My Third Marathoniversary

April 25th will always hold a special place on my calendar. That’s because it was on this date, three years ago today that I ran my first marathon - the Marin Marathon. It was the first and only year that this race offered a full marathon. In hindsight I wish I picked a different marathon to run; one that flatter, with more runners and spectators. But being a newbie those factors never crossed my mind when selecting the race.

You can tell how excited I was about it by reading my 5-part race report…

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

I know I over did the race report, but I’m actually grateful that I documented so many details, particularly all the support I received.

To say that I’ve been struggling with running lately is an understatement. But in rereading these posts, the joy and excitement I felt that day (and the days leading up to it) all came flooding back to me. I was reminded of all the big and little things I love about the marathon and why I decided to run one in the first place.

I don’t think it’s by coincidence that this past week I have had some of my best runs in a really, really long time. There was nothing monumental about the paces or distances, but just the feelings I felt during the run…I felt so…happy! For once I didn’t feel like I was battling myself.

My first marathon was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. It challenged my body and spirit in ways that I never anticipated.

You’d think after such a nightmarish experience I’d never want to run another one, but that was never a question for me. As soon as I finished this first one I was already researching which marathon I’d run next.

This morning, as I ran hill repeats, I thought about all the ways I’ve grown since 04/25/2010.

+ I thought about how my body has physically adapted to running long distances. If you were never active until your adult years (like me), I truly believe it takes years for your body to adjust to long distance running.

+ I thought about how much I’ve learned about the human body through injuries, progress, and setbacks.

+ I thought about the wonderful people I’ve met in the running community.

+ And most of all I thought about how I’ve learned so much about myself as a person. Long runs give you a lot of time to think. I used to think it wasn’t a good thing for me to be alone in my head for hours and hours on end, but it’s during those miles that I have had my deepest thoughts. I’ve gone through a lot of self-introspection and have learned about my capabilities, fears, insecurities, drive, etc. I’ve learned about what I like about myself, what I don’t like about myself and have accepted that all of it is who I am.

And as a result I really try to take strides (pun intended) to become a better person.

This is what the marathon has given me, and why I continue to run them.