My 26.2 Marathon Personal Experience was a journey. As the mile numbers increased, my pace got slower. Running turned into slow jogging, then I hit a wall. For the first time ever, I asked myself, “Do I quit or do I continue and finish?” My body was in misery and my muscles were completely deteriorated, but I chose to carry forward and finish what I signed up to do because I knew it would all be all worth it the end.
As the season had changed from summer to autumn, I knew I needed a challenge. I had begun to do triathlons earlier that summer and was hooked, but needed something more. Something that I could truly say was demanding, ambitious and the ultimate athletic challenge. One night after school I was talking to my uncle about this desire to compete outside my comfort level. He resides in Arizona and shares my newfound passion, and suggested I run the IMS Arizona Half Marathon in February 2012. Thirteen miles sounded extreme as my longest run ever was only 4 but doing half of something never interested me so I decided to do the full marathon race that was held on the same date as the half.
The training schedule was vigorous. I would get home from school, and then would walk to the gym even if it was raining or snowing. The race was in February, which meant training would be affected by the unforgiving New England winter. The treadmill quickly became my second home. It takes not only a lot of physical force to run these long, tenuous distances, but also a lot of mental strength. Staring at the wall for 3 hours is hard to do when all you have is an iPod, and the people around you working out. Running a marathon helped teach me preparation and mental persistence. Training went well, except for some irritation in my ankle from the long mileage logged. Race day was quickly approaching and I felt like I had done everything that was needed to adequately finish the 26.2-mile race.
On race day, I did not know how my body would hold up. I felt good until mile 13, when I began to feel fatigue in my hamstrings and calves. Challenging myself as the miles peaked made me realize I could do more than I thought. Miles 18–26 were very difficult and my already stalling pace got even slower. It took everything to not stop and wave the white flag. After a long last couple of miles, I finished! I could barely walk when I crossed that finish line. I got a medal and was later mailed a wooden plaque for being the youngest to run that particular event. The marathon left me depleted, but I had finished, I had covered 26.2 miles. It took a while for my crippled muscles to recover. Yet I now believed in myself and in my body and realized that the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. My 26.2 Marathon Personal Experience leaves me ready to conquer another 26.2 miles in the near future.