Whoa! I made it. I completed my very first marathon, 26.2 miles. Looking back on my journey, I can't believe the success I've had over the past couple years. Two years ago, I don't even think I could have walked a mile. I was overweight and unhealthy, my blood pressure was to the point of where the doctors were talking about medicating me. Now, my blood pressure is under control--without medication and I'm in good physical shape.
Richmond Marathon Finisher- 4:51:47
I haven't always been a runner. I was that kid in gym class who walked 3 laps around the track during "The Mile" and swore to the teachers that I had walked the full 4 laps for the mile (I know a couple friends that can vouch for me on this one).
The road to my marathon wasn't easy. I didn't simply decide to run a marathon on Friday and do it on Saturday. I have been running consistently for about a year and a half. I dealt with injuries and faced successes and 'failures'.
It only made sense for me to complete my first marathon in Richmond. I went to college at VCU in RVA so it's a place that's near and dear to me.
Injuries: Readers, I have to tell you that about 4 weeks out from the marathon I had a leg injury that caused me to miss not only my longest planned training run but it also caused me a great deal of distress and disappointment in myself.
My injury had me in tears for 2 weeks. I wasn't in tears from the pain, but instead from disappointment for what I felt like was my body letting me down. I even stopped writing on this blog because I was so upset. I kept thinking, how am I going to write about being a runner when I can't even run. Thinking back, it probably would have been good just to get my feelings down.
It's hard to display your weaknesses to the others but I do believe that sharing my struggles might help others and that's my intent. I hope that people read my blog and feel kinship with me. Not everyone is a marathon runner, but everyone has faced success and failure.
This motivational saying hangs in my gym. I do not like treadmill running at all but when it's cold and dark outside, it's sometimes the only way to get a run in. This hangs in front of me at the gym as a reminder that success doesn't necessarily mean failure and in order to be in the game, you first have to get up.
Success vs. Failure: Success and failure are all about your mindset. My original plan was to run the entire 26.2 miles, but due to my injury and other things, I had to adjust my goal. I decided that run, walk, or crawl, I was going to cross the finish line. Some may look at this as a failure: I didn't run the entire race but when I reframed my goals, I realized that the most important thing for me was to be a finisher and in that, I am successful!
Only 1% of the population can call themselves marathon finishers, last week I ran my way into the 1%.
You set your own bar for success and ONLY you can raise or lower the bar. Lowering the bar for personal success is NOT failure. It means being true to yourself and your needs, because at the end of the day: you are the only expert in the field of you. Only you understand what you're truly capable of.
Looking ahead, I will run one more race this season: the Fredericksburg Blue & Grey Half Marathon in December, which was my very first half one year ago!
I always get questions from folks about parts of my weightloss, training, running, etc. that I haven't mentioned. Please ask if you have questions :) It gives me topics to talk about AND others might have the same question as you!