They say that you are a different person when you finish a marathon than you were when you started it. I felt that way after my first half marathon, but the marathon just felt like a really long run. I wasn't feeling particularly successful or proud of myself.
I mean, these days everyone runs marathons, right? My facebook feed is filled with people who run a marathon every weekend--some for FUN--run long-distance relays and triathlons, and barely need a break.
All I did was run one measly marathon that took me over 5 hours to finish.
I had really hoped to break that 5 hour mark, even though my training clearly showed that was highly unlikely. And that 3 minute PR? That can easily be explained by not needing a bathroom break this year. Remember this?
I was sweating out of pores I didn't know existed.
Nope, no great feelings of success. In fact, I was feeling so bad that I ended up in the ER with a falsely diagnosed heart attack 2 weeks after the race. (A combination of work and life stress didn't help of course).
Ok, so the doctor wasn't *quite* so cavalier. It *was* scary though.
I decided it was time for some perspective. I started looking around online to see if it is still special to run 26.2 miles. Here's what I found. (Please keep in mind that these are "facts" I found online, so they are 100% true! )
Source DARE, it says.
Source That's still a small percentage.
Here's the thing: maybe some people have been swimming, biking, and running since they were zygotes. And maybe the average recreational athlete is a good 25-50% faster than me in races. And maybe some people have had major transformations in their weight, their health, or their looks.
Maybe all that's true.
But in the end, none of that matters. You know why?
Because running makes me happy.
How do you identify yourself? How long did it take you to own that identity?
UPCOMING POSTS: VOLUNTEERING AT BEAT THE BLERCH, A YEAR IN REVIEW, TRYING SOMETHING NEW AND IMPROVED IN THE NEW YEAR
OH THANK YOU FOR ENDING THIS POST THE WAY YOU DID! I was going to go on a rant about how you should NEVER EVER EVER compare yourself to others unless you want to be depressed the rest of your life..... But you KNOW WHY YOU RUN - BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU HAPPY!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D!!! Dude, PS: I have and NEVER WILL run a marathon so you're far more badass than I ever will! ;)ReplyDelete
You're so right GiGi. There's a reason they say that comparison is the thief of happiness. And just because you didn't run a marathon does not mean you are not a badass!! You are totally a badass--in the best way!!!Delete
Glad I'm not the only one who finds their friends achievements a little daunting - two of the guys on my facebook race for Great Britain, I'm never going to compete with that. I swim with international class swimmers. Never gonna happen for me. So I know that feeling!ReplyDelete
But I've only been running two years. Only had a road bike for three years and only been able to swim for one year. Needs to be looked at in perspective :)
You have to look at what you've achieved :) A marathon is an awesome achievement - one I'm yet to do! :) You should be so amazingly proud!
As my swim coach says to me all the time, "you aren't paid to do this, you do it because you enjoy it." ;)
Oh trinixie it's so hard to have such capable friends, isn't it?? It is something completely different to be new to a sport that people have always worked on, but we're doing it right? And your swim coach is 100% correct--we just need to hear that often!Delete
So PROUD of YOU to even try to run a marathon and triathalon let alone finish. Amazing considering you were never athletic as a child and sometimes,(as per your blog) you do things that unfortunately you inherited from your maternal side it's all good. Keep on running.ReplyDelete
Thanks mom :) Now I have to work on my bike handling skills!Delete
I felt like you did after my first marathon. Disappointed in myself. No matter what people told me about my accomplishment, etc, it wasn't the race that I wanted to run. I get it! But you did do it, and hey, you're in the club! so there's that...ReplyDelete
It's weird, right? I guess it's true for most things, that the anticipation is much stronger than the actual event. I think what this experience is teaching me is to look closely at why I run, so that is a good thing!Delete
You ran TWO freaking marathons! I ran exactly zero full marathons. You rock. I'm pretty proud of myself after a 5K :)ReplyDelete
Lea! This whole post was supposed to be about working on not comparing ourselves to others!! I'm glad you finished this comment the way you did--you work your butt of in your races, and you have every reason to be proud!Delete
OMG, I'm glad you didn't have a heart attack! How scary though . . . take care of yourself and congrats on the marathon. BTW, I just had a bad marathon experience, probably my worst experience in 15 marathons. I can relate to your feelings, I had several days of "why do I even do this" -- and always circle back to I run because I love it too!ReplyDelete
I know, right?? It was so scary! I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Now that I'm not training for anything my runs are just for fun, and I'm really enjoying myself. I know that I will get back into training soon, which brings about its own feelings of accomplishment, but there's something special about running for the feel of it :)Delete
I for one am VERY impressed! I've ridden several century bike rides, but the most I've ever managed to run continuously is 5 miles, and I was super, super stoked by that. I keep falling off the running wagon and am now back to only about 2 miles continuous, but I'm determined to get back to 5. I have no marathon ambitions because to me, running is HARD. Too hard to run that far. Heck, I am not sure I could even walk or hike that far. So, even though it may seem ho-hum to you, I am seriously impressed with anyone who can run a marathon. Good on you!ReplyDelete
Thanks Emily! I can't imagine a century ride. THAT is daunting to me. Impressive!!Delete
CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So glad you were OK & no heart attack!!!! So scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Work & life stress can screw with our bods big time for sure!!!!!ReplyDelete
I never even thought about how how identify myself BUT per the Instagram year in review - workouts, cookies & coffee! :)
Thanks Jody! Yeah it was not something I was expecting, of course. I think your identity makes complete sense!!Delete
Congrats on completing you 2nd marathon- it is a big deal BECAUSE it makes you happy and that is all that matters, like you said! It has taken me a while to find myself but running has really helped that process- there really is nothing else like it.ReplyDelete
PS. Glad you are okay!!!
Thanks Annmarie. Running really does so much for my well-being; I'm always happy to find another running kindred spirit!Delete
I am so glad you gained that perspective because that is an amazing achievement! I love the way you ended your post on that joyous photo. Lovely!ReplyDelete
Thanks Marcy. Yeah it has taken almost 3 months to get that perspective :)Delete
It took a turn to the up-beat! I was going to try to lift your mood by out-misanthropeing you (totally a word), but no need. You got to the sunny side all on your lonesome. Looking forward to seeing what you accomplish in the new year.ReplyDelete
Muchas gracias Pickleope. Yup, moving over to the sunny side of life. Yikes.Delete
Love this. Of course you are a runner and a marathoner. Do what makes you happy. Love the race pic!ReplyDelete
Thanks Debbie! "Do what makes you happy" is going to be my mantra for the new year.Delete
I love this!! You still have me beat, I have only run one marathon and am quite happy to stick with halfs!! Your race picture is awesome, you look so happy! It is so easy to compare with other runners when we are constantly seeing it in our feeds all the time, but like your stats show, running a marathon is no common thing. Runners are just awesome. That is all.ReplyDelete
Christy I think the half is pretty great. And you're right; runners are awesome :)Delete
I love this post! You are a fantastic marathoner...because you ARE one!ReplyDelete
Thank you senracorrida! Yup, I'm a marathoner!Delete
running a marathon is a personal victory every time! I am so proud of you!!! who cares how long it took.....more than I've ever run. You now have 2 under your belt!!!! As always love this blog and glad to have it back in my reading rotation :) Happy New year!ReplyDelete
Thanks Ali; you're right. It's always good to get some perspective. It is a personal victory. Glad you're back!Delete
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