I’m so excited to have Jen from Peanut Butter Runner share her story with you while I’m gone. She and her blog have been such an inspiration and motivation for my own journey towards better health and fitness and my recent goal of running a marathon.
Please welcome her and show her some The More I Run blog love. <3
The Finish Line
Hello The More I Run readers! I’m Jen and I blog over at Peanut Butter Runner about yoga, running, teaching group exercise, food and day-to-day life. Samantha is on vacation and I am happy to guest post so that she can enjoy her time away.
It was tough for me to decide what topic to guest post about but I finally decided on a running related post since Samantha is training for her first marathon. I’ll start with a little background on my running. I started running a little over 10 years ago. I have finished two full marathons and five half marathons. My current marathon PR is 4:19 and my half PR is 1:52. I love the challenge of training for distance races.
The most rewarding part of running races for me is crossing the finish line.
When I was training for my first marathon, I spent many of my long runs visualizing how it would feel to cross the finish line and finally be able to say that I was a marathoner. I even listened to podcasts where other runners shared their marathon stories. Their stories brought goose bumps to my skin and tears to my eyes.
Marathon training does not come easy for me. I struggle with injury during high mileage training and it requires every ounce of mental toughness that I have to power through long runs. But I can honestly say that all the hard work is worth it when I cross the finish line.
When I finished my first marathon I instantly burst into tears at the sight of my husband and family. I had never felt so much personal achievement. Knowing that my body carried me for 26.2 miles was an incredible feeling. I have to be honest. Running my first marathon was one of the most physically challenging things I have ever done in my life but the feeling of crossing the finish line made it all worth it.
During my second marathon I hit the wall hard at mile 19. Miles 20-26 involved more than my fair share of tears, doubt and struggle but I kept placing one foot in front of the other knowing that the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon was waiting for me.
Pushing up the final hill and across the finish of the Marine Corps Marathon felt just as amazing as my first. Once the Marine placed a medal around my neck, I had a smile plastered across my face for the rest of the day.
Just a couple months after Marine Corps, I set a new half marathon PR at the Thunder Road Half Marathon. I hit mile 12 and thought to myself, “wow this pace is getting really tough to maintain” but at that point it was almost over. I powered through the last mile knowing that I was on track to crush my previous PR. I ran across the finish line in total awe of the runner that I had become. I had come a long way from my first half where I finished in 2:14.
The thrill of crossing the finish never gets old. That moment is what encourages me to continue to register for races and provides focus for my training.
No matter the distance, what motivates you to train and race?