Why are you running a marathon? I am asked on a regular basis when people become aware in whatever manner they do that I am running a marathon. Just to clarify, I am more appropriately jogging a marathon. I will venture to answer this question in a better way than the quick answer I give on the fly, which is something similar to “why not?”
I am pretty competitive, those close to me and those that have worked with me for some time realize this, I not always compete with others, and I more often compete with myself. I think this is what drove me to even start running to begin with. Back in 2006 I was moving to NYC I was told by a few individuals that I would not make it in NYC, and at the time, I doubted even myself. I was determined to change my life for the better and along the way prove those individuals wrong. Moving to NYC was not easy. I needed a release for some of the stress I was feeling juggling raising daughters, a career, getting myself on my feet, and negotiating a divorce. Whew, you say, yep, it was a lot, and I certainly did not have the extra income to afford a gym to work out the aggression so, I started jogging around the block. The release was amazing and I felt myself getting stronger and stronger as I could go further and further.
Then came along some amazingly encouraging co-workers that had recently completed their first marathon, they talked me into signing up for a 5K with them. I did, I completed it and it was an amazing feeling when I crossed that finish line, I was hooked! This was the early part of 2007. I went out that year to cheer them on as they ran the NYC marathon that following November 2007 and the bug bit me. All I needed was to see that energy, determination, and to have them telling me all along I can do it, along with the competitive spirit I already possess. Just like that, I was in. I completed by first marathon in November of 2008, NYC and have since completed 10 full marathons and traveled to some amazing places to complete these races. I ran each time to be faster than the time before or run a tougher course than the one before, running my personal best in 2010. In December of 2013 I completed my tenth in my birth town of Honolulu with my parents and my friends present, I said it was my last; it was as amazing as it sounds. I stopped running regularly and felt like there was something missing from my life, lost in a way, so I decided to do it again.
Now, here we are and I just completed the Louisiana marathon, 26.2 beautiful miles of oak and magnolia trees, a stroll down LSU’s Victory hill, and the university lakes in Baton Rouge. Why do it after a three year break, this one was all about proving a lot to myself, seeing that I still have it in me. I signed up, the first step, this part was easy. I found a plan and stuck to it, this was much like the first time all over again, it’s a harsh reality when you find it difficult to complete a couple of miles. I gained a new respect for the marathon distance that I did not have before. I did however, find that satisfaction, the rush, when I completed the first long run, I was back. Maybe not. There were aches and pains and minor injuries and those moments I needed to push through to get out there and to finish. Good thing I surround myself with uplifting people who reminded me I could do it even when I felt like I couldn’t. This time, I turned off the competition in my head, I turned off the pace timer and tracking devices and just had fun on the course and enjoyed every moment rather than fighting with myself. I sang, I slapped high-five to strangers, I danced, I skipped, I ran my race!
So another completed, surely my last full marathon, although I was reminded that eleven is just an odd number to finish with. In all of this I have proven to myself that I can do it. I have shown my daughters that they can do anything they put their mind to. I have shown myself and those around me that hard work and dedication will get you to the finish line. Don’t give up on anything. Running (jogging) has always been a personal journey for me, my time, to think, be creative, and just figure things out. While I don’t see myself committing to the distance training again I do see myself staying with it and enjoying shorter races, keeping it part of my fitness routine. I have learned along the way in all of this that running is as much about the mental as it is physical, for me the mental benefits outweigh the physical.
I stuck with it and somewhere along the way, I found myself again.