This past Sunday I finally ran my first marathon. I finished it successfully, with a relatiely good timing, without ever having a break, or stopping and walking at any point of the route. At the end of it, I did not feel destroyed and managed to keep on smiling all way through it.
And, I don’t want to brag but running the marathon itself was the easy part (minus the uncertainties that are always a part of it. Everything from the weather at the day itself, to your physical and mental condition, etc, etc.). All I did was go there and do what I had to do. The excuriatingly tough and painful part was before — the weeks and months I spent devotedly running a few times per week, finding the time in my busy schedule for it, sacrificing social events and gatherings, not drinking, substantially reducing (almost to a nul) my nights out. And the worst, or most difficult part — running progressively longer routes. It took all the discipline and power of will I could summon to make myself get out of bed on an early Saturday or Sunday and go out and run for a few hours, sometimes in heat and sun, other times in cold and quiet rain. And all the hours of running when is just you and your thoughts, and, in my case — music — which I would quickly get fed up with.
On such mornings the first 5K would be the worst. Then I would still be half-asleep, not taken my dose of morning coffee because coffee dehydrates too much, not having eaten because a long run with a full stomach can upset it, craving my bed and badly needing sleep, feeling pain in the abdomen. I hated every single step of it. I was annoyed by everything around me. But I kept on going. I hated every step of the way but I knew every next time would be easier and I knew I just had to keep on going.
And indeed every single time it would be less painful. I would be less sleepy, less annoyed, more energised, more at ease, even noticing and admiring the nature around me, I rached the point where I could enjoy how quiet the city was on a weekend morning, how colorfl the trees were becoming, how the sunlight was protruding through the branches, how green, fresh, and heavy with dew the grass was.. I was even taking photos on the way. And after every such long run, I’d feel exhausted but elevated, weak and yet, empowered. I knew that every single run, every single kilometer I’d push myself through, would make the marathon itself less painful.
And so it did. I have to say I was confident before the marathon that I could finish it without any troubles. And I saw how much every single run mattered and helped me. I saw people who were destroyed, collapsing a few kilometers before the end, so many people walking for so much of the way that something after the 35th K, most of the other runners were walking, correction — barely walking. And I finished it with a smile. Running the marathon was not tough. Tough was everything before it. The marathon was only about going there and keep on running.