I made a mental list in my head a few years ago of the things I wanted to do before I hit 30. Go backpacking around Europe. Go skydiving. Get lost in Tokyo. I had a bunch of shit down that sounded cool in my head but would later die off as life went on. But one of those things that I wanted to experience in my relatively unspectacular life was to do a marathon.
At the time I had just completed my first Sun Run event, a 10K run that I ran in a little over an hour and had hastily trained for. I was 23, barely in shape and at the time accomplished very little. I wanted to do exciting shit I told myself. The Sun Run, while an achievement at the time, felt insignificant and minor. I thought about doing a marathon as one of those pie in the sky things to consider, something that I’d love to do but would be such a significantly long term goal that I didn’t think too seriously about it. But I told myself I’d do it before I’m 30.
At 26 I just finished my first marathon yesterday, four years earlier than I expected.
This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. For the first time since I started doing this sport, I thought about quitting. At the 30K mark, my knees were in bad shape, my left calf was starting to show signs that it might cramp up and my groin was wearing down. But I thought back to everything that led up to that moment: the seven months in the rain, freezing temperatures and spending almost $1000 on physio bills for injuries that almost derailed everything. I thought about that shit. I realized I had come too far. And I told myself that I was not going to stop, I wasn’t going to walk. I was going to run the whole damn thing. And I was going to kill myself just to cross that finish line.
That last kilometer, I started crying. And when I hit the last 250M, I must of been running by myself because I had people all around me calling me out by name telling me to keep going. And I cried even more. Then it was over.
If you told me 10 years ago that I was going to do a marathon, let alone run 10K without stopping, I would have told you you were nuts. I sat on the curb afterwards with my head down and I hadn’t immediately realized what I just did. This entire journey to get to where I did was long and filled with pain. I just didn’t think it was going to be as emotional for me as it was that day.