As a newbie, I didn’t know about the scale and the extent of training for a marathon. Nevertheless, I gave it a shot and prepared for the 42K challenge.
Here are some of the things I learned in the past five months (not necessarily in order of importance):
1. You really have to love and enjoy running. Obviously? Yes, because running can be painful and tough. And training takes you out on the road for hours.
2. Writing a journal is beneficial. You can note down your mileage and cross-training. When the race nears and self doubt arise, you can look back at your notes and say, “Hey, I really did train hard for this race.” That will give you more confidence.
3. You’re never too old to run a marathon. I posted my finish line photo on my facebook wall and then my classmates started emailing me that I have inspired them. I want to encourage women my age to start running. It’s not too late to start dreaming. We can still get stronger and faster even if we’re already in our mid-forties. Never stop believing.
4. You can defeat your past. Having gone through an illness where sweating can be deadly doesn’t mean that’s the end of it. The Lord heals. And He heals completely.
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases, (emphasis mine).
I never knew I could finish a marathon until I took that leap of faith and in the end, I was pleasantly surprised.
5. We need to train both the body and the mind. We have to train our brain how to deal with the lows. As we know, running is tough and how we handle the lows can often determine if we can reach our goals. Music, visualization, reading, listening, and learning about the marathon will definitely help.
6. Training with people stronger and more experienced than you makes you work harder. That’s why I really appreciated the Bull Sessions (running sessions) that TBR organized. The alumni helped the current batch by pacing us and by giving us pointers. And while marathon is a solitary sport, it is a great community.
7. Family support is crucial, especially the support from your spouse. Because training can take a lot of time away from your family and if they don’t understand what you are doing, it can be very stressful. I share my medal with my family for putting up with me for the last five months.
8. The first one who crosses the finish line isn’t the only winner. That’s the reason why I chose to run my first marathon in TBRDM because they let each finisher cut the tape. Their tagline says “In TBRDM, everyone who crosses the finish line is a winner!” And right they are. It’s about achieving your dream. Every runner has a different goal from the other. One may want a sub-four finish, some a sub-six, or to beat the cut-off time. Finishing is winning.