Digging through photos and photo albums to put together images for a family member's present, I came across this lot of pictures. Hard to believe that it was a whole TWENTY FOUR years and SEVENTEEN marathons ago I crossed the finish line of my first marathon!
Why did I do it? Well on a dare/challenge of course. My battalion commander at the time challenged us to run a marathon with him. By that he meant enter, start and finish a marathon he would be running because if memory serves, none of us saw him until the finish. Ya, as a 40+ year old guy I think he ran that marathon on a sub 7:45 pace and was grinning like a Cheshire cat as each of us dragged our asses across the finish line.
He was fond of saying running, and marathons specifically, were the best metaphor for life: it takes great preparation, you can't cut corners, you need a good plan and focused execution in order to finish it successfully. Hmm, I had none of those! I went into that marathon with only a 12 miler as my longest run. I was only logging 25-30 miles a week going into it and I got the experience the "wall" first hand...and in great depth. Even now I remember making a deal with myself that "if I finish this damn race, I'll never do another one"...sadly, a deal I think I've made with myself at some point in EVERY marathon I ever started. But, but, but, that first marathon taught me so much and as my battalion commander said "once you finish one, you know you can always finish another".
SO true! Sometimes just having the experience of knowing you've gotten through something like that gives you the mental toughness of knowing you can do that and a whole lot more. I wouldn't say that first marathon cemented my love of running...but I will say it taught me to enjoy pain. Does that make sense? Did you have any pearls of wisdom or learning from your first marathon?