Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Marathon Training : Post Marathon Gratitude

I trained for two years to run that marathon, and I do feel really proud of myself for sticking to a goal and accomplishing something so big. Honestly, it is still very surreal and unreal to me. If I didn't have that medal, I might not believe I ever did it. I know I didn't run the entire course, but I still can't believe that I went out and finished 26.2 miles...like, wow! And yes, I'm seriously considering jumping right back into training for the Akron Marathon this year. (I mean, why not? I'm already way ahead of when I started training for my first marathon, right?) But something that I have thought about over all of this training is all of the people who helped me achieve my goal. It may have been my feet out there, covering the miles, but I had a lot of support over the course of my training, and I would not have been able to finish without the support.

Firstly, I need to thank the person who inspired me in the first place, Kate Dunning. When Kate and I first met, she was training for her first marathon. Over the course of our friendship, she ran two marathons. I was there at the finish line of the second marathon, giving her a medal. Kate started just like me, never having run. She told me that for her first run, she couldn't even make it around the block. Seeing someone who was so real to me and relatable, going from not making it around the block to running two marathons, really inspired me to get started and accomplish my goal. Her boyfriend, then fiance, and now husband, Nathaniel Allen was also helpful in the beginning. Nate had run much of his life and is a faster runner than Kate or I, though he never ran a marathon. When I was struggling to meet some of my first mileage goals, Nate gave me the absolute best advice and it really stuck with me : Half of running is a mind game. It's so true that being out there, trying to reach the next mileage goal is just as much mental as physical. Without the inspiration from Kate and the initial support of being able to talk to Nate and Kate about my goals, I don't think I even would have made it to my first 5k!

There are a few close friends who really helped me along the way. Kendra and Megan both went out on runs with me and both listened to me as I worked through each milestone. Megan was already covering more mileage than I when I started and Kendra and I have always danced together. Having those friends listening to me and being interested in going out running with me was awesome. My friend, Kinsey, was a great help too. When I visited her in Omaha this past fall, she was very helpful in getting me out on a couple of trails so I could maintain my mileage. She and her family even gave me a car so that I could get out on a trail and stick to my running plan. It was so nice to have a friend who understood my goals and was willing to help me get a few runs in while I was on vacation visiting her!

I can't even think about all the people I have to thank without thanking my mom. My mom was there every single day. There were days when I didn't want to run, when I didn't meet my goals, when I had various troubles, when I needed new shoes, and all the times I needed to be picked up at the end of my trail. My mom was there to listen to me every step of the way. She knew what mileage I had hit and what mileage I needed to accomplish. She knew when to encourage me to take it easy on myself and when to encourage me to go for it. She helped me get the shoes I needed. She listened to me talk and talk and talk about running. There is absolutely no way I ever would've been able to run a marathon without her help.

I can't list the names of every single person who helped me. I know that I would send out mass texts when I reached 7 and 9 and 12 mile goals...and I had friends who would always respond. Certainly Margaret was always ready to reply to my random text about the mileage I had just run and to comment on my blog posts about running. My blogger friends, Heather and Stephanie were there pretty early on, with Jessica coming in at the end. These ladies were always supportive via texts and comments, letting me know just how proud they were as I reached each milestone and cheering me on when it came to race day. Jessica provided me with really great information about the proper way to fuel my long runs, and I believe that running the marathon would've been much more difficuly physically if I didn't have her advice. But I want to thank any of my friends who ever talked to me about running or liked a Facebook post (Narissa, Kathy, Selina) about running, or was in any way supportive. All of you helped me get through this. And thank you to those who cheered me on at the end (Scott) and assured me that I had come a long way and that they were proud of me, even if I didn't cross that finish line!

I also found a group of unexpected supporters via Instagram. Using hashtags and following runner accounts, I found some really great people who inspired me all through my running. Some of my IG peeps are runners who knew what I was going through and some of them were just cool people who commented on the photos I took while out on my runs. So I want to make sure I thank them too : amandarobertsonn, chrisisgood, azullife, threlkelded, erikaatkins, freckleforce, vegancupcakecommander, vrombiez, musingsofkristennicole, lkerbz, missmartymcfly, rays_of_violet, smartstudioakron, themermaidclub, itsvictoriatime, zelionoto, lucylee420.

If I've forgotten to list you, I'm sorry. I tried to mention everyone I could think of. But really, anyone who has ever commented on a blog post about my running, replied to my tweets, liked a photo on Instagram, liked or commented on a Facebook status, listened to me talk about running, given me room to run while on the streets, smiled or waved as I passed them on the trail, hollered out at me from a bus stop as I ran past, helped me get to or from a run, checked out my medal and congratulated me, or given me any support in any way...THANK YOU!!!! I could not have done it without such awesome support from so many awesome people!!!!

2 comments:

  1. This is a really great post and so sweet! I've never thought about, other than during a race, the people who really motivate and push me to continue on with my training and racing. For whatever reason, I'm just over the moon when people discover a love for running and running races. I hope that this is just the beginning of your journey in running, even if you never do a marathon again! -Jess L

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    1. I'm considering continuing with my distance training to run the Akron Marathon next fall. I've written this post in my head a million times every time I ran. I've always thought about all the people who helped me get motivated and stay motivated. And I'm really glad that I started following your blog a few months ago!

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