It was my second half marathon; I trained hard and ran harder. I literally sprinted across the finish line trying for a few seconds quicker of a time… I bend over with my hands on my knees trying to catch one full breath, stand back up, look around and think to myself…. “Alright, now I just have to do that twice.”

At that very moment I decided the next spring in the year of 2016 when I’d be 26 years old, I would run my first full marathon… 26.2 miles. HOLY $H!T.

Now, there are a handful of folks (my very dear husband being one of them) who cannot even fathom the possible joy in voluntarily running that distance, but there are the spare few who share the need for personal challenge. SO, for my kindred spirits, the things I learned from my first 26.2…

  • Runner’s high… that shit is real and it is completely utterly glorious.
  • Your body will go 10x further than your mind is telling you. Get past that initial block and you’ll go miles (literally).
  • Whatever you use as your “gear hold” while running, be it a backpack, FlipBelt, one of those horribly awkward looking water bottle fanny packs… As long as you’re stocked with a few Band-Aids, tissues and chapstick you can make it through anything. [Even falling flat on your face whilst staring at the ocean on a vacation run. Oh you bet that’s a true story.]
  • You will eat more than you ever thought possible, and despite that eating you will always be hungry.
  • The weekend weather forecast will be the most important thing on your radar from Wednesday on, until you check that long run off your training plan.
  • While you’re training plan may seem like the holy bible, it is not. Small puppies and children will be okay if you have to take a break due to an injury, vacation, late work nights or the occasional bottle of wine.
  • When your significant other offers you a foot rub, regardless of the time or place, say yes.
  • Regardless of how often you typically do laundry, you’ll do it at least once a week just to have those “special socks” and the “good sports bra” for your weekend long run.
  • Family and friends will be annoyed at first when you refuse to meet for drinks or stay out late, but trust me… when they see you cross that finish line, they’ll take back anything they ever said.
  • Your mom will worry about you, the stress you’re putting your mind and body through. But she’ll also brag to all her friends that yea… her daughter is running a marathon.
  • Don’t always run the same routes or trails and purposefully train in varying weather. You’ll never be prepared to run the first 16 miles in 38-degree weather with sideways winds, BUT, variation will help.
  • Let your mind go. When you reach the point where you’re out running hours at a time (for a measly training run) you might as well use it to your benefit and daydream about the wonderful things in life.
  • Be proud. Be happy. Be ecstatic. You are a part of the mere 0.5% of the U.S. population doing this crazy of a thing. And despite how you finish – YOU. KICK. ASS.

About Melaina Johnson

Kitchen lover and fitness addict, marketing nut & puppy parent, keeping calm & collected for a happy life.