What lessons did I learn when I ran the marathon?
1. Find your pace.
This is actually one of the first lessons I learned when I started running c/o my coach. You have to find your pace. In running and in life. Don’t get tempted to run faster than you could. Don’t get tempted to go slower than you should. Don’t get lulled by people who are just walking, especially if you still have the energy to run. Towards the end of the marathon, people in my cohort just decided to walk. It was so tempting to walk just like the rest of them. And for a while I did. But I decided to go against the temptation and run because I felt I still had energy left (I would have walked if I didn’t). If you want to run, don’t be with the walkers. If you want to walk, don’t be with the runners. In running, as in life.
2. When you run, run against yourself.
Yeah, running is like going up mountains. You also go up mountains to find yourself. Running is the same. I started with a personal goal to run sub-5hrs. And I was on track until a stupid mishap happened on the 13th km. I went against all advise and tried a new gel which made my stomach ache, which destroyed my pace, which made me looked with longing at every toilet on the road (hahaha), etc. I remember being ahead of the pacers, and I remembered around the 18th km when they were already beginning to overtake me. And I remembered my feeling when I finally stopped fighting the stomach ache and stepped to the right side of the road to let them through. I wanted to stop altogether, because for a while I thought if I couldn’t reach my personal goal, then what is there to keep running for?
3. Learn As Much as You Can About Yourself As You Run
In the past I would have stopped running as soon as I realised I wasn’t reaching my goal. I would have rolled over and not accepted less than my personal goal and would have had a lot more difficulty dealing with personal failure. And I would have stopped outright instead of failing. That’s what a fixed mindset does to you.
But I continued. I don’t know why. I let the 5:15 and the 5:30 pacers overtake me too. I looked at what was written on my shirt and heard Isabela shouting in my head “Go daddy, Go!” over and over again. And I told myself I was going to learn as much as I can from this experience.
And I found myself at the finish line, much much bigger than my own personal goal.
And ready to run again.