It’s taken me one year + a week to post this. I began writing this post a few days after leaving London. But couldn’t really think of the words to describe my experience. I wanted to share this life-changing time with all of you, but I first had to understand what all of it meant. Exactly one year and ten days ago, I crossed the London Marathon finish line. After two full days of absolutely no food or sleep, it seemed like a miracle to me.
The days leading up to my flight to London friends + family began to reach out with so much love + support. Their excitement for the race made me that much more anxious to get there. I felt as if I really was making them proud! I arrived in London with the worst case of butterflies. I was completely overwhelmed with the city, the busyness, the course set up at Buckingham Palace – My heart was racing faster than ever before. I was ecstatic. After months of hard training, cold winter runs, very early mornings, and years of hoping to be chosen for the London Marathon, there I stood. Ready to make my dream come true.
And then Bam. A big pile of crappy news stood right in front of me. The kind of news that makes you wish you could crawl into a cave forever. My heart ached. I was thousands of miles away from home and all I wanted was a hug. What was suppose to be the most exciting trip of my life then became the hardest. There I was in a completely new + exciting city numb without the slightest clue of how to continue on. I was terrified.
I remember taking the train to the starting line. My eyes were full of tears and I was convinced there was no way I’d ever to be able to finish the marathon under that condition. I contemplated turning back and hiding in my hotel room, but I knew I’d never forgive myself if I did such a thing. I didn’t want to let everyone down cheering me on over the last year. So I continued to the starting line with an empty stomach and heart hoping for the slightest bit of luck. Maybe someone would push me to the finish? Instead I ran into a group of people who kindly exchanged motivating words with me. I then looked at my phone and browsed through all of the messages my dear friends + family sent. I knew while they were thousands of miles away, they were still there rooting me on wanting only the best. As the race began, I decided to let go of that awful feeling of defeat and breathe in the love + inspiration filling the air that beautiful Sunday morning.
A few miles in my stomach roared as it only consumed a measly 400-600 calories (in beer form) in 48 hrs and well, that’s definitely not an ideal scenario. I ignored the roars and looked to the sweet, little British children cheering and handing out jelly babies. Their kind, little faces warmed my heart a bit.
I was absolutely starving at mile 10. Where were the bananas along the course – I finally had an appetite!! At mile 15 I began to think about “hitting the wall” at mile 19. My mind was reminding me to take it easy while my legs insisted I push harder – I decided to listen to my legs. As soon as I hit mile 20, that was it. The last 6.2 miles were rough, but that’s where I picked up my speed. I realized that my body was on my side + finishing hard was how it was going to be. It helped that before the race, I planned on thinking of a certain person each mile of the last 6. That really helped. With all the doubt before the race, I knew thinking of the people that have rooted me on throughout the training would help push me to finish. I was completing this race not for just myself but also for an organization that dedicates their life to ensuring our beautiful earth + animals are protected for generations to come. That alone gave me the extra boost. How lucky I was to be a part of such a wonderful group.
I can’t even begin to articulate how emotional of a run this was. I experienced everything from joy to complete heartbreak to pain so sharp I felt like quitting.
It was one of the hardest moments and yet most rewarding time of my life. If there are three things I learnt from this, they are:
+ Never underestimate the love your family, friends, and dear ones have for you. I truly believe that love for one another is what pushes us to achieve the impossible
+ Nothing can prepare you for the unexpected hard times. No matter how awful you feel, find comfort in knowing that feeling will eventually go away – the trick is to acknowledge it and not let it define who you are + just keep going.
+ Be good to yourself. There will always be people lining up to tell you that you’re not good enough, not strong enough, crazy for flying across the ocean to run a marathon. But all of that doesn’t matter. What matters is you show up, follow your heart, and always be kind to yourself.
After one year and one week, it feels good to push publish.
ps: Good luck to all running in London this Sunday!!!