Life and Marathons

It's been almost two weeks since I ran and finished the TBR Dream Marathon and I still can't fully process all my feelings about it. I mean, I ran-walk 42.2 kilometers for goodness sake! The same girl who thought she'd never be able to finish the Couch to 5k running program finished a marathon. How freaking unbelievable is that?!

Running a marathon has never been on my bucket list, I just signed up for it because I turned 40 last year and it seemed as good a time as any to quell all of my weak-girl angst. I was a skinny, lampayatot kid growing up who shied away from sports because I wore glasses and was uncoordinated. For the longest time, I was OK with being the nerdy kid reading a thick book in the corner.

But something changed along the way and I began to run for fun about 1-2 times a month. Then I began running more frequently to clear my head and come up with a creative solution for whatever legal issue I was currently wrestling with.

I joined a 10k race middle of last year and survived, so I began to think of running a marathon. I mean how much more different is running a 10k from 42.2k? How hard can that be right? :)

From the time my application was accepted and I received my Welcome Kit with the training program, my life pretty much revolved around training for the marathon, which was apt because I soon realized that life is very much like a marathon.

First, you start out with the goal of finishing a marathon so you set up or follow a training plan and swear that you'll strictly follow the plan to ensure a strong finish come race day. But life happens and you don't get to follow your plan to the letter so you have to adjust accordingly.

The training plan calls for 3 runs per week, 2 during the week and 1 long run during the weekend. The weekend long run is the heart of the program because more than building your stamina for hours of running, it gives you the confidence that you can actually cross the finish line come race day.

When I got sick or became too busy at work, I would skip the weekday runs but would try to get sufficient rest so I could do my long run during the weekend. I knew what my priority was, thus, I rearranged my schedule and made myself ready to complete the scheduled weekend run.

In the same manner, the TBR team also had to make the necessary adjustments by moving the venue from Filinvest, Alabang to Clark Parade Grounds a month before the scheduled run to account for Taal Volcano's unpredictability. An option to defer was given to those who did not want to go to Clark and a second chance to defer was made available a few days before the race because of the Corona virus, but in the end the run pushed through and we all had to adjust in order to reach our goal and become marathoners.

Second, you are accountable for all of your actions.

A friend and I talked about my marathon training and she became curious about the training plan, asking if it was OK not to strictly follow it. I answered that yes, it was perfectly alright not to follow the plan because there's no one there to check your compliance. But by not following the plan, you'll be doing yourself a disservice because the training plan is there for your benefit, to get you fit enough to cross the finish line. Don't sabotage your marathon finish by being the very person blocking the path to your goal.

Third, you don't have to do it alone.

The great thing about the TBR Dream Marathon is that it's built around a  community dedicated towards helping dreamers achieve their goal of running 42.2k. From the Welcome Kit, to the scheduled talks and scheduled group runs, the community spirit reaches its apex during actual run with the alumni, known as Dream Chasers, setting up their own booths along the course right beside the official booths, providing munchies, drinks and moral support to all the runners.

Don't knock the power of an encouraging smile and supportive cheer, as they might just be the very things you need to silence the doubting voice in your head and push you to run just a few kilometers more. Since the alumni knew what we were going through, they positioned themselves around the toughest portions around the course, handing out pre-cut bananas and rock salt to help with cramping muscles, chocolates for an energy boost and ice candy to cool us down. I also heard that a booth offered lechon manok! That sort of thing only happens in a TBR Dream Marathon.

Finally, remember your reason for doing this in the first place.

The Dream Marathon has a cut-off time of 8 hours, but getting to the starting line is a months-long process with the corresponding rollercoaster of emotions accompanying it.

By month 5, I was ready to throw in the towel because it wasn't fun anymore and I was so sick and tired of training and waking up early for more training. But then I remembered my "Why" for joining the race. 

I wanted to finish a marathon for that skinny girl who always doubted what her body could do because she wasn't as tall, fast or strong as the others around her. Well guess what skinny girl, you will finish a marathon when you turn 40! You'd better believe it and be prepared because this won't be our only marathon, we're joining again next year where we'll beat this year's time. Training starts now though, are you up for that? :p

Thank you so much for the TBR Dream Marathon team and Dream Chasers who made my first marathon so fun and memorable! Kitakits next year!

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42k is amazing Jill! Would love to read more on how you prepped for it. I can only imagine the time commitment required for it and the dietary restriction too.
Jillsabs said…
Thanks George! I pretty much just followed the training program included in the Welcome Kit.

The challenge was making time for the weekday runs and waking up for the long runs every weekend which peaked at 30km a few weeks before the race.

No dietary restrictions, at least for me, because all that cardio needs fuel. I'm having trouble adjusting with my marathon-level appetite because I'm no longer in training but still want to eat as if I am :p

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