A year ago this weekend I was preparing to run my very first marathon. What a difference a year makes.
As I sit and wait to run my marathon tomorrow I am thinking back to everything I have gone through since then. It was nice to be able to come back here this weekend and kind of celebrate being back to where it all began.
In Philadelphia last year I learned a lot about myself and about my running. It is where I really fell in love with the marathon distance. It was a weekend of firsts for me in many ways. It was my first really big race in a big city. It was my first marathon. It was the first time I traveled out of state for a race. It was amazing. I remember that weekend being a blur of mixed emotions and stress and anticipation of that race.
I learned a lot about my running then in that weekend. I learned that my body loves to run, and I am a better distance runner than I ever anticipated. I really fell in love here in Philadelphia with the sport of marathon running. The crowds cheering, the people all running together, and the sheer mental toughness that completing the distance require, it all moved me. I loved every single second of it.
I also learned that running can relax me in a way not many other things can. It was a tough weekend for me emotionally, we found out our dog had passed away back home. I remember crying myself to sleep that Saturday night and thinking that I might not run in the morning. I remember how many people were cheering me on and encouraging me not to give up and to do it. It helped me get through.
I ran that race strong that morning. Despite every single thing that stood in my way, I over came it and I completed my first marathon here in this lovely city. I learned that running can take away stress and pain and for a few hours all that matters is me and the open road. I will never ever forget that first marathon. Crossing that finish line, I felt victorious. I felt so alive. I knew after I completed that race that I would be unstoppable. I knew in my heart that I had finally found something that would make me feel complete.
I found it here in Philadelphia along the historic streets, I fell in love. I am so glad to be back here this year, in this city where it really all began. I am looking forward to going out there in the early morning tomorrow and once again running through the city. It is like a celebration, one that took me a whole year to get to. There have been many highs and lows for me this year, but now that it all behind me I can smile and celebrate. I am grateful to have the chance to be here again to do it.
So this year, I sit waiting patiently for my next Philadelphia Marathon, I am not nearly as nervous as I was last year, and I am a lot more relaxed. But I am just as excited and happy, maybe even more so that I was last year. I know I can run the marathon distance, I completed a 50 miler 2 weeks ago. But I know that running is fun and it is something I enjoy to do. So I am not going out to set any new PRs tomorrow, or race for a specific time. I am going out to celebrate the ending of the year, in my favorite city to run through :)