My (would-be) brother-in-law just ran the London Marathon. Touching his medal, was like eating one of Proust’s Madeleine. Nine years ago, I ran one of the toughest marathons in Europe. Before training for it, I had no experience running. In fact, I disliked jogging. What made me take the leap and why was the whole process effortless?
My partner came back from a fundraising workshop and told me about an eighty-year-old man she’d met who had ran dozens of marathons and raised unbelievable amounts of money for charity. He claimed that it was one of the most effective ways to raise funds. We needed money for an eco-classroom building project for our school, so I thought I would give it a go. I searched the internet for “the toughest marathon in Europe” and found the Snowdonia Marathon in the Welsh mountains. Without hesitation, I booked a place, made a poster and publicly announced that I would take on the challenge to run it from beginning to end.
Next, I went to the library and got a beginiers guide to marathon running book. I copied the training regime onto a spreadsheet and followed it religiously for the next five months. I had two imperatives: not let everybody down and be kind to my body. A heart-rate monitor set my pace and ensured that I did not push myself too hard, and the long list of supporters kept me motivated. After a month and half of training, and despite the tremendous amount of progress I still needed to make, I felt confident that I would make it. The training regime was excellent; it started small and slow and gradually increased in such a way that I was never tired out after running.
My partner and two sons traveled with me to Snowdonia, and I will always remember waving them goodbye at the start line of the marathon. I had never run more than twenty miles during my training, and if I wanted to raise the money that I had been promised, I would have to run the full twenty-six miles to the finish line.
Strangely and almost miraculously, the whole training and the marathon itself was one the most effortless endeavours that I ever accomplished. If I look back, what made all the difference was that I had made a strong commitment to others and that I was listening to my heart the whole time.
It could have been a hint of an odor made by the sweat on the medal, I am not sure, but for a moment I was thrown back down the memory lanes of my Snowdonia experience.
This blog is part of a renewed 42-day writing challenge inspired by Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits Book.
Photo credit: Leo Samarco