Training and participating in sporting groups is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people, as well as doing good to your body and mind.
I had been running for several years. I was a weekend runner who ran to blow off stress and to be outdoors. Over the years, I had completed several half marathons, however, a marathon seemed impossible. With a full-time career and children, I didn’t see how I could cope with the training. I admired those who managed to find time to train despite their heavy professional and personal schedules.
At the start of my expat period, I found an expat running group and was regularly doing twice weekly training with them. Running became a part of my weekly activities which I really enjoyed. Soon, I was contemplating my first marathon.
Contemplating, as I also doubted if I could make it to the “Finish Line”. I imagined all kinds of situations which would prevent me from finishing. After 2 months of intensive training which required one long outing at the weekends, I was feeling weary with the regular training. It required motivation and dedication to get up on a weekend morning and run for over 2 hours, knowing that others where tucked up in their beds.
The week before the marathon, I started to get anxious. I kept thinking of obstacles like, what if it rains, what if I get a cramp, what if my feet hurt, what if I can’t find a toilet, what if I can’t sleep the night before, what if I am hungry…The list was long!
To be sure to put all the odds to my side, I followed the advice I received in preparation for the countdown: getting a good night’s sleep, drinking plenty of water and carb-loading prior to the run. During my training period, I enjoyed eating my pasta meals as I was more hungry than usual given the calories I was burning during my outings!
The day of the Marathon arrived and I woke up feeling confident and ready to run! Despite all my prior anxiety, I had slept well and was eager to get started. Not knowing my capacity to finish or what was going to happen to my body during the race, I ran slower than normal, hydrated regularly and took my glucose gels. I concentrated on enjoying the atmosphere, exchanging conversations with other runners and saying hi to all those nice spectators on the sideline who encourage the runners.
During the entire race, I regularly reminded myself that I was going to finish. I didn’t care about achieving a finishing time. I just wanted to finish in good shape. I had heard so much talk about the “wall” which a runner can encounter during the marathon. So, when I reached the 30 Kilometers mark and I was still feeling fine, I knew that I would finish. It was an exciting feeling, to know that in just over 10 Kilometers, I would have done it.
What I learned from my first marathon is that in midlife and without a medical condition to prevent you from running, a first marathon is possible with the right dose of self-motivation and the right training.
With determination, we can succeed. By setting goals and by sticking to them, we advance on our path to success. Sometimes, we must push ourselves to go that bit further! There is a lot to be gained from tenacity and believing in yourself!
This Marathon is dedicated to my husband who ran with me, my children and my coach from the running club. Their encouragements and belief in me, made it possible.
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Author. Brid Doherty-AppriouCertain Rights Reserved- Photo from Pexels