I must be the luckiest person in the world. The luckiest, in that I did everything I wasn’t supposed to do when running a marathon, and still managed to cross the finish line injury free and still smiling.
I’ve learned early on that marathon is such an honest sport, that it gives back what you put in. This means that the strengths you gain from each step you take during training is what is going to help break through the “wall” and guide you to the finish line. But silly me, I didn’t train whatsoever for the race. The typical training schedule requires that you run at least three times a week, with one long run on a weekend (usually leading up to 18 miles or more) but my frequent travel and laziness prevented me from hitting the pavement on a regular basis. The longest run during training was eight and I barely ran once a week … and that is really, really bad.
Second, it is a cardinal rule that you do not wear brand new outfits to a race. It is recommended that you wear something your body is already familiar with, to avoid any potentially unpleasant incidents like chaffing. Silly me again, I wore my spanking new yellow shirt and Capri-type pants I picked up at the Nike store the other day.
Third, I was supposed to eat pasta and carbohydrate-rich food the night before, drink lots of water to properly hydrate, and go to bed early. Instead, I chomped down on pork tenderloin and stayed up late.
Despite all my flaws, what I’m most appreciative of is the fact that my body stayed with me throughout the journey. My legs were so strong and powerful that they push me forward. My knees were so unselfish, that despite the extra poundage, they still let me go from one place to another with occasional skips and hops. Despite the years I neglected them from smoking, my lungs still stuck by me and allowed me to take in the deliciously fresh Oregon air. My heart, broken several times, still beat in rhythmic melody, bringing music to my life. As I ran and walked the 26.2 miles, I talked to my body parts, thanking them for believing in me and always staying with me. They carried me through the marathon, and in life, and realized that it is, at last, my time to give back to my best friend and return the unconditional love.
My sister, who is also my personal trainer and my rock, suggested that I make a commitment and “marry” my body, just like I would with someone I love. This means that I would take care of it by loving every part of it, and feeding it with healthy nourishment – in both food and thoughts. With the marriage, I make a promise to be true, through good and bad, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer. And, especially after feeling the love it has for me, I can only say … I do.
The marathon was particularly touching because my friends Maya, Tiffany, and Ted, along with my boyfriend, were all cheering for me at the finish line. I had to hold back tears when I turned the corner and saw their smiling faces. And even though they were not here in Portland physically, I knew that my family was cheering for me from sunny California.
I am the luckiest person in the world.