Finished my Third Marathon!

I have been pretty active for all of my life. When I was a kid, I joined the dodge ball club and played baseball with boys. When I was in junior high school, I played basketball for three years. After that, I played tennis, did jazz dance and so on.

Believe or not, I really truly didn’t like running entire my life. I didn’t see the point of just running. What’s the fun of just running?

But in June 2004, I started to run. The reason was;
1, I just moved from New Orleans to the Baltimore suburbs and didn’t have any friends in Baltimore = nothing to do!
2, My school started in September, so I  had nothing to do!
3, Around my house it was horse country and since it was so beautiful, why not exercise?

So, I started to run. However I couldn’t run even 1 mile at that time.
My husband was a very good coach for me and always encouraged me and had never been competitive. In other words, he always told me “You are doing great!,” “That’s wonderful!,” “Nothing wrong with slow running,” and more every time I exercised.

In August 2004, we ran the Annapolis 10 miler, and I finished. It took more than 2 hours.
After the run, I could hardly walk. Anyway, I was glad that I finished!

Since then, I started to run regulary little by little. I still didn’t love running but my husband always registered me in some races, so I kind of had to run 🙂
Every year we ran the Annapolis 10 miler and some 5K races. In May 2009, I ran my first half marathon – The Maryland Half Marathon – because my stepdaughter organized the race.

Then I ran my first marathon in October 2009 in Chicago.  I still remember when my husband asked me to run a marathon. My answer was “No! It’s way too long!” But then he said “How about if we dedicate running the marathon to Nan (who was his grandmother who had just passed away)?” Nan was always sweet and very nice to me, so I decided that I would attempt to run the marathon.

Training for the marathon took a lot of time and it was very difficult for me. We had to train in the summer, so it was very hot. We sometimes woke up at 4am and ran. The marathon was tough. In the beginning I felt good pretty good, but after 20 miles I had pain in my legs. I stopped and stretched, then ran again. But it didn’t work so after 21 miles I had to start walking again. After walking for a while, I felt pain in my legs even though I was walking. I was almost crying because of the pain and thought I couldn’t finish, but I kept walking with pain. After 24 miles my legs felt a little better, so I started to run slowly. I was very emotional at that time. “Maybe I can finish it!” I also thought “why I am doing this?” But I didn’t want to quit. I just wanted to finish. It took almost 6 hours to finish my first marathon but I finished it!

I learned many things from running a marathon. In my mind, running a marathon wasn’t the thing I wanted to do in my life. Another words, I really didn’t like just running and I never thought I ran marathon in my life. However, once I set the goal and worked hard, I could reach the goal I have never imagine. I could change myself as long as I change my mind. I can turn the things from impossible to possible. Also the feeling of achievement cannot be put in words. I felt great after I finished my first marathon. Since then I like running.

One year later, I returned to Chicago and completed the 2010 Chicago Marathon. It was a very hot day (in the 80’s), which made it difficult, but I set my mind on the finish line and I made it.

This year, I was sick for the Chicago Marathon, so I couldn’t run. It was very sad when I walked back to the hotel from the start line. I trained hard all summer long for this marathon. Sometimes I just wanted to stay with my cats in the bed, but I got up and ran. I thought I was managing my eating, sleeping and exercising well, but I had a cough and fever. I was very disappointed, sad and frustrated about the fact that I could not run that day. After the race, my stepson told me that the Baltimore Marathon was going to take place the next Saturday. I was still sick and disappointed, so I didn’t feel like I could run the Baltimore Marathon.

I was thinking everyday since I heard about the Baltimore Marathon. “I still have congestion. Should I run? Can I run? Do I want to run?” and so on. Then I remembered what Steve Jobs said at the Stanford University graduation speech “If you die tomorrow, is today good for me?” then I thought “If I didn’t run Baltimore Marathon, I would regret it, so I will try. If my condition isn’t good on marathon day, I can stop anytime I want to, so I should try!”

This year, I couldn’t get the goal of “finishing Chicago Marathon” but I did finish the Baltimore Marathon under 5 hours which is my personal record.

Reaching a goal is not necessarily simple nor easy, but I feel if I try and try, I could achieve anything I want. “Keep trying” and “Keep doing”are important. That is what I have learn from running marathons.

So what are your goals? Please tell me. I believe you can reach them!