 and 23 and I had to literally run up an exit ramp onto a major highway. Once I made it up the on ramp I could see the next mile of the road and it was full of hills. The temptation to stop and just lay down was so strong. For about 30 seconds I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to the finish. There were several people around me that were crying and one lady was limping due to an injury so I felt the need to stop focusing on myself and offer some encouragement. I walked with the limping lady for a few minutes and kept telling her she was close and she was going to finish this race. For every person I passed afterwards I said good job or we’re almost there. For those last few miles I forgot about my pain and focused on helping others and I didn’t give another thought to giving up. Sometimes we have to dig deep to find the inner strength to keep going but it’s in all of us. Maybe we need to look outside of ourselves and offer help to someone else. Just keep going!
Embrace the pain.
After 20 miles of running my body physically started to fight me. I knew blisters were forming on my right foot and my knees were throbbing with every step. I hurt like I’ve never hurt in my life. Instead of resisting it, I repeated the mantra ‘I am the universe’ or ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ which reminded me that I am part of the universe and it is part of me. Life is about pain and joy. You have to take the good with the bad but I knew in those moments of pain that my joy would come when I crossed the finish line. And I felt so alive in that moment! Holy shit, I was running a marathon!!!!!!!!! My life lesson was so clear….through every challenge there is an opportunity so embrace those challenges and know there is a purpose. Trust yourself and the universe!
We all need a little help sometimes.
When I signed up for the race I asked one of my sisters if she would sign up too. She opted to do the half marathon and we were able to run together for the first 7 miles of the race. She even slowed her pace to help me save my energy (and my legs!) and I could not have been more grateful. She’s the best!!!! My mom sent me inspiring texts during my training months and everyone sent me cheer texts during the race to keep me going. Life would be so lonely if we had to go it alone but luckily we have family and friends to keep us motivated and help us out when we need it the most.