Phases of running a marathon

Life has happened is happening.  My dream life has become my real life and I am learning how to navigate it. I’ll try to put it in terms of running a marathon. Let be clear, I’m not a runner, but I have seen and am currently witnessing my sister training for a marathon—ultramarathon to be exact. I am a witness to the process of preparing to run 26.2 miles. Like with many other things, running a marathon comes in different phases. (I didn’t read the following phases in a book, nor did a professional marathon-runner explain them to me. I’m simply explaining the way I have come to comprehend what I am undergoing right now.)

The identification phase
This phase would entail identifying that I am interested in the mere action of running. I do some research on proper running methods, habits, etiquette, etc, and find out that there’s different types of running. I find my heart in long distance running, which leads me to take a stab at my first marathon.

The training phase
Now that I know I want to put myself through 26.2 miles on my feet, I start training. Training involves nurturing and taking care of myself in order to be strong enough for the mileage I’ve committed to.

The event phase
I run the distance that tests me mentally, physically, and emotionally, and I come out alive!

The high phase
There is a high that comes from knowing that I completed 26.2 miles of running on my own two feet. My body is still running (no pun intended!) on adrenaline. I don’t feel the soreness or the after-aches because my mind is too focused on this new achievement of mine. I don’t know how long the high is going to last, but I ride it all the way through and enjoy every second of it.

The crash phase
I crash from the exhaustion. Completely normal exhaustion. I am human. I am tired, I feel like shit, and doubt my abilities. I feel like I may never run again. My ego is shot and my body feels weak.

The recovery phase
I give myself the space and time to feel like a human being, to feel the emotions I need to feel in order to avoid further feelings of inadequacy, resentment, anger, frustration, and overwhelmingness. I get back up, nurture my spirit, and give my body the time it needs to heal. I become cognizant of the fact that I don’t have to be badly injured in order to need healing. I become conscious that healing—mental, emotional, and physical—can be necessary even after a success, not only from a failure.

The restart phase
I’m on the upswing. I start running again. I find myself another marathon to start training for. I begin a new cycle.

Ditching the marathon analogy and returning to my current reality, I rode the high. I didn’t know how long it was going to last, but I enjoyed every second of it. Where did it come from? I want to say it came from quitting my corporate job and deciding to work from home. My dream life—which once included regular daily hikes, meditations, new moon circles, and other spiritually grounding activities—is now a stale reality with financial worries and a lack of inspiration and motivation, but I feel like I may be in “the restart phase”.

I’ve allowed myself the space to be human, to cry, to feel defeated, and to feel inadequate. I am ready to rise to my feet, dust myself off, and get training for the new event. I’m not exactly sure what I am training for yet, but I am confident that I have the necessary tools in my toolbox to be successful.

Cheers to being human!

Trying to remember to give myself the space for healing and time for self-love.

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