Wednesday, October 5, 2011

26 thoughts on 26 miles

1. Yesterday's failure can lead to tomorrow's success. I was disappointed in how I ran my first marathon, but what I learned from the experience prepared me for my second. This time around, I added more protein to my diet, did more speed work and took more rest days, carried a water bottle during the race to make sure I got enough water and tried to relax and take it easy in the first half.

2. Life is not so much about what happens to you but more about how you react to it. When it pours, you can complain about it and stay inside or you can get out there and make the best of a crappy day.

3. People are seriously awesome. It's amazing how many people are willing to stand out in the rain for hours, handing out water/snacks and cheering for strangers.

4. That which doesn't kill you makes you awesome. When I crossed the finish line, everything hurt, but it was still the best feeling ever.

5. Anything you eat after running 26.2 miles will be the best thing you've ever tasted.

6. The harder it is, the more satisfied you'll feel. No one runs a marathon because it's easy, they run it because it's hard.

7. I will never be one of those people who look good while running. I will always look half dead in all race photos. But I will be too tired to care.

8. If I run in the rain for 4 hours, my ponytail will become one giant dreadlock. Which will be helpful if I ever decide to become a Rastafarian.

9. It's possible for my stomach to be so confused that it feels hungry and nauseous at the same time.

10. Mile 24 of a marathon is the only time I will ever look at a Reese's peanut butter cup and not want to eat it.

11. A marathon is like a really intense version of Trick or Treating. You dress up in spandex, windbreaker and fanny pack and run from place to place, where people hand you drinks and food.

12. Running, like life in general, is better with company. One day I would love to run an entire race with a friend and finish together, but encouragement from random strangers along the way is nice too. Especially if they have an Australian accent. I could have listened to that pace leader guy talk all day.

13. Always cut the corners (advice from pace leader at mile 1). This is terrible advice for life, but great for running. 26.2 is long enough without adding any extra distance by running the outside of the turns.

14. Stay off the yellow line. I like the feeling of running in the middle of the road, but those yellow lines are slippery when wet.

15. Humor makes everything bearable. There is a lot about running a marathon that is comical and/or crazy. Everywhere I looked I saw people with funny shirts, funny hats or funny signs, people wearing garbage bags to keep the rain off, people peeing at the side of the road. Laughter really can keep you going.

16. Crazy loves company. It's pretty awesome that over 2300 people were willing to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles in the pouring rain.

17. Even the elites have bad days. There were a few people at the race who were trying to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, but unfortunately none of them made it due to the poor weather conditions. Regardless of speed, everyone has good days and bad days. You have to learn to take them both in stride.

18. At every race, the people I'm most impressed with are the oldest. I hope I'm still running when I'm in my sixties and seventies.

19. My body is surprisingly strong. I doubted my ability to run this race up until the second I reached the finish, but my body did everything I asked of it with very little complaint.

20. Running is a constant lesson in humility. One day you will run 26 miles, and the next it will seem a herculean effort just to walk up the stairs.

21. The farther and faster I run, the more I wonder what else I am capable of. This will either lead to danger or epicness, hopefully a little of both.

22. The last 6 miles of a marathon feel just as long, if not longer, than the first 20.

23. In those last 6 miles, you will wonder what the hell is wrong with you that you could have ever thought this was a good idea. You will swear that you never want to do it again. But when you cross the finish line, you know it's only a matter of time before you come back for more.

24. Accept the things you cannot change. It's only rain. It's only cold. It's only temporary. Enjoy the journey.

25. When in doubt, breathe, relax and let go. Everything will work itself out eventually.

26. There's something about running a marathon that makes everything in my life better.

.2 If a restaurant claims that its spaghetti sauce is "to die for," it is a lie. Unless they mean that people have actually died after eating it. That could be true.

Lyric of the moment: "You can do a lot in a lifetime if you don't burn out too fast. You can make the most of the distance. First you need endurance, first you've got to last..."

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