I ran my first marathon at Disney World on January 12, 2014. Since that race, I have learned so much about myself and all the different things I learned during training and the race itself.

1.  Training is key: There are all kinds of training plans on the internet to try. For my first marathon I did the Jeff Galloway run/walk 3:1 ratio it worked great during training runs but come race day with all the people. It was difficult to keep up with. We eventually ditched the plan and just winged it.

2. Fueling and refueling: This is like gas to a car. You must hydrate and refuel your body especially running this distance. I tried out all kinds of different snacks and drinks during training runs to pick the right thing that didn’t upset my stomach. By the time the actual race came along I don’t think once I remember snacking on much. I brought it all with me but was just so fixated and exhausted. I found that at every water stop I took water and Gatorade and it worked for me.

3. Overpacking: I, unfortunately, fell into this category. I had overpacked my Camelbak causing more weight on my back and I honestly maybe sipped out of my Camelbak maybe once or twice. I also had a bib holder on and also my pouch around my waist to hold my refueling snacks that once again I never touched. I wore my headphones and my iPod shuffle that I gave up on it during mile 2. I was just a mess. WORD OF ADVICE DON’T OVER PACK FOR A MARATHON IT’S NOT FUN!

4. Crazy looking socks: I wore a pair of lime green compression socks to go with my race outfit. I will say this is why I was still walking after I ran a marathon and why the next day I felt amazing and walked Legoland the entire day. They worked for me and I thankfully didn’t have issues with blisters.

5.  These “gross” things all of a sudden become acceptable: I think there were a few times a snot rocket came flying out of my nose and sometimes I’d take a water from the water station and swish it around in my mouth and just spit it out,  my mouth was  so dry and collecting a large amount of saliva. I spit, I farted and almost peed (made it to the bathroom for that one).

6. Running with a friend makes it better: I was thankful to have a friend run this marathon with me. We trained together and went into this race together. I don’t think I would have been able to do it without her support and our encouraging talks along the way. Why did we sign up for this again? Came up often.

7. Training made me fat: Well not fat but I packed on the pounds. I think between the long runs and the fueling. After a serious long run, I’d binge all day on food. Which brings me to this funny. Run-gry anyone?

8. Running in the right shoes: As I said running a marathon is no joke. Running in the right pair of shoes to ensure that distance is a no-brainer.

9. Did I just run a marathon?: Yes, I did and I  have been added to the 1% of the world’s population who has run a marathon.Whoop Whoop!

10. When your social life becomes nonexistent: I mean honestly this is true if you are not working or you are running and if you are not running you are sleeping off that long run you had that day. I swear my social life plummeted and my interaction with my family life as well.

11. Who cares about pace and time: I knew I wasn’t going to finish in my goal time and you know what I didn’t care. I tried to enjoy the experience and just finish the race before the cut-off time. With it being my first marathon it was a personal best anyway.

12.  Being my own cheerleader: I had tons of support at the finish and along the route. But when that support wasn’t there I had to mentally cheer myself on. “You are almost there” wasn’t even an option at mile 10. I had to shut down the outside world a few times and dig deep to cheer myself on.

13. Stretch, stretch, stretch: Wait did I say STRETCH?

14. It’s all mental: I had to sometimes tell yourself is this really a physical game or a mental game. You hit walls on those long mile training runs. To me, it was more of a mental thing rather than physical. I had to shut my brain off sometimes and run with my legs.

15. Oh, there is a medal after this race?: I mean come on let’s be realistic here. Who doesn’t run for the bling?

16. Marathon photos are never pretty: I never bought any of the photos they took of the course. Even my own photos we took of the course they are just appalling.

17.  You learn a lot about yourself: I sure learned a lot about myself. I knew what my body could handle and what it couldn’t.

18.  I never wanted to run a marathon again: Right after I finished I cried and cried that I hated running and I never wanted to do a marathon again. I became that angry runner. I never wanted to lace up my shoes again. This marathon made me hate running. I woke up one day and said “I want to try and run a marathon again”. I mean can’t you just see how thrilled I was when I finally made it to mile 26. Look at those thumbs?

19. The look on peoples faces when you told them you ran a marathon: Then the first thing they ask you “oh how long did that take you?”. Not a congratulations you just endured a life-changing race. But how long it took you is more important. Which brings me to…

20. OH MY GOSH! I ran a marathon: I bragged and I bragged oh and I bragged. I think I told everyone and between Facebook and my friends. I still talk about it. I will probably talk about it until the day I die. I will never forget this experience.

21. “The wall”: Not an actual wall but the wall some runners hit at a certain mileage. Mile 21 was my wall. It was the furthest I have ever ran. I had to keep telling myself to keep going. I crushed that wall into a million pieces. It didn’t stand a chance.

22. Read those race signs and posters: Sometimes it’s what gave me that little push to keep going. Some were motivational and some were downright funny. No matter the type of race read those signs.

23.  Oh foam roller take me away: Who would have thought a piece of PVC piping wrapped in a foamy material could make that post long run feel so good. You love to hate the thing but boy it sure helps.

24. Say goodbye to your once pretty toenails/feet: I lost 2 toenails in the process while training for a marathon. I did all the things they say to prevent loosing them but I still lost them. Also my once pretty feet turned into a disgusting mess.

25. You may inspire those friends/family members to pick their life up: I have been told by some many since I ran this marathon that I inspired them to become healthy, to start running again, to sign up for long distance races. It’s such a good feeling to know something I did inspired someone else.

26.  Last but not least:  I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! The end.

Question?

Have you run a marathon?

Did you learn a lot about yourself while running it?

Would you run another one?

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