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My First Marathon Experience

My First Marathon: 2013 Long Beach Marathon

Last October, I accomplished something that I thought I would never even attempt to try to complete. Yeah, I’ve said in the past that I would like to run a marathon one day. But, I never said it with any seriousness or motivation to actually run it. Personally, I felt it was a physical feat that I was not capable of; like dunking a basketball or flying.

Running the marathon was one of the most, if not the most physically and mentally demanding event in my life. The training alone was very physical due to the fact that I had to log in miles upon miles on top of my hectic schedule. Juggling my work commitment, two toddlers, and daily life’s tasks made it difficult to stick to a regular training regimen.

2013 Long Beach Marathon

My first Marathon finish! 2013 Long Beach Marathon

But, despite all that, I was able to complete my first marathon. It may not be a respectable time to many, but I set out to complete it in under 5:30:00. And I finished in 5:28:31.

Here is what I learned in those five-plus hours:

I learned I am not alone. Walking to the starting line at 5am, I felt all by myself. I did not have a running partner with me to run, but then again, all of my training runs were solo runs. As I stood behind the starting line in the midst of all the nervous runners, minutes before the race, I realized that I am not alone. I am not running this marathon by myself. I was surrounded by thousands of other fellow runners who will be sharing the same 26.2 miles of pavement with me. We were going to finish this race together; we were all going to experience the same emotions; excitement, joy, pain, and triumph.

I learned motivation. Why was I doing this to myself? As a matter of fact, why would ANYONE put their body in this grueling situation? It wasn’t until around mile 18 that I started to hit that so called “marathon wall”. First it was physical, my quads slowly started to cramp up and and my legs felt like they were concrete bricks tied to them. I was slowing down and when I did, the leg cramps would get worse. I can only describe it as running in waist-high Jell-O with someone giving you a Charlie Horse with every step. I was about ready to quit at that point.

Instead of pulling off to the side and have one of the volunteers wheel to the finish line, I found my motivation to finish. I pictured my girls running in front of me leading the way. When I slowed to to an almost stop, I could hear my wife and daughters cheer me on and I couldn’t let them down. I was determined to finish. My family was my motivating factor.

Running From Debt in Paradise

I learned what it takes to accomplish a goal. The first step is always the biggest step. Consistency accomplishes goals. Whatever your goal is; running a marathon, losing weight, paying down debt, being consistent is the key to making that goal a reality. I am definitely going to take this to heart.

I learned running is a mental sport. Long distance running is definitely a mental sport. I always attribute the 80:20 rule to running in that it is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. The last 6.2 miles was very brutal. I had to tell each leg to take a step, take a step, take a step. I tried to pick up my pace, but my body resisted to just a slooow jog.

Jet Blue 2013 Long Beach MarathonAwesome banner from jetBlue!

If you ask me when my next marathon is, I will tell you when I am ready. Possibly next year when the dust settles with baby number 3. For now, I will be sticking to half marathons to stay in shape. I definitely want to run more marathons in the future, it’s just psyching myself out to get back into the training mode.

Although I ran the Long Beach Marathon back in October 2013, It has taken me over 4 months (Jan 2014) to get up and write this post or any post for that matter. But, for this year, I plan on bigger things for Running From Debt and I hope you all follow along!!!

Thanks for Running With Me!!

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Jenn January 27, 2014, 6:19 pm

    What wonderful lessons.

    I told my husband that I will “run” a marathon before I turn 40. I realize that I need to strike while the iron is hot, and so it’s starting to look like January is it for me. On the one hand, I know I can do it, but on the other, there are so many fears and anxieties about it. It’s definitely a mind-boggling undertaking, but I am definitely going to keep your learning experiences in mind as I go forward.

    Thank you for sharing :)
    Jenn recently posted…distractionsMy Profile

    • Ron January 27, 2014, 6:35 pm

      Hi Jenn, thanks for stopping by!! You can definitely do a full marathon. It is so much more than just doubling the half marathon in a sense. Training for a full takes a little bit more commitment, but it is totally attainable. I never thought I would finish either. It was a pipe dream for me until I committed myself to crossing it off my bucket list.

      You can do it!! I look forward to hearing how your marathon experience is in the future!!
      Ron recently posted…My First Marathon ExperienceMy Profile

  • ganeeban January 29, 2014, 4:18 pm

    Hi! Thanks for sharing! I was also a first time marathon runner in 2013 (December)! My experience is very parallel to yours in this post. Chris (at http://www.marathonliving.com) posted an IG the other day that said something like “I dare you to train for a marathon and not let it change your life”! The training is grueling and it takes a toll emotionally and physically, but there is nothing sweeter than being at mile 26 and knowing you have 0.2 miles to go complete a amazing task/goal/feat.
    ganeeban recently posted…Shine Bright!My Profile

    • Ron February 1, 2014, 12:05 am

      Hi Ganeeban! Congrats on your first marathon also!! You wanna know what was driving me to the finish line, aside from seeing my girls? I had the 5:30:00 pace group literally behind me!! All I saw was the shadow of the balloons that the pacer was holding and I just hightailed it as much as I could. I would get tired and slow down until I saw the shadow of the balloons again!! It’s such an awesome experience and such a huge accomplishment!! Good luck on your races for this year!

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