Look at those shiny medals!
I like shiny things after running 26.2 MILES! The finisher's medal wasn't even the best part of the race. No, no, no. The best part was the euphoric feeling of accomplishment. I, Erika Peterson, was able to push through the pain and suffering and finish my first full marathon. (Holy cow!)
But as they say, pain is temporary, but pride is forever. As expected, there were moments when I thought to myself, "what kind of crazy person voluntarily does this?" But then to get up the hill, I thought back, "bad asses do this." And I continued to truck along.
There is such camaraderie among runners – I love it. The encouragement from the Team in Training (TNT) coaches to more than just TNT runners, the occasional yelps exclaiming "we can DO this", the quiet words of encouragement as you pass someone who is obviously at a rough patch. We were all in it together – all 26.2 miles of it.
In addition to fellow runners, having friends and family cheer you on from the sidelines and finish line is priceless. Seeing Kathryn and Pat waving their sign and shouting our names at mile 17 or giving a big, stinky hug to a certain someone at mile 20. It helped me get to the finish line to see even more proud, smiling faces - Dad, Stephanie, the Dohertys, James, RyRy. Thank you all for your support on marathon day, and for the MONTHS leading up to it. (And Mom, no worries, you'll be able to make it to the next one!)
So, what's next? Well, probably a half marathon this summer or fall. Another full marathon is probably in my future, but I think a break from intense training sounds rather nice – especially if the sun ever shows up! In the meantime, I'll keep looking at my shiny medal.