Of course I’ve been reflecting on my first marathon and what I’ve learned. It’s true what they say in that it is a life changing experience. I’m sure as time passes more things will come to mind, but here are few post marathon musings:
1. Training for a marathon is not only getting you ready to run the distance but to train your mind to know you can run the distance.
I feel like I let my mind take over the last 6 miles when the marathon really starts. I felt like I couldn’t give any more and I don’t know, maybe I could have. It’s easy to say that now that it’s over because at the time, you really feel like you can’t. I think this where my mental toughness weakened. Every one hurts. Every one is struggling. The last part of the race is the really challenge–more mental than physical–and I think this is where I need to tell the negative thoughts in my head to take a walk somewhere else.
2. There will be good runs/races and there will be bad runs. Don’t compare them.
When I ran my 20 mile training run I felt great. I even said that I wished the marathon would’ve been that day because of how good I felt. But, it wasn’t and I need to forget about that training run. Sometimes, when I start to get upset about how I didn’t make my 4:30, I think about that 20 miler and how smooth it was. But then I snap to reality. Twenty miles is not 26.2 and like I said before, those last 6.2 is the real race.
3. A goal is good but not the end all, be all of life.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m super competitive. Not so much with other people, but more so with myself. For some reason, I don’t get upset or jealous when other people get better times than me. I actually get super stoked for them. Heck, my best running buddy is Salt and she’s super hardcore. I do however, get upset when I feel I could have done better. My husband has been getting on my case about how when people ask how I did on my marathon, I preface my response with, “Well, I didn’t meet my goal but…” Why do I do that? People don’t need to know my goal or that I didn’t make it. It doesn’t lessen the awesomeness that was my time. This is something I want to work on. Focus more on the positive and not get so down on myself when I don’t reach a goal–and in this case, it’s even more silly because I did reach my goal. I finished a freaking marathon!!
4. People who have run a marathon know what they’re talking about.
I love hearing about people’s marathon experiences. I learn so much getting different perspectives. I filter the information I want to keep of course 🙂 But one of the most common pieces of advice I got was to not start out fast. Time and time again, this always came up.
I felt like at the time I wasn’t starting out too fast but in retrospect, I definitely think I did.
I originally had a plan of starting with a 10:10 pace and taking that for the majority of the race. But at the start, I hooked up with the 4:25 pacer and the first 4 miles were more of the 9:45-50 pace. I was reminded about the inexperienced idea of wanting to “bank time” by my pal piratebobcat–it doesn’t work and don’t do it. I think this is something I’ll for sure take with me to my next marathon and what I would share to new marathoners.
5. Running is addicting.
It was not even an hour post marathon that I was already thinking about the next one.
I’m not kidding when I said I was in super pain when I finished. I couldn’t even walk at the end. But there I was, thinking of when the most realistic time to run another marathon would be. Runners are a unique bunch. That’s all I really got to say about that.
6. Rest. Rest. and Rest.
I think I was still on the adrenaline of having finished a marathon that two days later I ran. And then I ran again. And then I ran again.
I felt okay and made sure I wasn’t go out too fast but I seemed to have forgotten that I had just ran a marathon!
I went to bed last night after a 5 mile run and told my husband, “I’m tired. Like really tired.” Saying those words out loud seemed to light up something in my head. Helly, you need to rest!! So, my running this week will be postponed. I’m resting these legs. I know they’re tired and I can feel them telling me they want a Spring Break.
7. Being a marathoner is pretty awesome.
Yes, I’m one of those who bragged and showed off my medal any chance I could the week following the race. I wore my medal to sleep that first night and wore to the Wal-mart the next day. I wore it to the park. I wore it running errands. It didn’t come off at all that Sunday post-race 🙂
I love the look on people’s faces when you tell them you’ve run a marathon. I love that they think I’m crazy. I love that I’m in this unique club of people who enjoy doing things that are crazy.
Or I’ll probably just drop it in a conversation nonchalantly like it’s no big deal 😉
–What advice would you give a first-time marathoner?
–If you haven’t ran a marathon, would you? Why or why not?
–What are some things you’ve learned from a race (of any distance)?