Made-over By a Marathon
Feb 23, 2017
For the first 36 years of my life, I was not a runner. I was active and enjoyed exercise, but I was not a runner. Running did not appeal to me at all. Running was punishment in high school. Running was only fun in elementary school, competing in the 100 yard dash. Can you relate? If you had told me that I would be 50 years old and running marathons, I would've laughed. Out loud. In your face.
Running did not have a valued place in my life until I ran a marathon at 37 years old and not before.
When I started running, I did so to support a friend and train with my husband who had accepted a challenge. That's the short story version. I'll bore you with the long version some other time. I started running with the intention of finishing a marathon and that was it. I would be done.
I expected to get in shape and lose some weight. I did not know how I was going to get the training done, with 3 kids and a job I worked from home, life was full. What I did know was that I needed to do something. I was suffering from depression and had periods of anxiety. I felt as though I was being swallowed up and lost in the busyness of life. I felt as though I didn't know who I was anymore because it seemed that I was always taking care of someone else and I came in last. I left no time to invest in me. I didn't know how to gain traction in my life and get things moving in another direction.
That's when I started training. That first year was a challenge in so many ways - the least of all was physical. There was a mindshift that had to take place. I had to start doing things differently and thinking differently in order to be a marathoner. Much of the things that were necessary, I did not enjoy. But, being the loyal, committed, non-quitter that I am, I pushed through and did the hard work.
This is me pushing through to the finish at the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. It was an absolutely amazing experience! This is a race that I highly recommend. It is tough, but shouldn't it be? You get a chance to run in our nation's capitol and see all of the major monuments. To cap it off, a marine gives you your medal at the finish.
Back to the beginning of it all - I still remember heading to the airport for our trip to Chicago, where we would do our marathon. It was then that I admitted that I didn't even like to run and was not excited about the marathon. I was pretty much dreading it. Having done over 20 miles on my last training run, I knew I could do it, but it would be hard. I was expecting it to be unpleasant and most of all, I expected it to be the last time I would run.
Like so often in life, I was surprised at the outcome.
This is a picture of me at about the 12 mile mark of my first marathon in 2004.
The woman who started this marathon training process was not the woman who finished it. What an experience! From start to finish, there were highs and lows, good days and bad, aches, pains, fatigue and doubt, but I just kept pushing. I kept moving forward. With each step, I learned something. I learned that I could keep going, that I was stronger than I thought and that just when I thought my tank was empty, I could find just a little bit more.
I learned to think again, to spend time with myself, and myself alone, thinking, praying, just breathing. Sounds easy, but it's not. In this world of constant noise, silence can be difficult. Training brought me relief from depression, anxiety, and a feeling of helplessness. It brought me confidence, energy and a better sense of well being. It turned mountains into molehills, helping me cope with the stress of everyday life.
Here I am in 2009 with three of my top reasons I continue to run, my girls.
I was made over by a marathon because training for and completing a marathon is a great parallel to life itself. Marathon training gives strength, confidence and clarity to those willing to get in there and work consistently, facing each day and each challenge, knowing the only way to the finish is to continue through the process. The marathon finish puts a bow on all of your training. It is the day when you use every single ounce of all you've gained in the previous months. It is the day, the experience, that shows you just how much you've learned. It is the final exam and when you pass it, you are better than you were when you started - not just the training, but the race.
In the days and weeks following my marathon finish, the work, the lessons, the pain of the past months seeped in and made sense. I discovered that I was different, stronger, and maybe, just maybe, a little bit better than I was when I started.
Do you want to know yourself better?
Do you want to be stronger, healthier and just better at being you?
Don't know where to start? Click HERE for our 10 week series of training videos, made especially for beginners. Work through the videos, follow our page on Facebook and getting moving to be your best.
It's SO much more than a marathon!
Co-Director of Marathon Makeover
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