It's been 6 days since my 1st marathon and it has been a busy week with finals,but the next week will be much better! I am sitting in the airport waiting to fly to Orlando for a week with the family and looking forward to some down time with the people I love. I have spent the last few days thinking about my marathon experience and want to do some reflecting this week while I am on vacation.
The thing that has been steadily about my thoughts this week has been the unique element of community that I experienced on many levels. I got to the marathon spot a little late Sunday morning but knowing how much much later I would start I wasn't concerned. I don't actually stretch or warm up ( I know that sounds crazy but I never have and can claim no injuries yet) so I found the bathroom and then headed to find my pacer. I met the 5:30 pacer (that means trying to complete the race in 5 hours 30 minutes, not a 5:30/mile pace as was misunderstood earlier this week) and then some of the other runners who attempting to run the same pace.
I wish I could describe the energy I feel in that moment of waiting at the starting line! There are 10,000 people ready to run and most of them has worked very hard to prepare for the moment. It is a powerful feeling to realize that you are about to attempt something that you once believed was impossible and that you know few people believed you would ever do. I was amazed how different that I felt this year at the starting line as opposed to last year. I was much more nervous then and didn't feel like I really belonged, like a fish out of water. This year I knew I was one of only roughly 20% who were attempting the full and after all my training I felt like I belonged.
The closeness that I enjoyed with the other runners in my pace group was developed during the race. This pace team intentionally starts out slow so we were pretty comfortable and there was a lot of talking amongst the maybe 8-10 of us. A camaraderie quickly developed and I really am disappointed that I didn't get to connect with them afterwards. Our finishing times were a little spread out and I left the stadium quickly to connect with my family.
One thing running has taught me is the importance of having people with like minded goals around you to push you. My training run for the 20 miles was right about 4:30 and I felt horrible when I did it. At the marathon we got there 20 minutes faster and I was feeling fine. I have realized over time that it is very difficult to push yourself to your fullest potential when you are going at it alone. There are so many applications for this principle and I would encourage you to think about this principle in whatever you endeavor. Part of this is having people to encourage you but another part is having those who are wiser guide you. My pacer had so much good advice along the way about refueling, painkillers, attitude, and even about how much I should talk to other runners.
I have thought a lot about the team that I have around me and what they have been in my life. My family has helped me through some very difficult times and they were there to celebrate with me as I accomplished something that I am proud of. When I think back to the last 15 years of my life I realize that I would never be where I am without my them. I am writing this from Florida and while I am having a great time, it really isn't about Florida. There is nothing on this earth that I value more or have thanked God more often for.
We are down in Florida on trip planned by my Mom. She has taken care of everything and given us the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing week away. In many ways this trip represents a lot of my life; my mother working selflessly in the background so the rest of her family can enjoy themselves. So thankful for this woman and that God has made her my mom! Happy Mother's Day!