Second Time Around - Journey to My Second Marathon

author : a.maria
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I think quite truly for the first time I 'get it'. It's not just about the fitness. It's not just about the great little endorphin rush as you hit 5, 10, 15 miles...its not just the medal at the end.

When I was training for my marathon last year, everyday was a new challenge. Every week a new PR in mileage, and every bump in the road a battle of epic proportion.

The week consisted of constant lamenting over the upcoming weekend long run, every Saturday morning a new set of nerves, and every last few steps of every run ended in, "wow! I can't believe I actually did it!"

It was a challenge. It was an adventure. It was new. It was scary. Everyday there was something to write about, because OMYGOSH I just ran 4, 8, 10, 16.... 22 miles! Holy bananas people! And I’m still alive! Still breathing! Whooooooa!!!!!

It was an unforgettable time. It was me really pushing my body and mind to the limit. In every run there'd be a stopping point, a breaking point, and in 5 months I learned more about myself and what I’m capable of than any other 5 month period of my life.

Hands down.

And I loved it. I found out what I have in me and what I’m willing to do for something I want so badly. And it not only surprised me, I think it surprised the heck out of pretty much everyone else too, "she's hardcore...who knew?!?!"

So this week, when Army Runner Guy came up to me and asked about this weekend's run and I heard myself say, ever-so-casually, "oh I don't know.. 8 miles or something. Seven. I’ll probably just do 8. Meh. We'll see," and I realized how nonchalant Saturday runs have become, how part of my routine, and how unassuming the prospect of running had become.

I about fell out of my chair.

Even Army Runner Guy who I went to without fail, e-v-e-r-y Friday to discuss the next day's run...even 4, 6, 8 mile runs-even he was a little taken aback. He says, "You're really into this now aren't you? You're hooked for life!"

And yeah...ya know, I am?!

But as I sat there, I got to thinking...wait a second. I want that intensity back. I want the fear, I want the challenge, I want the constant struggle so that I can have the constant triumph.

And without skipping a beat, Army Runner Guy said "Don't worry. You'll have it. Everything you learned while running correlates directly with life. You'll be surprised what you'll find you're capable of."

And I feel like it all finally clicked.

I look at my life right now and compare it to, even just one year ago. Where I’m living, what I’m doing, who I choose to surround myself with, and who maybe isn't the best influence in my life and...maybe I deserve more. I look at my quality of life, quality of living and I can see, here and there, signs of the runner in me in almost everything I do.

I think quite truly for the first time I 'get it'.  It's not just about the fitness. It's not just about the great little endorphin rush as you hit 5, 10, 15 miles... its not just the medal at the finish line.

In every corny, ridiculous, cheesy, cliché way-it really is about the journey. It’s the journey of the runner. Not the runs themselves, but the runner.

It's taking the feeling of, "Wow, I can do anything I put my mind to and actually doing something with it."

THAT'S what I get. And that's what I’m doing.

So as I sit here, drinking a glass of champagne, I giver cheers to you. I give cheers to the feeling of fear, struggle, doubt, pain and intensity. For without those, there can be no reward. No triumph. No joy.

I give cheers to all of you that got it such a long time ago.

And I give cheers to the journey, because heck...that’s what it's all about!

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date: April 2, 2006

a.maria