Completing a debut marathon changes everyone’s life. However, everyone has their own perspective. Everyone became a different person after they crossed that finish line. For most people, the first marathon changes their life in a positive way. When I completed my debut marathon, it did change my life in a positive way.
My marathon debut took place at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. I ran my first marathon in 2:34:13, which included half marathon splits of 1:17:20 and 1:16:53. Yes, I surprisingly ran negative splits in my debut marathon. Two months later, I posted on Instagram captioning “Two months ago, I ran a race that in a way changed my life.” A follower commented asking how it changed my life. Initially, I gave that follower a vague answer. Now I’m giving a detailed answer and my perspective on how the marathon changed my life.
- My debut marathon performance made me realize what I’m capable of.
Like everyone else, my marathon performance made me realize I am capable of running 26.2 miles. Honestly, heading into the race, I was worried about how the last 4 miles would go. The longest run I did during my buildup was 22 miles. I thought I would hit the wall after 22 miles. While the last 4 miles were painful, I was still able to pass other runners and run at a faster pace. Now, I got the experience of running 26.2 miles and I can’t wait to use that experience in my next marathon.
For me personally, I didn’t think I was capable of running negative splits in my marathon debut. Few weeks prior, I was thinking about all my friends who ran marathons. I checked their results to see if they ran negative splits on their first attempt. I came up with a conclusion that “it’s impossible to run negative splits in the first marathon.” After the Chicago Marathon, I have hope that I continue to run negative splits in my upcoming marathons.
2. The marathon is my best event.
For me, what I did at the 2019 Chicago Marathon made me realize that the marathon is my best event. Some would agree with me based on the time I ran and how I ran that time. For those who don’t know me, I was a mid-distance runner in college. I thought the 1500m was my best event. However, I could not improve my personal best in that event. Then I started experimenting in longer distances. As time went on, my coach and I realized that I am a long-distance runner. We also realized that events like 5000m, 10000m, or any long-distance shorter than half marathon are my weak events, but I am still capable of improving my times in those distances.
After going through failures in some of these events, I had contemplated my future in running. When I ran 1:13 on my second half marathon in June 2019, I had some hope that I could accomplish big things in the future. However, I wondered what type of long-distance runner I am. I had thoughts that the marathon wouldn’t be my event. I thought I could be some of those long-distance runners who run great 10k and half marathon times, but they couldn’t figure out the marathon. My performance at the 2019 Chicago Marathon confirmed that I found my second calling in marathoning and long-distance running. Some may say what I did at the 2019 Chicago Marathon could be a fluke. Well, I am determined to prove this performance is no fluke in my upcoming marathons.
3. My marathon debut performance earned me respect from others.
After my marathon debut, I feel that in a way, I earned some people’s respect for me. I say this because this is based on the comments I received on social media and how my social media accounts had an increase in followers after the Chicago Marathon. I think people respected me because I completed a difficult challenge. I’m sure that happens to some marathon runners after they completed their first marathon. There are people who respected me after my marathon debut because my time is a good starting point. Finally, I think I earned people’s respect because of how I ran negative splits in my first marathon ever. Usually, a lot of people ran positive splits in their first marathon ever because they had no experience of running 26.2 miles. Then, most people ran negative splits in their next marathon or so because they now know what the marathon is like. Apparently, that didn’t happen to me and I think I earned people’s respect for me because I did something that not a lot of people, including almost all my friends, couldn’t do. Now, my friends can say they know someone who ran negative splits in their first marathon. I hope that anyone who reads this while training for their first can get inspired by this and run negative splits in their first marathon.
4. My marathon debut performance gave me an opportunity.
After I ran 1:13 in my second half marathon in June, I had thoughts about whether I have a chance to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials. I thought I needed to cut 5–7 minutes to run a sub 2:19 marathon time. I wouldn’t recommend doing this, but I compared other runner’s half marathon time to my time. The comparison is based on how many half marathons did it take to reach their current PR. Based on the comparison, I believed that I could run a faster time in my 10th half marathon. When I talked to some of my friends about this, they believed that based on my half marathon performances, it’s somewhat possible. However, they told me to wait and see how I perform in my marathon debut because they said that the marathon is different in many ways from the half marathon.
After the Chicago Marathon, my friends and I agreed that based on my performance, there is a chance that I can qualify for the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials. The opportunity I received after running the Chicago Marathon was the opportunity to have a chance to accomplish something greater. Honestly, if I didn’t run the way I did at the marathon, I would have said I don’t have a chance of achieving that goal and start thinking about ending my dream in running. I am 15 minutes away from achieving that goal. I know that is a lot of time needed to achieve that dream, but I’ve seen others who completed that goal and they needed to cut more time than I needed from their first marathon. If I don’t achieve that goal, I will be happy as long as I give my all. I am excited to see what the future brings me, even though COVID-19 put me a step back from my dream. I look forward to training my second marathon assuming it will happen after COVID-19 is over.
Every marathon runner can relate to each other on why the marathon changed their life. However, everyone has different reasons, but the good thing is that is what makes every runner unique. Having these unique individuals is what makes this running community a great place to be a part of.