A couple of people have asked me what I have taken away from this whole marathon experience; and to be honest I never really know what to say.
Having given it more thought, I came up with the following things that I learned from this experience:
I am absolutely stronger than I ever thought possible!
I never thought that I would be able to call myself a runner (and not feel like a fraud), let alone a marathoner. As I have said a thousand times before - I never in a million years would have thought that I was capable of running 26.2 miles. Heck, a little over a year ago, I didn't even think I was capable of running 13.1 miles. But I truly believe that if you want something bad enough (and are willing to put the time and effort in) there really is no limit to what you can accomplish.
The marathon was hard.
But the training was HARDER!!!
The training was hands down harder than the actual marathon. The race is one fleeting moment in time; that is over before you know it. The hard part is the training. The commitment it takes to stick to your training plan is tough. Day after day, week after week, month after month you have to run. Whether it is getting up early or running at night - you HAVE to get your training runs in!
I'm not going to lie - It's tough! But sooooooo worth it.
Did I complete every training run? Or run the scheduled amount of miles every week?
If you have been following my blog than you know that the answer is a big fat NO.
But I did most of the runs. I ran most of the miles. And it all paid off!
Having some sort of support system is essential (especially if you have kids).
Training is beyond time consuming. I couldn't have trained properly for the marathon if I didn't have the love and support of my family and friends. Besides needing help with watching my girls while I did my long training runs; I also relied on the moral support that my friends and family gave me. Having someone encouraging and supporting you makes all the difference in the world. They are there to remind you that you are capable and that you will accomplish your goal.
You don't have to buy expensive stuff to have a great race.
Although I do strongly suggest investing in a good pair of running shoes. I think it is absolutely worth it to take the time to get properly fitted for the right shoe. However, besides your shoes, I don't think you need to worry about buying the most expensive running gear out there. I trained for and ran the marathon in $12 sports bras from Nordstrom Rack, $20 pants and $20 shirts from Old Navy. Whatever you decide to wear, make sure you try out your running outfit on a couple of long runs prior to your race. You don't want any surprises.
The saying that the marathon is mostly 'mental' is absolutely true.
Having an awesome running play list definitely helped me out.
Most of all, have fun!
Enjoy the journey of training; and bask in the glow of your accomplishment!