As a person who loves to run, I quickly decided to sign up for the 2018 Richmond Marathon. Twenty six miles was daunting, but not outside of my capabilities especially with three months to train.
I started to train everyday averaging ten miles a day. Jogging on the trails paralleling the James River, my knees were hitting a lot of concrete, which lead to my knees being destroyed within a month of conditioning. My usual trails in Virginia Beach are all dirt; I exclusively run at First Landing, so my body was not use to being assaulted by pavement. As a result, I stopped running for a whole month, trading outside running for a tedious two hour workout on the elliptical. I was only able to run outside within two weeks of the marathon date.
So it is quite obvious that I gained a new understanding of dedication. I was the only one holding myself accountable, and when my knees stopped me from running outside, I spent hours looking at boring walls on the elliptical to ensure my marathon dream would not die.
By the time the Richmond Marathon occurred, the farthest I ran in my training was fifteen miles, which is really short of twenty six miles. But I was really confident that running fifteen miles should not feel any different than running twenty six miles because they are both long distances and mind over matter.
On marathon day, I was really confident and I had an excellent playlist that would take my mind off of running. The first sixteen miles I was feeling golden; I was averaging seven minute pace and I was passing so many people. I was feeling good! However, on mile seventeen I wanted to quit. I was experiencing a level of fatigue I never knew was possible, I had blisters forming on my toes that hurt with every step, and my thighs felt like they were tearing. I quickly realised running fifteen miles is far different that running twenty miles.
The only way I finished this marathon was because at every mile marker I passed I just told myself
Just another Mile
No matter how much my legs fatigued and how large the blisters on my toes were getting, I just needed to finish one mile at a time. I persisted through the pain and never gave up, even when my body was at its limit at mile eighteen. I pushed though eight miles. Finish my run in 3 hours and 15 minutes, I literally started to cry not because I proud to finish the longest run of my life, but because of all the hard work I put in and just never giving up.
Running this marathon I taught myself how mentally strong I am. Obviously not in the respects of education, but in respect to my dedication, persistance, and focus.
I implore everyone to push themselves, you never know what you are capable of until you accomplish intimidating goals.