Having completed my first marathon recently, I am still basking in the ‘glow’. Recovery week has seemed very long with only one short run logged. Wow. Listen to me talk. A short three years ago I couldn’t even contemplate running 5ks. Now I’m talking about 5ks as a short run.
It is a strange feeling completing this marathon goal. It is indescribable. However I can share one strong feeling – Gratitude. Throughout my long months of training, hitting those goals, I have felt a sense of gratefulness. Grateful be able to run, to be able to achieve distances, to be able to eat good food and endure all kinds of challenges and not forgetting the commitment needed. I sensed and tracked my own growth on this journey to run a marathon. Without growth, we all remain stagnant or die – such is the nature of Life.
On my journey I have been grateful and perhaps sharing how this has helped me will also help you too on whatever journey that you are embarking on. It wasn’t about the running distance really but an achievement of a stretch goal. I felt I achieved this by Gratitude. The following methods will guide you to a state of gratefulness.
I have my favorite or usual running routes and I am grateful for these routes. Being familiar can be boring when you’re training. So, everytime I run I make an effort to notice and observe all the things around me. I make it a game to try and see any changes to the surrounds since I was last out here. I cannot help but be grateful for these changes that keep my mind stimulated.
2. Be humble
I am not a fast runner compared to many others. However I am faster than many others. For this I am grateful. I make the effort to be modest and respectful when asked about my running stats and achievements. There is a time and place to blow my trumpet but to be humble and help inspire others when their achievements are well below mine. I am grateful for my achievements and continue to work hard to maintain and improve on them.
3. Compliment and Support
At all stages of my training and running, when this topic comes up in conversations, I get complimented on my efforts to be a better runner and for achieving or completing distances or times. It feels good and I admit I get addicted to it. During my marathon run, the spectators yell out words and cheers of encouragement and support. I equate this to compliments. I am so grateful of all the kind words of compliment and support. They got me through some tough times when I have doubts about my abilities.
4. Keep going
The only thing looming large in my mind during training was to ‘keep going’. Never give up. This overused phrase echoed in my head in some of my runs. I prefer to run and train alone to simulate the marathon headspace. We all run alone, even in the biggest running events. It’s me versus me. It’s the next kilometre and the kilometre after that. I am grateful to remember to ‘keep going’ and this has been reverberated by the people I meet and talked to. I am grateful for this message. It has keep me going through the last few painful kilometres.
I am a marathoner now. Regardless of the time I finished in, I have completed what I set out to do. It took a level of commitment and mental fortitude that has grown me as an individual. For that I am grateful to myself as much as everyone around me, whether they participated actively in my life or got caught up in my fervour for the last 20 weeks (or more). It is true when they say, if you want to change your weight, go exercise; if you want to change your life, run a marathon.