Each October, New York starts gearing up for the ING New York City marathon, held the first Sunday in November. The route is marked by banners, and eager New Yorkers complete their final long training runs in preparation for the race. Two years ago, I ran the race, and it was a life-changing and awesome experience! Here, five somewhat clichéd but completely true life lessons I learned from my first marathon:
- Pain is temporary, pride is forever. The origins of this statement are debatable, but it's true. Two years post-race, I still rightfully call myself a marathoner. Ten years post-race I will probably still call myself a marathoner.
- Never, ever underestimate the importance of support. That photo to the right is of my family, who were the most supportive people I could imagine — I mean, check out the sign! The NYC marathon is especially great because there are very few parts of the race with no cheering spectators. And during those last draining miles, crowd and family support can take you far!
Check out the rest of my points after the break.
- The good outweighs the bad. A marathon is no walk in the park. I experienced extreme IT band pain around mile 12, and even had to stop for five minutes and stretch around mile 21. I must have been miserable, but the pride and excitement I felt far outweighed the pain.
- Everything is great . . . in moderation. In the weeks leading up to the race, experts recommend over-salting food to build up your body's sodium, preventing hyponatremia. I also ate a banana every day. By the time the race was over, I preferred to keep the salt shaker and bananas at a distance. In fact, I still can't stomach a banana.
- You can do it! Whether it's a marathon, half marathon, shorter race, or just a personal best, crossing that finish line is the most exhilarating feeling imaginable. I never, ever thought I'd run a marathon, but I pulled it off. Accomplishing such a major feat has encouraged me to go for other goals — fitness related and otherwise.
Marathoners and marathoners-to-be: any lessons to add?