Processing my Marathon Run
Last Sunday I completed the Rutland Marathon, a steep and tough course, probably the toughest one I have done so far. I had spent 3 months preparing for this experience, putting in regular miles each week. My training got me through to the finish line without injury, although every part of my body hurt like hell.
The Rutland Marathon was gruelling and it took me 4 hours and 28 minutes to complete, 28 minutes longer than any Marathon I had previously completed. What, if anything, did I gain from putting myself through this experience ? Did I learn anything new on this run ? Was the pain worth it ?
At mile 18 I ran past a young man who was walking because he was so tired. He told me he had no motivation to carry on. He tried running behind me and I could feel this man’s heaviness and lethargy, and somehow I had to make twice as big an effort just to carry on running myself. At mile 21 I ran past a runner who had 100 Marathons on their T-shirt, meaning they have completed at least 100 of these gruelling events. I overheard this runner say to her running partner, ‘I don’t really enjoy these Marathons anymore, I don’t know why I do them’.
Maybe I experienced three aspects to the race that I can take into my everyday life. Firstly, the value in having supportive people around you. The support I received from the crowds and from the race marshalls was amazing in terms of servings of lemon drizzle cake, chunks of banana, energy drinks, and water. At the last 300 metres of the race I remember a marshall saying to me,’you can smell the finish line’, which really helped spur me on. Secondly, the importance of self-compassion. I had to accept that my time was slower than any previous Marathon time I had done and not to judge myself through the narrow lens of timings and personal bests. Thirdly, I take from this race the importance of self-belief. I ran the race at my own pace, refusing to run too fast at the start, especially when I saw many others fellow runners dash off at the beginning at a pace that was unsustainable for me. I had to be true to my own inner pace, just like I have to be true to myself in life generally. I value running for the insights it brings that I can then apply to navigating through life.