Yesterday, my friends Jac, Erik, and I ran in the LA Marathon!
I woke up this morning and still could not wrap my head around the idea that I ran a marathon! This is partially due to the following reasons:
- When I first started running, my goal was to finish 1 mile without stopping.
- I’ve never considered myself an athletic person by any means. I suffer from asthma and the word “marathon” alone makes me feel wheezy!
- After finishing my last half marathon, I swore up and down that I would never do a full marathon because I just couldn’t!
The thing about can’t, won’t, and don’t’s are dangerous to stubborn people like me, because they make me want to turn them into can, will, and do. As much as the training and the marathon itself were a beast and a challenge beyond all of my challenges thus far, here are some things I learned and gained from this experience..
1. Running Is A Gift
As cliché as it may sound, I firmly believe it. Running has opened so many opportunities for adventure and has allowed me to create a stronger being. After a particularly hard day at work, nothing feels more satisfying than running off some steam and literally not focusing on anything else except getting to the next mile. I love listening to my favorite songs and tuning out for a bit. It’s the perfect escape for when you can’t truly escape.
2. You’ll See Your City With New Eyes
I love my city with every fiber of my being. I especially love discovering new parts of my neighborhood and the best way to do this, is on foot. I think that I have run just about all over my city by now and running has allowed me to see parts of my city I would have never discovered by being in my car.
Aside from just discovering new places to see, eat or drink at, I also have enjoyed taking new trails through Griffith Park and the beach canyons. I remember one of my favorite trails I took when training, was a trail that started off in the heavily shaded areas of Griffith Park and dropped me off a few feet away from the Hollywood sign (a landmark that always felt so tiny and distant!).
Many of the runs I have taken, have led me to some of the greatest treasures this city has to offer. Running in the marathon, made me realize how much this city has truly become a part of my life. As I ran by many of my favorite places, I felt like I had run by ghosts of my past and I saw myself at different parts of my life. I realized in that moment, how much this city is tattooed in my soul.
3. Carbo Loading Is A Dream Come True!
In a perfect world, I’d start my day off with pancakes with a side of bagel and donut, followed by a sandwich,chips and potato salad for lunch, and then for dinner, I’d finish things off with pasta and cake!
I love carbohydrates in the worst way.
However, when you train for a marathon, you are encouraged to eat a lot of carbs before you run (like music to my gluten-loving ears)! Granted, you are not supposed to carbo-load on things like donuts and cake, but if you do happen to eat one or three, you can just chalk it up to “I’m running a marathon and need as many carbs as possible”. No one can argue with an athlete, right?
4. You Will Be Humbled By People’s Generosity
One of the most gratifying things I gained from running the marathon, was the over-the-top generosity and goodness that lies within people. Most of the time in this big city, we rarely take the time to say hello much less smile at complete strangers we pass on the street. This was not the case at all yesterday, as I ran past people holding trays of sliced oranges, bowls of pretzels, tubs of licorice, cups of water, and other running refreshments. In addition to everyone’s generosity, the encouragement that people have for you as you make your way towards the finish line was unwavering. With only a couple of hours left of the marathon and it being an unreasonably hot day, I thought for sure that the crowds would thin out towards the end. To my greatest of surprises, people still were waiting to cheer you on and really push you through those last legs of the marathon.
One of the best moments of the marathon was with a complete stranger! At mile 21, I felt like I had hit a wall. It was crazy hot, my blisters were all on the verge of popping, and it just felt like 5 more miles looked impossible. I started thinking,”Why the hell did you think you could do this?!”. All at once, I wanted to cry, laugh deliriously, scream and throw in the towel. Luckily, this did not happen. A complete stranger with the kindest voice asked,”Can I give you water or a hug? I’ve been where you are and know how tired you feel. You’ve got this!” I’m not sure if it was the offer for a hug or the earnest gesture of compassion that encouraged me most, but it was one of the kindest offers from one stranger to the next.
5. Sometimes It Really Is All In Your Head
Without a doubt, my training was heavily shaped by my thoughts. If I felt like a hill was impossible, it became impossible. But when I told myself that I could just pace myself and eventually get to the top, it made the hill dramatically less…hilly!
Running a marathon has got to be one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I have ever done. It was completely crazy to me during my training, how much stronger I felt after each run, and as a direct result, how empowered it made me feel for the next big run. I remember telling myself complete lies like, “It’s just running what you’ve already done and then a smidge more…” and totally believing it! Proof alone that many of the challenges we meet, are in our heads. It’s all about outsmarting yourself!
Overall, the L.A. Marathon felt like a big milestone for me. It pushed me in ways I never imagined. I’m so blessed with support from my family and friends, and they are the real people who kindled the fire in me to really do this.
I don’t think that running marathons is something that is ingrained in each of us to feel accomplishment, but I do think that if your heart calls you to do it, you should accept the challenge.