On October 16th, I completed my first marathon. Four years ago, almost to the day, I quit drinking cold-turkey and decided to live a healthy life. I went from 625lbs to 235lbs, conquered high blood pressure, and prevented Type-2 diabetes. October 13, 2012 is the day I turned things around, and to celebrate this year, I ran a marathon.
After months and months of training, I had run three half-marathons and two 25k races, then I ended up having surgery to remove my excess skin. This amounted to four separate procedures over six hours each, with a total of over 30 lbs of skin removed. Throughout this, I spent about six months in recovery, and wasn’t able to lift more than 10 lbs or get my heart rate up. Once all the incisions had healed, I had to start over again. I walked for weeks before I could attempt running, and when I finally did run, it was very slow going. Ten months after my last surgery, I completed the marathon.
Running a marathon was a goal of mine as soon as I realized that I could run. I was never a runner when I was young, and as I grew older and gained weight, I gave up any hope of being athletic. When I began the race that Sunday in Detroit, I was nervous—but I knew that I had trained for it, and I knew that I was capable of finishing. Five hours and thirty-one minutes later, I crossed the finish line. I felt a deep satisfaction. All of my hard work had led me to this moment, to this victory. After the initial rush of satisfaction wore off, all I could think about was the mile long walk back to my car.
I was very sore after the marathon, and I took the next day off. I didn’t do anything strenuous, and made sure to stretch a lot. On Tuesday morning, I woke up, put my running gear on, and went out the door. I walked for a while and decided to jog a little. The trees were beginning to turn for fall, and golden yellow leaves scattered on the ground as I went by. I felt pretty good, and kept going for three miles. As I rounded the last corner and slowed down for my cool-down walk, something occurred to me. I woke up this morning and ran as I did every Tuesday. The difference this time was that I had just ran a marathon two days prior. I had accomplished my goal, but I was still out running.
While I was losing weight, I used to worry about what would happen when I got down to my goal. Weight loss was a drive that kept me going from day to day, and I worried that once it stopped coming off, I would lose my motivation. The same thing happened this past weekend. I wondered what would happen after I completed my marathon goal.
The thing that occurred to me was that everything I’ve done with healthy eating and exercise was never just a means to an end. It was all a process. It was something that had become so ingrained into my life, that it just kept perpetuating itself. I was eating to be healthy. I was running because I enjoyed it.
The marathon was something I strived to reach, but it was never the end of my work. I still struggle sometimes to eat healthily, and I struggle to get out the door in the morning and exercise. But this is all part of a process. A process that will forever be a part of my life, and I now embrace it.
I will always have goals to strive for. Once I complete these goals, I don’t know what comes after. I do know that tomorrow morning, I will put on my running shoes, go out the door, and continue the process.
New to running? We’re here to support you! Check out these articles and get started in the ASICS Runkeeper app:
How To Start (or Restart) Running
How to Get Motivated to Run (Even When You Don’t Feel Like It)
What Do You Need to Run? A Beginner’s Guide
Start Running When You’re Overweight: A Beginner’s Guide
Ten Running Benefits You’ll Feel Within a Week
What’s Pronation? Finding the Right Running Shoes For You
Six Simple Strategies to Succeed as a Beginner Runner