On Sunday, November 5th, I ran the New York City Marathon. The sense of pride and accomplishment I felt crossing the finish line after running (and a little bit of walking) for 5 hours and 20 minutes was something I have never felt before. I have done a lot of reflecting over the past month while walking around both NYC and North Carolina wearing my medal, and realized that through the entire training experience, I was living my life through the 5 R’s.
Responsibility – In order to train for a marathon, you have to take responsibility for your time, your fuel, your training schedule, and the way you care for your body. I had to find, use, implement, and follow a strict training schedule telling me when to run, when to cross train, how to eat, and how much to sleep. When people wanted to hang out late at night, I had to take some responsibility and say “no” because sleep is the best way for your body to heal.
Respect – I am a firm believer that anyone can run a marathon. But almost no one can wake up and say “today I will run a marathon” and do it without any training or work. 26.2 miles is a lot of miles. I am from the NYC area originally and seeing the route on a map really brought it into perspective for me. When I was living in Manhattan, taking the subway to Brooklyn to see friends felt like a schlep. Running through all 5 boroughs? Kind of insane honestly. But having respect for the people that had done it before me, the training, and the gravity of the task itself helped me to take it more seriously.
Reaching Out – I could not have succeeded without help. I used a training plan from Peloton, I joined a marathon support group on facebook, and I reached out to friends who had run marathons before to ask for advice on literally everything you can think of. I had to raise money for a charity in order to secure my spot, and reaching out to friends and family to ask for money can be scary. But I did it. Without a community behind me, I never would have reached my goal.
Reasonable Risk – Running a marathon is hard. It is tough on your body and can lead to muscle tears and stress fractures. It is hard on your cardiovascular system, if your heart isn’t strong enough, it could even be dangerous. I went to a doctor in July to make sure I would be able to actually train as hard as I knew I would have to. It was definitely a risk but by listening to my body and knowing when I needed to rest, I turned it into a reasonable risk.
Resilience – Hip pain? Yes. Shin splints? Check. Runners knee? For sure. Through every bump in the road that I hit, I learned how to recuperate and get back on track. It takes a lot of resilience, both physical and mental, to train for an endurance race. I had a hard time sleeping on Tuesday night and had a tantrum about how I wouldn’t be able to sleep all week and then wouldn’t be able to run on Sunday. The littlest things made me check my own resilient mindset, but we got through it.
Running through New York was one of the highlights of my life. The slogan of the marathon is “it will move you,” and I was moved to tears on multiple occasions. Running from the silence of the Queensborough bridge into the wall of cheering that is first avenue. Turning up 59th street and realizing that I was going to make it. Crossing the finish line and getting a medal placed around my neck as I hobbled the extra mile to exit the park. My biggest takeaway is that I can do anything, and with the framework of the 5 R’s, your camper can do anything too.