On May 19th, I went to bed with dreams of running my first marathon.
On May 20th, I set out to make that dream come true.
It’s hard to write a recap of your first marathon (or at least it is for me). Writing about it brings a closure, a moving on, a sense of completion and a “it’s over” feeling. I spent so many months and so many hours
laughing, crying, walking, singing, yelling, getting lost, freezing, sweating, wondering what the hell I was doing running this town that to have it all be over just doesn’t seem right…
And yet 5 hours, 8 minutes and 28 seconds after I crossed over the starting line…
I crossed over the finish line.
I read a lot of recaps and when I sat down to write my very own I had no idea where to start. Do I do a mile by mile break down? Do I talk about the things I really liked about the marathon and maybe even the things I
really really really hated about the marathon? Do I explain the struggle to keep going when my body was tired and all I kept thinking about what I really should have signed up for the half marathon? Do I write about how at mile #25 I started to cry because I still felt so far away from the finish line but that before I could see the finish line I could hear it and those cries of pain, frustration, and exhaustion turned to elation because I was crossing that finish line without another runner and all those cheers were for me and me alone?
Sure you want to read about all that.
But my recap is a little different. I spent a lot of time alone on the route. I didn’t run with anyone. There was a pack of us that “ran together” but only because we were running the same pace. Every once in a while they’d pass me or vice versa and we’d look at each other in that “knowing” way of holy crap we’ve got a long way to go and keep moving. I spent a lot of time without my music (which is unheard of) because I wanted my mind to be clear. I wanted to feel everything during this run, this first marathon of mine. I wanted to spend time with just me and it got me thinking a lot about this journey I’ve been on for the last 2+ years.
I think running the marathon is a lot like the journey of weight loss for many of us.
or maybe just me.
When you get ready to lose weight you have these visions of grandeur. No matter how many times you’ve started, each time you decide to start again you feel strong. The right choices will be made. This will be it. No more “falling off the wagon”, no more late night snacking. Gym memberships will be purchased and you’re going to hit it hard. You’ve dreamed about what you’ll look like and the clothes you’re going to buy. Maybe you’ve even dreamed about all the things you’d like to do that you couldn’t do before: fit comfortably in a seat without having indentations on your thighs, go to the beach in something other than a long pair of shorts and a xxl t-shirt because you’re embarrassed to wear something smaller (and more comfortable), maybe take a spin class or join the running club you always used to see on a Saturday morning while your car idled in the McDonald’s drive thru…
This time would be different.
Then it’s time to step up to that “starting line”
And before you’ve even began you wonder if you’ve got it in you?
When I started this
journey of losing over 100 pounds marathon I felt ready. This was what I wanted. I dreamed of what it would be like to be smaller, thinner, fitter, athletic a marathoner. I’d lost weight run before: 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 50 pounds, 1/2 a block, a mile, 5k, half marathon. But this was different… Could I lose over a hundred pounds?
Could I run for 26 miles?
(I could with her by my side.)
But truth be told, this
life changing journey marathon could only be run by one person in order to make it successful and that one person was me. At 8:00 am May 20th I step over that starting line because while this was about running for 26 miles this was also about taking another nail out what used to be my morbidly obese coffin and earning the right to call myself a weight loss success a marathoner.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started
losing weight running this race. I knew what it felt like to lose weight before run this course as I had done it previously but this time was different. This was the real deal. Either I was going to go big or I was going to go home and let me make a little confession here: Going home was never an option. But even with that kind of determination you never know what the journey race is going to be like a few months miles in.
I felt really good for the first half of the marathon. The other distances didn’t come far off the bridge so for the first two (ish) hours it was just me and the rest of those 26 mile runners. It was real quiet since not too many spectators want to see less than 300 runners come ambling by over the course of 120 minutes. Not like the 10k(ers) where the streets were flooded with almost 3500 runners:
It was a little bit of a shocker.
But even that is like weight loss. You think you’re the only one on this journey. That no one will understand what it’s like to
try and make good choices run for so long. You think that because you have 100+ pounds to lose 26 miles to run no one knows how your feeling. Then you see the faces of those also trying to make the same choices run the same street and you realize that it doesn’t matter if it’s 20 pounds or 100 pounds 6 miles or 26 miles we all understand.
At the halfway mark I was forced to run through the finish line area as that was how the course was mapped out. It took a lot for me to keep running. Hearing people’s names being called out as they finished and the crowd cheering them on was almost too much to handle. They were finishing and I still had another half marathon to run. People
reach goal weight, cross the finish line and celebrate their accomplishment and I still had so much to lose far to run. But seeing them finish made me want to finish all the more. If they could…
so could I.
I wanted to be like those that came before me. I wanted to be able to tell people that
I’d lost over 100 pounds ran a marathon and did it because I was determined to change my life finish. I wanted those people that were just beginning their own weight loss journey to run to know that I wasn’t born thin, athletic, at the ideal weight, a marathoner…I had to make myself a success story marathoner one step at a time.
cause even those baby steps bring you closer…
to what makes every step worth it…
The finish line…