Running a marathon is an emotional roller-coaster. There’s meaning attached to every mile, and while it’s incredibly motivational to know what you can do, you usually finish with some doubts: Could I have gone faster? Run stronger? Run negative splits? Sharpened my focus?
Watching a marathon, on the other hand, is simple, easy joy, even if you’ve run 26.2 miles before. Even if you know from experience exactly what happens to your brain and quads and feet and stomach at mile 22, it’s easy to think while watching other people achieve such a colossal goal: I betcha I could do that if I trained for it!
This past weekend, Steve and I traveled with several other members of our running group to support two friends running the New Jersey Marathon in Monmouth County, where I grew up—where I started running on the trails in Hartshorne Woods and along the beach as a pre-teen. It was a great experience in so many ways.
We rang a cowbell (thanks, Katie!), which will leave your fingers numb and blistered after about an hour of constant ringing:
We drank mimosas (these helped the numbness and blisters), and learned that it’s really important to point the cork AWAY from the crowd when popping the sparkling wine. (Editor’s note: No runners were hurt in the making of our mimosas).
And we cheered so loud I’m hoarse today. We told people to dig deep, to make their training count, to go get their medals. They did, and it’s hard not to be motivated by watching their victories.
I’ve always thought I have one more marathon in me, and seeing my friends’ dizzy, exhausted post-race jubilation made me even more certain of that. I’m not choosing a race or pushing the training or anything—just feeling especially motivated to kick butt at my own training goals.
A side note: I also ran my first-ever evenly paced 5K at the Silver Spring Earth Day 5K! I ran with Katie, who’s been struggling with her own injuries, and we jogged two chatty, easy 9-minute miles and one hard, hilly one for a time of 27:52 (mine). It was my slowest time for that course, but my smartest, proudest and most fun race. I still placed 32 out of 141 in my age group. And if there was a 1-and-under age group, my new ACL totally would’ve won.
What’s motivating you this week?