In a couple days I will run and complete my first (of hopefully many) marathon. While I am looking forward to that moment, of finishing, of completion, I don't want to gloss over what the journey that has brought me to this point has taught me.
Even if I am not successful in finishing, I have learned so much in training for this marathon that I would consider this and valuable exercise--just the training and learning of the whole process.
So what have I learned? Glad you asked.
- The journey has been instructive. I have learned that I can rise to the challenge of a difficult task.
- I will no longer feel bad if my goals make someone else uncomfortable--whether they don't like it or it makes them feel bad or don't understand it. This is my goal and I can be proud of it.
- I have a horrible time trying to decide what to wear for cool weather runs.
- Lots of runners make pit stops in the woods. Some even carry extra toilet paper for such stops. A bathroom is not always accessible. This is called Runner's Trots--a lot of runners have them. Get used to it.
- However, don't expect that people really can't see you in the woods if you are wearing a day-glo orange/pink/white runner shirt. They probably can.
- There is no shame in walking during the duration of your run. Don't believe me--in a 3.5 hour run, I walked for a total of 23 minutes, which means that I "only" ran for 3 hours and 7 minutes. That still counts in my book!
- I can run that far by myself.
- However, I shouldn't spend too much time running without some sort of noise to think on--my own thoughts will get me into trouble. Hence, the love I have developed for NPR podcasts!
- And after running for that long, food, Tylenol and a nap on a couch are definitely things you need.
- I have a ton of people behind me and I am incredibly grateful and humbled by that.
- I like to run--slowly, to be sure--but I like the feeling and the rhythm of a run, the strength that I feel in my muscles and body, and the way I feel for accomplishing something.
- This has been hard work, but very good work. It has taken time, dedication, effort, patience, a financial commitment, and the support of many people. The work has been hard, but so worth it.
- I can hit a stumbling block, respond rationally and take the appropriate steps, and then bounce back. Case in point--I hurt my foot, didn't quit, and am up and running again. I think I would have regretted not getting back out on the road.
- The 9 a.m. hour is busy around Reed's Lake on a Saturday morning.
- I can run mileage. Already I know I can travel 18 miles on my own two feet. I will never again balk at the the sound of difficulty of a distance.
- Perspective has come to my forefront--although this marathon and all the things around it have been important to me, it is not more important than so many other worthy things, like my friend who just spent three weeks serving orphans in Africa. That is a worthy goal.
- God has been a part of this journey. He has answered direct, specific prayers, as well as general prayers. He has given me strength and desire. I hope I have already made Him proud. I hope He is proud of me on Sunday.
I think I could go on. But I wanted to record these before I am overcome with the feelings that come with finishing this journey. The past 20 weeks have been important for me. For the first time I have set a hard goal and worked hard towards it. Have I worked hard enough? I suspect that I could have done more, been better, but although it is important, this marathon is not my whole life--I still have a fantastic husband and wonderful kids and a home to care for. For that I am truly grateful