In part 1, I told you about how I ended up deciding to run a full marathon and actually hit my goal that would let me know that I was ready. I already knew which marathon I would run. It would be the Big D marathon, the same race as my first half marathon.
I focused more on my training and read a couple of marathon training books to learn. Running seems so simple…just one foot in front of the other over and over. But there is so much more involved. There’s fueling, rest, proper shoes, the right kind of socks, hydration, chafing, and cross training just to name a few. I learned what I could but, looking back on it, experience is the best teacher. That race turned out pretty well. I was slower than I thought but I was so happy to finish! I had no immediate plans to run another one but I knew I had a better one in me. I just had to take the lessons I learned and apply them to a different training plan.
My next marathon was 8 months later and I finished strong, taking 30 minutes off of my previous time! And that’s when I realized that I really loved the half. It is much, much easier to recover from a half and at this point, the half was challenging for me, but didn’t require time off following the race.
Over the next couple of years, I ran a bunch more half marathons and have now completed 53 of them as well as 6 marathons. Like I said, the marathon really makes me appreciate the half but I know I’ve still got a better marathon in me. Running that marathon this year is my goal. But in the meantime, one of my friends somehow persuaded me to run an Ultra with her, just for fun. If you don’t know how far an ultra is, it’s 50 kilometers (31.07 miles). Now THAT’S crazy! But it shouldn’t be a problem after running a marathon 5 weeks ago, especially at an easy pace. Oh how wrong I was!
We actually had a pretty nice day. It got hot around lunch time but it was probably pretty comfortable for the spectators. We had a very specific plan mapped out that even included walk breaks. And it was going pretty well until mile 19 or so before we fell off the plan. But that was okay since we were just running for fun. The next miles went by slowly and painfully but we finally managed to cross the finish line in 5 hours and 44 minutes.
Even though running that far was a painful physical experience, it was so much fun to run it with two amazing women who love to run as much as I do (in spite of what I said during the last few miles of the 50K). I don’t think I could have made it that far without their support and encouragement.
It just amazes me how far I’ve come since I started running. From the first day when I could barely run 15 seconds to running a 5K without stopping to finishing an ultra marathon. I’m not a naturally athletic person and none of this came easy for me. Knowing that I got from 5K to 50K with a lot of hard work, determination, and focus, makes me realize that I am capable of achieving anything that I can dream up. That applies to so many things in my life as well. It’s given me the courage to take a chance and to believe in myself. My passion for running led to a passion for healthy eating and that led to this blog. While the journey hasn’t been easy, it has been so worth it. I have learned so much about myself and what I am made of. Sometimes that was a surprise (in a good way)! The main thing that running has taught me is that I am much stronger than I give myself credit for and it’s given me the confidence to use that strength in other areas of my life. I am looking forward to running more races in more places in the coming years!
Tell me about your running experiences and what you’ve learned from it.