First, the physical. I had pretty significant blisters on the ball of my feet, both of them. One had a blister a bit smaller in size than a credit card. Luckily, they have pretty much healed, although the feet are still a bit tender.
And I moan a lot when I get up from a lying or sitting position, particularly when I have been there for a long time. I sound just like an old man. Which I suppose I’m becoming.
Fortunately, there really hasn’t been any other physical ailments. I’ve recovered really well.
The biggest changes have been mental.
You know, the end of the marathon itself had not been one where I was in the best of mental states. For about the last ten miles or so I had such a challenging time with the heat, dehydration, and everything else, that the end of the marathon took so much out of me — I was struggling and in such pain that I couldn’t think about what it meant. I was just so over everything and was ready to finish and take my shoes off.
But the longer I get away in time from the marathon, the more it means to me. I didn’t go into this marathon “for myself” — I did this really for to celebrate my 5 years of being disease free, the cause, to expand my involvement, to raise money, and to be an even bigger motivator to others. For me, it was never a question in my head that I’d finish the marathon. Of course I was going to finish the marathon. I’ve been around the Team in Training program, and knew it was very good in helping new runners finish a marathon, and I knew the program would help me to do that. So it was never a question I would complete it.
But it’s hit me in the last couple of days — wow, I just completed a freakin’ marathon! That’s a HUGE deal, as impressive as other things I’ve done in life. One of the TNT captains noted that, if estimates that 280,000 people in this country have run marathons, and there are about 300 million US citizens, that means that roughly only 1 in 10,000 people have completed a marathon. Not that many people! It’s impressive an achievement, even without all the other things about it. Particularly me, someone who’s not been athletic in any way in my previous 43 years, some dabbling in high school football notwithstanding.
Another thing I’ve realized is not that I’ve just completed it, but what it took to complete it. One of the TNT coaches, the one who ran with me to the finish line at the marathon, made this comment about me finishing in light of the problems I had — he said, “Anyone can run a marathon when they are feeling well but it takes a lot more to stick one out when you are not. You showed me a lot out there on Sunday, you have a lot to be proud of.” He’s quite inspirational himself. More on him and that experience in a later post.
Another thing a couple of people have pointed out to me — It isn’t that I’ve JUST run a marathon, something extremely noteworthy by itself, but I’ve run a marathon AND survived leukemia, two very significant and inspiring accomplishments. My good friend and running partner Rene mentioned to me how phenomenal it is to get to five years disease free, and to achieve in an endurance event (she’s also five years disease free and she’s done a 100-mile bike race along with several triathlons). She’s very proud of me, and is pretty insprirational to me as well, and she’s right.
So while the physical recovery from the marathon is almost complete, the mental and emotional experiences seem to continue and develop each day.
I’m quite thankful, and amazed.