Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beyond the finish line

As I crossed the finish line at the Portland Marathon, it wasn't with a sense of euphoria. It wasn't satisfaction either. Relief is probably the closest emotion that I can think of. The thing I remember focusing on the most was trying not to fall down as I received my medal and space blanket. I was pretty wobbly as I watched a lady in front of me nearly collapse before she was caught by two volunteers. I told myself to keep moving.

There was plenty of food. Since Portland is the "City of Roses", each finisher gets a rose. A volunteer offered me one but I declined, telling her "It's too heavy." She laughed. You also get a pin, a finisher's shirt and a tree seedling which I also declined.

I went to look for my wife, struggling through the crowd. I think my first words to her were "I need to stretch." and "I want to sit down." I told her about how I was disappointed that I had been reduced to walking for a couple of miles. But she didn't care; she was so proud of me. I finished and that was what mattered.

It took a few days but I had more time to reflect on things. I now can look back and not focus on the negatives. No, I didn't reach my goal time and I wasn't mentally strong enough to keep running but I could have packed it in. I gutted it out and finished strongly.

It was hard, really hard. For days after the race, my legs weren't just stiff, the joints hurt. But, it was all worth it. I faced a challenge that I've been dreaming about for years and got the job done.

On to the next challenge... whatever that may be.


  1. Yes, finishing your first just be all about that finishing! Not an arbitrary time you thought you might pull. I think you did great! The marathon is half mental/half physical and it's your brain telling you to stop... lol

    Good luck in your next running goals... I'm sure the marathon bug will come back to haunt you ;-)

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