One Year Later – Still Never Again

Today is one year since The Marathon-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. I was reminded of this via Facebook memories. I posted this about 5 hours into the “race”:
marathonweekend1
And this one when we had finally finished:
MarathonWeekend2.pngI 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!”

What have you learned from a negative experience that made you a better or stronger person? Are you one of those crazy runners who said “never again” but then went back and conquered what you had previously struggled with? Let’s hear your stories! 
* I should add that I have amended my “never again” to suit the following criteria: I would do another marathon if it were in an interesting place I haven’t been (or haven’t spent much time in, like any other country) that isn’t freezing, and if someone else were to pay for my entry fee, airfare, lodging, and food in-country. So of course it will not happen because why would someone do that? But an all expenses paid trip would make it worth it for me to try again. So there is my exception to “never again”, and if any wealthy running benefactor is out there reading this, bring it on. 😉
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