Journey to my first Full Marathon

When I started running back in 2013, I strongly admire those I have seen finishing long distance categories. I never saw myself crossing finish lines like they did.  It just doesn’t seem possible for someone like me. I can think of a million reasons. I was comfortable being able to finish half of a marathon distance often and that’s it!

2014 came with me getting hooked at fun runs and along with it took Unilab Active Health’s challenge to “Exceed Yourself”.

ULAH and Run Rio’s Run United starts in the month of March. Last year’s was last March 16. The goal was to exceed one’s self by progressing through the series (trilogy), a magic set of numbers (21-32-42) representing distances

  • Half Marathon (21 km)
  • Afro-man Distance (32 km)
  • Full Marathon (42.195 km)

Just because I have been running half marathons for quite sometime now that the memory was vague. The most that I can remember now is that I crossed the finish line with close to no injury. I ran my best in the history of my half marathon history.

 And this was me “crawling”…err…limping about 100m to the finish line.

I was sprinting the final kilometer when both my calves contracted so damn tight I froze under the scorching summer sun…With a heavy heart and stiff pair of legs, I moved one foot at a time with inexplicable level of pain radiating to the torso with every step…

And I hit the mat! That mat I so wanted to step on since I slammed on The Wall

I felt so beaten at the same time victorious, bitter-sweet success! When I started I wasn’t in a battle against time, nor any other runner on the road…I was in a constant challenge to finish the race regardless, even if it meant slamming The Wall like a wrecking ball… and laughing at it as I cross the finish line…

October 05, 2014 — The day that made my eyes glassy as I crossed the finish line. Never in my wildest dreams have I thought of running a full marathon and finish with so much pride. The experience was surreal! My legs, my calves, they were hanging in there, moving under the sweltering morning heat. With 14 kilometers remaining, my back started screaming silently. I was in the brink of giving up, to sit on the roadside…I reminded myself that I must make it because I want it, because I did not come to be defeated…I came to finish what I’ve started…

And I told myself…”so this is how it feels like…”  No, I’m not talking about the pain. I didn’t feel the burning and stabbing sensation of that horrendous blister and muscle contractions all over…it was pure joy…that which made me forget what “pain” was…Finally, a realization of a dream that began when I crossed my very first starting line back in 2013…this has got to be one of my greatest achievements…

When I crossed the finish line, the race has ended…but the story of 42Km races has just began…

“A marathoner is a marathoner regardless of time. Virtually everyone who tries the marathon has put in training over months, and it is that exercise and that commitment, physical and mental, that gives meaning to the medal, not just the day’s effort, be it fast or slow.  It’s all in conquering the challenge.” – Mary Wittenberg, President, New York Road Runners Club

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