Of all the km's I've run the last few years - I've learnt more about 'life' than I have about 'running'.
And I was again privileged to line up at the start line of another marathon (#5) in Sydney on the 17th of September.
I learnt a hell of a lot in the weeks and days leading up to it, during the race itself, and reflecting afterwards. So I wanted to share a few of these learnings with you - incase any resonate, in life, or running ;)
1. Have a goal, no matter how crazy it might be
For the 1st time in a while I wasn't training for a big marathon, I didn't want that 'pressure', but it wasn't working for me. So just 4 weeks out - I signed up to Sydney Marathon. And I got my mojo back ;)
2. No expectations - don't be too attached to an outcome
I certainly ticked this box ;) Albeit I had a base level of fitness, I hadn't done 10% of the km's I would usually training for a marathon. So I had 'zip' expectations. And besides getting a head cold a few days out, the relaxed approach felt good! During the race - I didn't look at my watch once (besides for nutrition intake), I literally had no idea what time I was on, until I crossed the line.
3. Find a holistic approach that works for you
Running for me is now far beyond the 'physical' - more than training, massage & nutrition - I use a combination of reiki, kinesiology, affirmations, a bucket load of self belief and even sound healing! It's brilliant, and I can't go 'back' now - but find an approach that works for you. And trust it doesn't have to be a 'traditional' one.
4. Be fully present - don't miss the 'now'
How often do we analyse the past or worry about how far we've got to go? Well this can amplify big time in a marathon! And it's not overly helpful during a race (especially if you have 20km's to go!). I worked hard to really focus and ground myself in each moment, not letting my mind take me forward or back.
5. EnJOY every bit of the journey
I chose to extract and give as much joy as I could during those 42.195 km's - be it high 5-ing kids on the sidelines, giving words of encouragement and a pat on the back to people hurting as I ran past, yelling 'thanks' to the volunteers, taking in the view - I tried to absorb it all, and it didn't take much ;)
6. Adjust moment to moment
Choosing to run by 'feel' rather than any planned 'time' - gave me the freedom to really be in 'tune' with my body, and monitor more closely what 'pace' (free of expectations) it wanted to go, then adjust accordingly, whatever that involved. The best plans are fully adjustable - it just takes freedom and trust to actually adjust.
7. Let others on your journey
They're often just waiting for your permission! I'm not suggesting everyone 'Facebook lives' their marathon ;) but I loved it! And from the comments, people watching seemed to enjoy it too ;) How awesome is it, that each of us has the ability to let others on our journey? For us - yes, but for them too!
I might have appeared to sign up on a bit of a whim, and not have a lot of training in my legs - but come race day, there was a lot of precision that went into every bit of it, and I ran a PB - 3:44 (Personal Best in running lingo!).
It just goes to show what's possible - if we allow possibility.
Life is most certainly a marathon - full of twists and turns, ups and downs - but take a moment to reflect on these 7 learnings. Maybe there's one you could do with a bit more of right now? Or just keep them in your 'marathon for life' toolkit ;)