When I crossed the finish line, I kept expecting a wave of emotion to hit me. That sense of accomplishment and pride. Especially with how emotional I was feeling before the race, surely afterwards I would experience some of those end-of-race-tears?
Well, not exactly. As I approached the finish line, I suddenly remembered the cameras, lifted my arms slightly out to the side and looked off to the side.
It was a strange feeling. Usually I'm all about the camera- hamming it up, vying for attention.. not so much this time. I kind of just wanted it to be over with. I was sick of running in the fog, I was sick of being alone, I was frustrated with my iPhone dying, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to find JW.
It was about 2 seconds after I had crossed the finish line that I heard JW call out my name. You'd think seeing my fiancé right where I hoped he would be (he's the first person to ever line up to see me finish) would entice some emotion out of me... nope. Most of what I was feeling was relief, and curiosity as to what my time was.
So, no tears. No swelling sense of pride. Why?
In the past week of rest, I've been trying to really analyze why I run. It's clearly not for the sport itself. I think I might not really enjoy the physical act of running. It's something emotional about it - Do I crave the race atmosphere? Maybe, but I was slightly annoyed by all the racers. Do I run for the social aspect of it? No, because I run alone. Do I run so I can brag, "I ran x amount of miles today"? Do I run so I can eat? So I have an excuse to go outside? So I'm not confined to a gym?
I'm not really sure.
People keep asking me, "How did you do it?" and I don't know what to say. I trained, I ran. I put one foot in front of the other. I kept going. People also ask me, "How does it feel?" ...again, I don't really know. To the people who aren't runners (and I still struggle to identify myself as a "runner"), I have no idea how to articulate what it feels like to run 26.2 miles. It's hard, it's painful. My legs were tired but my cardiovascular system was still intact, so I wasn't out of breath during the race.
I also don't want to be one of those marathoners that just talk your ear off about it. I'm very aware of the running community and the non-running community - there's that joke, "How do you know if someone's run a marathon? Don't worry, they'll tell you." I mean, I kind of hate that but it's true and I don't want to just brag and brag and brag. So I'll stay quiet for now.
I both feel and do not feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I don't want to scream from the top of a mountain, "I ran a marathon!". Running a marathon was just for me- so that I know that I did it. At the same time, I kind of do want to scream it at the top of my lungs. I mean, I checked something off my bucket list - something healthy and something that not a lot of people can say they've accomplished.
And you know what? I'm proud of myself, and I feel good. And that's all that really counts, right?
If you're wondering whether or not you should run a marathon... just do it. Do it, and see what happens.
Overall thoughts on the Nike Women's Marathon: Lots of hype, not a lot of return on Nike's part. Sure, it was my first marathon and that means a lot to me, but I felt kind of pushed around at the Expo because of all the people, and I hated that the last half of the course was a huge out-and-back. Soooo boring.
They also boasted firemen in tuxedos giving out our Tiffany necklaces - this was just okay. The dude didn't even smile at me when he handed me mine. I saw other runners being picked up by younger looking firemen (mine had white hair), but I thought that was a big let down, especially since that was one of the things that they kept repeating over and over and over again.
The thing I hated most was crowds. It was so crowded. People were lining up to get their free food in the cold. I know there was something about the government shut-down and that since most of the finisher's area was on federal land, they had to cut it in half. I get that. But still. I wish the finisher's area had at least been inside a huge tent so we could have warmed up more. I also wish that, before the race, we could have waited inside as well.
Would I do it again? Maybe. I'm not sure. I still don't think one week of reflection is enough, so who knows what I'll think less than a year from now. Who knows what my life will be like less than a year from now? I'll be 25 and married - will running still be a big part of my life, or will I have moved on?
I guess we'll just have to see.... :)
Overall emotion: Positive! :D