Well, well, well…where to begin?
This past Saturday, I finished something that I started in July: July 4th to be exact. I completed my first marathon in 4 hours and 6 minutes. And boy was that a long four hours.
The night before the race, picking up my number!
Let me say this first, I had no idea that running could be such an emotional experience.
This past July when I decided that it was time to take on a marathon, I had no idea what I was signing up for. I had done a half before and remembered the intensity of that training, but that was also during a period of my life that was pretty slow, Dustin’s offseason to be exact.
If I learned anything through this process, it is that training for this marathon or any marathon is a complete mind game. Endurance is important and proper muscle training helps, but more than anything, being mentally ready is what it’s really all about.
The night before my race a friend of mine shared this motivational quote with me (thanks, Jodi!)…
“I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.”
This quote pulled me through those 26.2 miles. The first three miles, I was cruising: averaging roughly an 8 minute mile. Immediately, I said to my self, “That’s not using your head, Ashley. If you’re ever going to finish this race, an eight minute mile isn’t the way to get there. SLOW DOWN!”
Here are the rest of my times…
Mile 4 – 9 min
Mile 5 – 8.30 min
Mile 6 – 8.50 min
Mile 7 – 8.50 min
Mile 8 – 9.25 min
Mile 9 – 8 min
Mile 10 – 9.25 min
Mile 11 – 10.25 min (When I saw this I freaked out, thinking I was going too slow, so tried to pick it back up.)
Mile 12 – 8.20 min (Obvisouly I did.)
Mile 13 – 8.08 min
And then I stopped tracking because my body and mind were, at this point, completly numb. I was less concerned with time and more concerned with just finishing. And that I did.
By mile 20, my body was begging to stop. I kept telling myself that I hadn’t been training since July to walk: I could do that any day. So I kept pushing and finally made it to the finish line! It was my heart that pulled me through.
Overall place: 1,436 out of 24,000 +
Female place: 493
Division place (18-24 y.o.): 39
Throughout this entire process so many emotions have run through my head. On Friday on the way to the Expo to pick up my number, Dustin and I were sitting in traffic, listening to one of my favorite Christian songs, and all of a sudden tears just started flowing down my face. Dustin looked at me and said, “Are you crying?” No, Dust. My eyes are just watering 😉 Such a good lie. Not.
They were tears of joy: tears of accomplishment. I explained to him that this was so different from anything that I had ever done. I never thought I was capable of doing such a thing. At this time, I was realizing that I could do anything that I put my mind to: that nothing is impossible. I was and am so thankful for the ability to even walk, much less run 26.2 miles straight.
With my biggest fan after the race 🙂
With that under my belt, let me encourage you to do whatever it is that you want to do. Don’t let anyone or thing stop you from facing your biggest challenge. I now know that we can all do anything we put our minds to: this is proof.