I will admit that I am a numbers person. I like keep track of how far I’ve run. I like to keep track of pace and distance. I am never one to run without my Garmin. That being said, there is so much more to running that sometimes we forget. Sometimes the universe sends us a curve ball to remind us.
Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with chasing time. I’ve done it. I trained hard to be able to get a sub 2 half. I was never able to obtain the 4:30 marathon or 25 minute 5K. Although I admit that I came close with a 26.26 5K and I could never shave off the 8 minutes to get the 4:30. But as much as I chased these dreams, I was never completive enough to be totally vested in them.
To me this race was never about the race, but the experience. It was about raining money for Sandy Hook Promise and trying to bring about change. It was about so much more for me. I was excited about the challenge of raising money for them. I was not equally excited about running the marathon. My heart was in the fundraising, but also in just getting to the finish line for those 26 angels who broke my heart and made me promise to try and bring about change for the future.
When I saw this picture after the race, I took this as a sign that those 26 angels were with me that day. They were the reason that I ran. They were what got me to the finish line. Yeah, I really do believe this.
It was by far my slowest marathon at 6:10:13. I can honestly say though it was my most enjoyable race ever. Not that I wasn’t in pain by mile 6. Not that I didn’t need to stop to take more calcium because I was feeling wonky from low calcium. It’s because for the first time I really, really took in my surroundings. Not chasing time allowed me to chase the experience more fully. This is not to say that when I ran for time that I didn’t enjoy it, but there was much I missed.
I missed stopping to take in this view and take a picture.
I missed helping a little old lady with a cane navigate her way across the street when she looked overwhelmed, (Seriously, I helped an old lady cross the street)
I missed walking with a man whose been running the marathon since 1978 and hearing his stories of how the marathon has changed. He loves the changes. He love the race and he loves how even though his goal now is to try to finish before dark that he is still moving.
I missed taking in the grit of a hand cyclist at he was hours into the race and still pushing through.
I missed stopping to take pictures with random strangers because I loved their sign.
I missed around mile 23 taking a power bar from a child passing them out and hearing his mother telling him that she told him someone would take it. Then seeing how excited he was. Best of all, devouring said energy bar that never tasted so good.
I missed remembering that even at my fastest the time really didn’t matter because as much as a number person I am that I had to look what my PR marathon time was (4:38), but I will always remember the 6 hours and 10 minutes and 13 seconds running this marathon took.
More tomorrow as there is always so much to unpack with a marathon!
Finding joy in the journey is winning. Way to go!