On October 22nd, I completed my first marathon. Alongside my husband, Geoff, and our good friend, Bob, I crossed the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. After 5 longs months of training and preparation (and saying “no” to so many things I love, like going out with friends on a Friday night or having a glass or two of wine just because), I finally got to experience the feeling of accomplishment that you get after running 26.2 miles for the first time. To say it is indescribable is an understatement. I am now a member of the 0.5% of the US population that can say “I ran a marathon!”.
But now that it’s all over, I’ve had a few days to decompress and reflect on what running a marathon has taught me. I’ve learned some lessons that apply not only to the marathon, but to life, and they are lessons that I’d love to pass along to others, especially Mallory & Jacob. Maybe someday, one or both of my children will also want to be able to say, “I ran a marathon!” But if not, hopefully the lessons I learned because I really wanted to be able to say that will help them in whatever goals they really want to achieve themselves.
Life Lessons Learned from My First Marathon
1. Set high goals for yourself…a challenge is good and always keeps you striving to be a better version of yourself.
2. Getting up early to “seize the day” has amazing results for your mind and body. Do it. You’ll be happy you did.
3. You can do anything you set your mind to.
4. Hard work and determination really do pay off.
5. Never give up.
6. Your body is capable of remarkable things so be good to it. Go easy on the crappy foods and alcohol (yes, even the wine! ).
7. Your mind is capable of even more remarkable things. Mind over matter is indeed the case. Mental toughness can conquer physical weakness.
8. A reliable friend/training buddy is invaluable (thank you Bob & Geoff!).
9. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
10. You don’t have to look like a marathoner to be one.
11. You can’t beat the feeling when you accomplish something that you once thought was impossible.
12. Never underestimate the importance of being prepared.
13. Encourage others when they need it and welcome encouragement from others when you need it.
14. Physical pain is temporary.
15. When the little voice inside your head starts to say, “I can’t”, tell the big voice inside your heart to yell, “Yes I can!”
16. Often, when you are really close to success, the desire to quit is the greatest. Don’t do it!
17. Your true friends will support even your craziest ideas and will celebrate your success with you. Your “not-so-true” friends…well, they won’t.
18. Pace yourself…one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. Don’t try to keep up with everyone else; just hold your course and keep your own pace.
19.When you are struggling through an uphill, have faith because there is always a downhill after an uphill!
20. You’ve got a true partner in life if you have a spouse who is willing to run a marathon with you! (I love you Geoff!)
Contributed by Melanie Loiselle Mongeon