Marathons are my favorite. The distance itself is always challenging, the race day brings excitement, and you get to learn about yourself along the way. A marathon finish line is also never guaranteed and I think that’s why I feel such gratitude every time I cross one.
I finished my 14th marathon (California International Marathon) a little over a week ago and it had me thinking about each marathon I have run. Each one has taught me it’s own lesson because no marathon is the same.
Here’s a list of a lesson from each of my 26.2 mile adventures:
1. You are capable of more than you think. (Chicago Marathon 2014)
2. If you have to pee during a marathon, just stop early. Don’t wait until mile 24. (Prairie State Trail Marathon 2015)
3. Running a negative split is a much more enjoyable way to run a marathon. (Naperville Marathon 2015)
4. It takes guts to go for your dream goal. Don’t be afraid to take that risk. (Chicago 2016 – first BQ)
5. Don’t be a hero. Overdoing it got you here, but you get to race, so be grateful for your body. (Rock N Roll Nashville 2017 post-injury)
6. Let the supportive people in your life help you. I wouldn’t have done this without my incredible friends. (Grand Rapids Last Chance BQ 2017)
7. It isn’t just about you. I ran step by step with my friend Cait and was reminded yet again we can be stronger together. (Chicago Marathon 2017)
8. Living a dream you’ve had for a long time cannot be dampened by even the worst weather. (Boston Marathon 2018 – first Boston)
9. Trust yourself. Even when you are not feeling your best, it isn’t necessarily a sentence for a terrible race. (Chicago Marathon 2018)
10. You do this for fun. Remember? It’s fun. Time goals are not always the most important thing. (Boston Marathon 2019)
11. Taking the pressure off helps you run stronger. This was my bonus spring marathon where I had no intentions of going for a PR, but having that in my head actually worked out well for me. Also, FUEL WELL during. (Copenhagen Marathon 2019 – holds my PR of 3:21)
12. It’s like riding a bike? Be grateful for the chance to run. After a 2 year hiatus thanks to the pandemic, I showed up to run the marathon distance again with no goals in mind other than to finish. It just felt so GOOD to be back out there. (Canberra Marathon 2021)
13. Yes running a marathon successfully is because of training, but it’s also a lot of heart. I was undertrained, overtired, and stressed at this start line, but I ran with heart and I enjoyed myself. (Boston Marathon 2021)
14. Marathons are a gift. Treasure them. (California International Marathon 2021)
I could go on and on about each and every one of these marathons, but this is the short version. I didn’t include my finish times for most of them because I don’t think that is all that important here. I wanted to show how you can always learn something from a marathon no matter your pace or if you reached the goal you set for yourself. There really is some magic in the journey. I can’t wait to see what my next marathons have in store for me. I hope yours hold some lessons and some magic for you too.