This past November, I was graced with the pleasure of running along side over thirty thousand people in the Philadelphia Marathon. What started out as a “spur of the moment” decision to register turned into a fifteen-week journey that helped me, not only physically, but mentally. So what did 26.2 miles teach me?
1. I No Longer Think “I Can’t”
Dedicating those fifteen-weeks took effort, and resulted in a lot of “sorry I have to run” excuses to my friends, but I would not trade them for anything. The day I finished my first 20-mile run was, and still is, one of the greatest moments of my life. Breaking through that metaphorical “wall” provided me with the feeling that I can tackle anything, as long as I put my mind to it. With that confidence, I knew I could complete the entire race. If there’s one thing this experience taught me was that how I approached my training is how everyone should approach his or her goals in life. Set the goal and tackle it head on.
2. Silence is Golden
I averaged around 35-50 miles a week and as the weeks went on, my playlist got repetitive and boring. Some of the best runs I had were in complete silence. It was just me and my thoughts, and the run of course. I found myself in those silent runs. I thought about my biggest troubles and desires without the distraction of Fetty Wap or J-Biebs playing through my head. I now find comfort in silence.
3. Prepare for the Worst, but Don’t Psych Yourself Out
Two months prior to the race I started training like it was race day. I planned out everything that would happen on race day, from eating what I’d eat prior (oatmeal and a banana), taking a sip of water every two miles (to simulate the water stops), and forcing down those gooey energy gels. All this preparation just made my nerves worse, but I had to trust my body that everything would be fine, and my mind would follow. And it worked! I let go of my mind, and my body took me through the miles. It’s the same with regular life problems. We are all capable of doing what we want; the trouble is letting go of our fears to make it happen.
4. The Pain is Temporary, but the Feeling is Forever
Cliché I know, but the minimum pain that I endured the day after pales in comparison to what I got out of the race, and that’s exactly what I say when people ask me about it. The slight discomfort in walking down stairs or walking fast slowly faded, but it was worth it. Keep this in mind when deciding if you should prevail through the pain or give up. Is it worth it? Will slaving away in the library every night to earn that A be worth it in the end? Of course! So do it, you won’t regret it.
So what did I learn exactly?
I learned that I could do anything I set my mind to, mentally or physically. I learned that the best company is your own thoughts. I learned that sometimes you have to let your mind go, and trust your body and training. Finally, I learned that the best things come with some pain. Would I do it again? Heck yea! It was well worth it.
Running a marathon burns roughly (depending on the person) 26,000+ calories! So what does that add up too?
8.6 slices of pizza, 10.6 plain bagels & 13 scoops of ice cream! After that run, you so deserve to devour that entire pie of pizza!