Here’s why running the Chicago Marathon changed my life

Here’s why running the Chicago Marathon changed my life

As time passes since I ran my first (and second) marathon, I’ve had time to reflect on the impact these races made on my life. Most people will tell me I’m absolutely ridiculous for running two marathons and that “It’s so bad for your body,” and, “Excessive endurance is bad for your heart.”

But, I’m here to tell you after successfully finishing both races that my body feels perfectly fine, and my heart is completely healthy.

Running the 2012 Chicago Marathon.
Running the 2012 Chicago Marathon.

Here’s why the marathon is a completely life-changing event, and why you shouldn’t shoot it down before giving it a try:

1) You’re able to say you completed something most wouldn’t even dream of doing

Most people shoot down even attempting the marathon before giving it a try. I’m not saying everyone has the patience or drive to want to run a marathon, but I’m so tired of people saying they just can’t. During both marathons I saw blind people running, children running, and people with prosthetic legs running — Hell, they ALL finished before me.

Seriously, what’s your excuse?

I understand some might say spending months training for an event that doesn’t even take a day isn’t worth it, but how are you supposed to know if you don’t do it? After completing both marathons, I have a hard time convincing myself I actually did it. But, I did, and it’s incredible. I’m confident in saying almost anyone could run a marathon, you have to be willing to try and want to.

2) Every endurance event you do after the marathon is a breeze

The marathon was a huge pain in the ass, I’m not going to lie. It hurt…. Really bad. But, now that it’s over with, everything I’ve done since has been much “easier.” (I put easier in quotes because half marathons are still a struggle.)

I recently completed my first triathlon. Going into the race I expected to finish in pain and nearly in tears, because this is how I felt after the marathon. But, to my surprise, I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face (and my mom at my side because she did it too), and it felt so amazing.

I’m not saying doing a triathlon is easy, because it was still hard and took time to train for, but since I went into it with the mentality that it was going to be excruciatingly painful, I was surprised with how it turned out.

Since the marathon I go into races and endurance events knowing in the back of my head how hard the marathon was, and nothing else compares. It makes endurance events that much more enjoyable.

3) The camaraderie of running a marathon proves there are a lot more people in your boat than you think

Before running the marathon I thought that I was going to be the slowest person ever and that I’d be the only beginning runner. Boy, was I wrong. I definitely wasn’t the slowest person and I definitely didn’t finish in last place.

marathon3
Before running the 2013 Chicago Marathon.

After about five miles in you start to figure out what people are running at your pace. This is great because all the people around you begin to cheer and encourage each other on. You set aside the negativity and embrace the moment and realize there are so many people in the same boat as you. You aren’t alone. The feeling is amazing.

4) The idea that you completed something you never thought you could carries over to daily life

One of the best things about completing two marathons is that it consistently sticks with me every single day. It’s not like getting an A on a test, or getting my license, or studying abroad, it’s on its own level. Whenever I feel down I’m able to reflect on crossing the finish line not once, but twice, it constantly gives me a morale boost.

5) It instills a certain kind of confidence you won’t find anywhere else

The confidence I got from running the marathon is inexplicable. I trained for the marathon for about two grueling months and the run itself took me around five hours. That’s it. Two months of work spirals down into five hours. The overwhelming feeling that you, all by yourself, trained for this and completed it without anyone’s help is indescribable. It’s a feeling you can’t put into words until you experience it.

Are you thinking about running a marathon? Let me know! I’d be happy to help encourage you along the way!

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