26 Lessons from 10 Marathons

With my 11th marathon coming up this Sunday, I reflected back on my last 10 marathons. Over the years I have learned so many lessons – both positive and negative, both in running and in life. I am thankful for everything and everyone that helped me get to this moment. Here are 26 lessons from all the marathons I’ve run.

Shires of Vermont – Bennington, VT – May 2013

1.     My dad is a lifesaver. I was really struggling towards the end, and he ran/walked every step of the last few miles with me.

2.     My mom and brother are lifesavers too. I was physically destroyed when I crossed the finish line of this race, and I would not have made it through the rest of the day without their help.

3.     You remember all the little pieces of motivation and laughter during the race. From superman compression socks to the Chariots of Fire song to Hula dancers, there is almost always great inspiration and entertainment during races.

4.     Lines for the bathroom are always long at races. Go to the bathroom early!

Empire State Marathon – Syracuse, NY – October 2013

5.     Running a race in a new place is scary. I had never been to Syracuse and traversing through the area was challenging. I had no idea what to expect and everything was new to me.

6.     My family is amazing and so supportive. I was staying with my aunt, uncle, and cousin during the time of this race. Their help and care during this time was incredible.

Maine Coast Marathon – Kennebunk, ME – May 2014

7.     Running along the ocean leaves you covered in salt. Thank goodness I got to stop and shower on the way home!

8.     Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is an unbelievable experience. This was the first marathon I qualified for Boston, and I was on cloud 9. I couldn’t believe I had really done it.

GMAA Marathon – South Hero, VT – October 2014

9.     Running close to home is the best. It was amazing not having to spend the night in a hotel before the race.

10.  There is nothing better than your family running the race too. My dad ran the half marathon, and it was simply the best knowing he was out on the course with me. I loved being able to celebrate with him at the finish line.

Boston Marathon – Boston, MA – April 2015

11.  The Boston Marathon is HUGE. There are so, so, so many people. It was fascinating yet terrifying.

12.  Waiting around outside at the beginning of the Boston Marathon and the late start time is challenging. I prefer a less waiting and an earlier start time.

13.  Hypothermia is something I never want to have again. This race was freezing, and I learned the hard way that being cold for 26 miles is not good. Chicken broth, warm blankets, and being in the arms of my family never felt so good.

Maine Marathon – Portland, ME – October 2015

14.  Portland, Maine is absolutely beautiful. This race was gorgeous. I would love to do it again someday.

15.  Stairs are really hard after marathons. Trying to go shopping at L.L. Bean and Patagonia the afternoon after my race resulted in my husband having to carry me throughout the store and on all the stairs.

16.  Staying at a hotel with a pool is perfect for relaxing the day after the marathon. When I woke up the next day, I went right down to the pool to soothe my muscles. I would love to do that again.

New Hampshire Marathon – Bristol, NH – October 2015

17.  You can run fast on a course with killer hills. This course was brutal, but I surprised myself with a great result.

18.  I love running in the country. There are so many races in big cities, but running in rural areas is my favorite.

Boston Marathon – Boston, MA – April 2017

19.  Running in the heat is hard. In contrast to 2015, this Boston Marathon was very hot and my time suffered because I had trained through the cold winter months.

20.  Running through fire hydrants is so much fun and a great way to cool off. I love jumping into a pool after a hot run, but running through fire hydrants is pretty great too. I will never forget how the city of Boston opened the hydrants for the runners.

GMAA Marathon – South Hero, VT – October 2017

21.  The wind makes you stronger mentally. I was set up to run a great race, but the wind was the strongest I have ever experienced. Despite the wind, I had a great mindset and performed really well.

22.  Teamwork makes a big difference. For almost the entire second half of the race, I worked with someone alternating who was in front to break the wind. Our teamwork significantly increased our perseverance and helped bring both of us to the finish.

23.  Training on the course you will race is a huge advantage. I spent many hours running this course during training, and I knew every hill and every turn by heart. It made a remarkable difference for me during the race.

Sugarloaf Marathon – Sugarloaf, ME – May 2018

24.  Running a marathon is really, really hard. You have to be prepared for anything and ready to work the hardest you ever have in your life. You have to feel endless motivation and determination. You have to love the process. If you want to get faster, it does not get easier.

25.  Even if you fail to run your best time, you should still be proud of yourself. Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment. Your support team is always there for you, and they are proud of you no matter what too.

26.  Do not compare yourself to others. No two people follow the same journey or path. You cannot compare your training or results to someone else. You are unique and have your own special story.

What have you learned from sport?

Top left: Maine Coast Marathon (2014); Top right: Boston Marathon (2017); Middle left and right: Maine Marathon (2015); Bottom left: GMAA Marathon (2017); Bottom right: Sugarloaf Marathon (2018).