And this one when we had finally finished:
I still stand by those two posts, much to the surprise of all my runner friends who said “never again” themselves and have since done insane things like multiple other marathons and even ultras. (You people are messed up. You know who you are.) Others have been surprised that I haven’t wanted to do another just to have a good experience at one because I know – and I do know – that it would be better than this one was.
Surprisingly, despite that I still don’t want to do another and despite how utterly miserable it was, I have long since decided that stupid marathon was worth it. Here’s why:
1) I met a wonderful friend, Emily, in the trenches of mile 18 or so, and she has ended up being a huge blessing to me. We’ve since had several more adventures, and I hope there will be more this year!
2) I learned that I never want to do that again – and, having finished, never need to.*
3) I learned that I am strong and I can do anything. I was in intense pain for about 16 miles of the race. No real idea what went wrong; we did everything right, but it was just a really bad day. For a while, trudging around mile 21, I kept a meager pace by chanting sometimes in my head, sometimes aloud, “Never ever ever again. Never ever ever again.” But we prevailed. We did it. We finished. When the sweepers were looming, instead of giving into the sweet idea of putting ourselves out of our misery and taking a bus to the finish, we dug deep into bone-dry wells and kept moving until the finish line. When since faced with difficulties I’ve said to myself, “If I could finish that stupid marathon, I can do this!”