Thursday, 1 May 2008

Lemonade

I realised that my race report may have given a rather dejected impression of my race. I'm still working on an objective Blackpool Marathon review, but in the meantime I thought it would be good to reiterate how extraordinarily pleased I am about my marathon.

In some ways, even, the hurdles that Blackpool (or Crappool as Bill has christened it!) threw at me make me even more proud of myself. It would have been great to have cheering throngs spurring me on for 5 hours - and the marathon would be no less of an accomplishment had they been there. But...

One of the reasons I decided to run a marathon was to strengthen my inner resolve. And the stretch of the race where I was running past chip shops and drunken stags and holiday-making families, weaving around them on the pavement, completely alone in the race - at that moment, the only thing moving me forward was that inner resolve.

Another reason I wanted to run a marathon was that I'm a starter, not really a finisher. I get excited about new things, new projects, new hobbies, new obsessions rather easily. But seeing them through to the end - that's something I wish I did better. My training log exemplifies this pattern. But I'd committed myself to this marathon. Everyone I knew, and everyone on the internet, knew I was doing it. I had to get myself to the starting line. And once there, and moving forward, no matter how much I wanted to stop and how loud the refrain in my head saying "you don't have to do this," there was the feeling that I'd be letting down myself and everyone who cheered me to the starting line if I stopped for no reason, so I kept asking myself "why are you going to quit? Just because you're tired? That's no reason. Tired goes away but imagine how good you'll feel at the end." And I kept going until I finished.

Dick Beardsley once said that when you cross the finish line of the marathon, it will change your life forever. I didn't believe it when I was on the pre-crossing side - it's just a race, it isn't as if I'm getting shot at or delivering babies in war-torn countries or even sitting down to lunch with the homeless guys on my block. I believe it now. I'm not about to become one of those "sunshine and butterflies" unrealistically optimistic/annoying people. I'm not going to stop dropping the f-bomb in polite company. I'll probably still have trouble finishing things that I start. But I've proven that I can do something incredibly difficult all on my own, and the next time, when I run a marathon with screaming hordes of cheering fans and 50,000 of my closest friends, and it's still tough, I'll always know that I did it once without those things, and I can dig within myself to improve.

2 comments:

Joe said...

Found your blog through another blogger, and I just wanted to say congrats on the marathon. I'm training for my first half and full marathons.

It's awesome to go through all the training, the sweat and exhaustion and see it through. People who aren't runners don't understand. Congratulations again on an epic achievement.

Joe
www.fitnessgeekga.wordpress.com

bill carter said...

Hi Megan

I love this post. It is interesting how your perspective changes after you have had some time to think about the experience that is the marathon. For that first few minutes (or in some cases days, months, years, centuries) most people think "Oh God, never again!) But as you look back at what you just accomplished, it makes you a little hungry to do great things. It may be a marathon or it may even be something like delivering babies in a war torn country. But the fact of the matter is (and Beardsley was a wise man) the marathon does change you. I always feel a little more motivated? after I do marathon to do something.. whatever that may be. And the power of the marathon has certainly gotten to you as well.

I know my post about Crappool was a little harsh, but that is no way to treat an athlete. I was just a little bummed that they didn't give you the STAR treatment because EVERYBODY who is running a marathon deserves it.

Best of luck with whatever is next for you and I'll be watching to see what that may be.