Craig’s Corner: Reflections from my first marathon.
Well, we did it. My wife, Courtney, and I successfully completed the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon this past April. We finished our first marathon.
First, I want to congratulate Oklahoma City on a wonderful marathon. The race had excellent organization and communication, and the overall city-wide support was inspiring. Not only was this our family’s first Marathon, but I also think it was so special because we were running to honor those 168 people who lost their lives in the OKC bombing. I’d like to give a special “Thank You” to all of those people who have selflessly rallied to help victims and their families. The people of OKC have turned tragic hatred into a positive celebration of good and community. They should be proud of that.
The 26.2 miles course was a nice course. There was plenty of diversity and support along the way. (Although, I do wish there were a few less hills…I thought OKC was flat!) As I reflect on the marathon, I realize there are great parallels between life and running a marathon.
Here are my top 10 reflections;
- Enjoy the journey. The journey of preparing for the race was just as rewarding, if not more, than the race itself. Of course that is the story of life too isn’t it? Don’t make the mistake of not enjoying and appreciating the journey. It is the journey that prepares you and helps you to appreciate the ultimate destination, whether in life or in marathons.
- Set goals, and see them through. To get the most out of life, it is best to have a goal and a plan to achieve it. The same goes with running a marathon: have a plan, stick to it both in training and during the race.
- The more the merrier! The more people you train and do the event with the more enjoyable the experience. Life is meant to be shared, that includes running marathons! I am so grateful to my wife for training with me and running each step of the marathon with me. The benefits of that are for another blog.
- Be flexible, yet determined. You never know what life might throw at you, just like you never know what the marathon day might be like. Be prepared to run in any weather, and know ahead of time that you are running no matter what!
- Stay hydrated. Water is a key element to our bodies. During long runs and the race itself it is important to drink fluids…but as in life, be careful not to drink too much!
- Early bird gets the worm. I think I said this one before but I will say it again, get to the race early. Get warmed up and prepared, into the right “corral” and give yourself the time to enjoy the atmosphere!
- Pace yourself. Life is not a sprint and neither is a marathon…at least not for common folk like me. 26.2 miles is truly a long distance to run. Rely on your training and pace yourself!
- Just do it, participate. There is so much to life and so many ways to enjoy it. There are also many ways to enjoy running events besides running the whole 26.2. There is the half marathon, the marathon relay, the 5K fun run and walk, and also volunteering to help support, cheer, or organize the race. There is something for everyone at every level.
- Stay Positive. Positive encouragement cannot be valued enough in life and in running. I really enjoyed reading the fun and encouraging signs of supporters along the race. One read, “Run total stranger, run!” Positivity is contagious. Don’t feel too shy to high five the cheering child, or wave at the supporting spectator along the way. Positivity can go both ways.
- Overcome to succeed. Running, like life, has its set-backs. But just like life, there is always a new day just around the corner. Focusing on many of the following reflections (positivity, goals, flexibility, partners, the journey, etc.) are simple ways to overcome training or race-day set-backs.
There are certainly many more memories and reflections but those are my top 10. There were some really funny and inspiring moments that I might have to write about later, but for now I hope you can use some of my reflections to get the most out of your next race.