I'm currently reading Haruki Murakami's book "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running". It's a memoir covering his preparation for the 2005 New York Marathon.
I haven't finished it yet, but I'm enjoying it. It's not just about running; it's about gaining insights on life.
My first moment of self recognition came on page nine.
"Most ordinary runners are motivated by an individual goal, more than anything; namely, a time they want to beat. As long as he can beat that time, a runner will feel he's accomplished what set out to do, and if he can't, then he'll feel he hasn't. Even if he doesn't break the time he'd hoped for, as long as he has the sense of satisfaction at having done his very best -- and, possibly, having made some significant discovery about himself in the process -- then that in itself is an accomplishment"
That pretty much tells the story of my first marathon. I originally felt that I didn't accomplish what I set out to do and the satisfaction of having done my very best and realization that I didn't give up when it would have been easy to do so came later.
I'm looking forward to finishing the book.