#chasing26.2: Thoughts on Dallas and Finishing a Marathon

Merry (belated) Christmas, and (almost) Happy New Year! I know for many of us—myself included—the end of the year can be a blur of activities, parties, family, etc. But, I hope that—in the midst of the food, the gifts, and the activities—you still find time to stop and rest.

Needless to say, my life didn’t stop after finishing Dallas. Between a work trip, playing for two weddings, and the usual end-of-year antics, today is one of the first times I’ve had to really sit down and write. Plus, if we’re keeping it honest, it’s also taken this long because I’ve been trying (and still am trying, in some ways) to really get my head around the entire marathon experience. And while I’m still not sure I’ve managed to completely “process” it all, I still want to share where I’m at, so far.

First of all, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have actually finished Dallas, this year. The DNF from 2016 bugged me in ways you can’t begin to imagine, and at times it even had me wondering if my finishing Disney was a fluke. Yes, finishing Dallas this year—regardless of the time—meant that I accomplished my goal (and who doesn’t love accomplishing a goal they’ve set for themselves?). But, more than that, finishing Dallas was the “win” I needed to remind myself that running at this distance is possible for me.

But, even as I’ve reveled in the satisfaction of completing a marathon, Dallas made me realize that I still have so much to learn when it comes to this distance. I’ve run 9 or 10 half marathons to date; I’ve finished the Disney World Marathon; and part of me thought I knew what I was getting into when I signed up to run another marathon. And yet, Dallas reminded me that 26.2 is a completely different animal. This distance that will stretch you—and break you, if I’m being honest—in ways you’d never thought possible. It is not for the faint of heart. A marathon will take everything you have, and still ask for more. So, even with all the races I’ve finished before, even with all the miles I’ve logged over the years, Dallas showed me that running marathons is still new and uncharted territory for me.

But here’s the thing: for all the time marathoning takes (both in training and on race day), for all the sore muscles and injuries, for all the internal angst about whether I could finish, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Running marathons has taught me about myself—not just what I lack, but what I am. It’s forced me to prioritize and be creative with my time so the rest of my life doesn’t go off the rails. It’s helped me learn to push myself to places and distances I never thought possible when I first started running. It’s taught me how to listen to my body. It’s taught me the value of rest. It’s made me a better person.

And while it’s going to be a while before my next marathon, I’m definitely looking forward to running more marathons in the future. 😉

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