Grit will take you where preparation cannot!
As I'm writing this post I'm sitting at CT International Airport after an insanely fun (but way too short) weekend in the mother city (I nearly said motherland). This morning I ran my second marathon (Cape Town marathon). Let me just tell you a few things about marathons; I truly believe that although most fit people have the physical ability to run, the key ingredient to finishing one is mental strength. I got a little bit cocky this year and went to run the race without as much training as I needed. However, at the end of the day what made me fight my way to the finish line was mental resilience. Now don't get me wrong, I had been running a lot and going to gym to attain some level of fitness, I just had not been following a specific marathon program to get me marathon ready.
Running 42km is like an emotional roller coaster. You can go through a kilometre feeling elated and on a runner's high and spend the next 3 kilometres cursing and asking yourself if there really is a God. Personally I find the 22nd, 33rd, and last two kilometres of the race the toughest. The later kilometres are difficult simply because by then you're running on tired legs. The 22nd is tough for me because I think I'm at a stage in my life where I feel pretty confident that I can finish a half marathon; some are usually tougher than others but I've done enough to have some sense of certainty that I will finish. Now with a full marathon past the 22nd km I always have to wonder and ask myself; "Can you really run 2 consecutive half marathons given how tired you feel right now?" and it is at this point where I have to fight with every little atom in my body to convince myself (even if the feeling will only last for the next 5km) that I can in fact finish. Not only will I finish but I will be happy and go on to have a successful life with happy and successful offspring who will make me proud for the rest of my life.
If there's one thing I'm taking away from this year's marathon; it has to be that grit and mental resilience are a huge component for any strenuous physical activity. I also promise myself to be more prepared for my next marathon (yes, I will be back). I can't wait for recovery week :) Think yoga, pilates, foam rolling and tons of walking.....aaahhh' child's pose, puppy pose, up dog, down dog and an ungodly amount of planks.....signing off!