Fourteen years ago, I ran my first 26.2 miles in Portland, Oregon. The memories of that special day remain so vivid till now. I experienced so much anxiety, so much expectation, so much fear…was I ready? Could I do it? Did I have the right amount of training? Would I hit the “wall”??
Looking back, it seemed like yesterday. And yet this past Sunday at the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon – my 51st marathon – I was experiencing much of the same feelings, but of course to a lesser extent.
What if…I never ran that first marathon, would I became a marathoner much later in life? I will never find out. All I know was I had chosen the right path. All the years of training and racing has changed me and let me find myself; I’ve gotten to know who I am, and what I am made of. No other sport allows an individual to experience so much – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
The hardships of running haven’t gone away even after 14 years. Like many other runners, often I still find running very challenging. Each training cycle is different from the last. Each marathon has a story behind it. The more you run, the more it humbles you. For it is not a given. Somehow, I am blessed to be able to carry on my beloved passion – without injuries, without burning out.
That to me is priceless. There are many inspirational stories behind why people run. For me, it is really about finding myself, healing myself.
As each race passes, I am more touched by the volunteers who wait and stand to cheer us, their genuine smiles greeting us at each water station; I am thankful.
This past Seattle RnR, the wear blue “mile” really touched me. As I ran, I read every single placard about these fallen soldiers. I questioned why and how this could happen? Poor innocent folks, and some of them so young.
Through experiences like that, you learn to treasure what is around us. All that one has right now can be taken away so suddenly.
Therefore, I treasure the friendships I have experienced in my running life, the coaches I have had, the mentors along the way, the seasoned runners who have inspired me, and my dear family who has supported me unconditionally.
I thank these people from deep within my heart. I am very grateful.
As I look back on my 51 marathons, I realize it is not a given. I cannot take anything or anyone for granted.
I am praying for longevity in my running, so I can continue on this marvellous journey. Yes, I have set my goal…reaching the magic 100. I don’t know if I will ever get there…but one thing I know for sure is, one down, only 49 more to go!!!
I cannot envision so far. I guess I will split the next marathons ahead into a 5 marathon cycle at a time!
With continued hard work, I hope I can accomplish my goal!
I will end this with a quote from the shoe company Saucony: “whatever you are seeking, may your search lead to yourself. Find your strong”.
By: Mabel Fong