As you all probably know by now, I ran my first marathon back in January. And seeing as how it was one of the greatest days of my life, I really wanted to write a post detailing some of the things I experienced and learned from it. So here we go.
1. Turns out I don’t go down so easily.
I don’t think I can state enough how big this challenge was for me personally. As many of you know I have been on pretty successful weight loss journey over the past couple of years, and this race was thoughtfully planned to be a cornerstone on that path. I took the easy and comfortable way for 27 years of my life, and it put me in a place where I was really unhealthy, as well as pretty weak mentally. It’s not that I was ever afraid of challenges, I just would always do the bare minimum. I had to start changing that mindset if I wanted to change my life for the better. This race, and more of the months leading up to it, really showed me that I can and will do anything it takes to achieve what I set out to. I’m not the overweight kid who backs away at the first sign of pressure anymore. I’m now looking to be challenged because I know that’s the only way I can get better.
2. I have more hope.
This is kind of a weird spot for this, but it might be the biggest thing I was thinking about while on the course. Cayla has asked me in the past if I ever worry about raising children in a society that seems to be ever changing in a negative way. It’s no secret that there is an abundance political and social unrest, as well as a climate that gets more volatile with each passing day. But as I was out there with thousands of different people, each totally unique, I couldn’t help but have an overwhelming sense of hope. Each of us, whether we were black, white, Hispanic, Asian, American, German, Syrian, or whatever….we were all out there for the exact same reason. We were completely united in what we were trying to do. We had the same goals. So no matter who I looked at, I felt like I knew them in some way. I felt connected. That race, those 26.2 miles, helped shrink my world. I could look to the person to the left or right of me and know everything thing that they had gone through to get to that moment. I knew all their sacrifices, all their pain, all their joy, all their heartbreak and eventually all their triumph, because I experienced those for myself. If we, as citizens of this world, can find a way to share the same goals, there is literally nothing that we can’t accomplish.
3. Validation of the Vegan diet.
I feel like I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t at least acknowledge this. My goal for this marathon was never to go into proving a Vegan or plant-based lifestyle is the way to accomplish what you want athletically, because I know its not the only way, but I hope people can look at my experience and understand that it is still possible to do great things physically eating this way. I will leave it with this though. I wasn’t eating a plant-based diet when I first started running and training, but I made the switch primarily to see if I could improve as a runner, and I firmly believe that I did. My recovery times and endurance levels shot through the roof after changing up my diet.