So, I ran my 5th marathon on Sunday.
It was by far my best one yet but not because it was my fastest.
A marathon is a really long way. Really. 26.2 miles. 42 kilometers. 312 minutes of running at a 12 minute pace. Approximately 55,335 steps!
I didn't plan to run this past Sunday—at least not like I usually plan for a marathon. Usually, I train 4-6 days a week for the 6 months leading up to the marathon. I usually increase the mileage each week and follow a very detailed training program.
This marathon was different, I went to DC to visit my awesome cousin over labor day and she happened to have a 20-mile training run to do that weekend. "What the heck—I'll run it with you." was my response. She needed the encouragement and I wanted to spend the time in 1:1 conversation with her. When the training run was over, I loved it so much that I decided that I would really like to run the full marathon with her 7 weeks later.
On race day, my attitude was simple. Enjoy it. Enjoy the conversation with my cousin. Stay with her—every step of the way. So we did. We ran at a 12:00 minutes per mile pace and just worked our way through one mile after another. We walked through the water stops and took in gatorade and water. We had friends bringing us sandwiches along the way even. We sang together and danced together along the way and refused to let any nagging points of pain define the marathon. We were running a long way after all and it would be foolish to be pain free.
This was by far my best marathon because it was the only one that I enjoyed from start to finish. I think my life is a lot like this too. When I ran my first marathon, I was so focused on my time and how I could beat four hours that I didn't enjoy the actual race as much as I could. My life used to be a lot like this too. I wasn't enjoying the journey and my focus on my goals were more important than even how I got there.
I'm offering a way to live life like I ran my last marathon:
- Do life with other people. Connection is really why we are here so don't miss a minute of being with others. Dance with them. Cry with them. Experience them just as they are—not as you think they should be.
- Keep moving forward even when it gets tough—sometimes movement is all we have and the path in front of us won't open up until we stop standing still.
- Stay nourished—take care of your self first and foremost because you can't be there for anyone else if you aren't in the race.
- Ask for help. Other people want to impact us and help keep us moving. Let them. Celebrate small and big successes along the way. The joy and excitement that we felt as we passed the 20 mile mark will never be surpassed. We marked that moment. I for one will never forget it and I want to do the same thing in all the big moments in my life.
- Take a "It's Great!" perspective into your life. It's amazing how much better life is when you simply remind yourself that life is great. Pretty soon less than great circumstances are seen from a new view. I'm not asking you to be Pollyanna—just add the truth about the greatness of your life to the moments that exist—no matter how sucky they may seem.