Yesterday I ran a marathon.

It still doesn't seem real. I feel like I am dreaming. If you would have told me this a year ago, I would have laughed. Thought you were crazy. I didn't even run a year ago. I had tried running a few times when I was in New York, but a few minutes here and there. And maybe only one of those attempts was outdoors and that lasted maybe 10 minutes. I didn't run when I moved to Florida. So at this time last year, I was not a runner. I did not run. 

A year later I have run numerous races and training runs. 5ks, 10ks, a 10 miler, 8 half marathons, and now a full marathon! All within less than one year. What I realize is that before I recap about the race I need to write about this - because if I can do it, anyone can. I had pretty much no athletic background. I went to dancing school for 2 or 3 years when I was a kid but that's about it. No sports, no athletics. Nothing. I couldn't breathe when I walked up a flight of stairs. And now I'm a marathoner. 

If you have the will to do something, the courage, and the belief in yourself that you can do it - then you will achieve whatever it is you set your mind to! I am proof of that. 

I was thinking back on my last year yesterday. I went for my first run here, ever, on February 4, 2012. I didn't know what I was doing. I had read about the whole Couch25k program and I thought, ok maybe I could run/walk. I looked for a park around me and went. It was 12 noon, and it was hot. For those of you not in Florida, yes it was scorching hot in February. And to me, running for the first time ever, it was miserable. I didn't know about running shoes or clothes, and I threw on whatever I had. I ran/walked for about 20 minutes and wanted to die. I didn't know how I was going to run 3.1 miles. That was far! I went home, showered, and went to work. I felt dizzy and I was starving. I was so tired. It didn't feel good at all, but I was going to do it again. I WAS going to get better. I was going to achieve my goal.

I decided to go to a running event help by Run Tampa.  I was stressing how my running goal was to just run a 5k without stopping. I was told by everyone that would change. I would want to do a half marathon. Maybe people said marathon, but I don't even think that registered in my head. Marathon, ha! Did they know how far that was? I couldn't fathom the idea of running anything more than a 5k.

So I ran my first race - the Gasparilla 5k on March 3. It was hot. Super hot. I didn't have a watch to check my pace, i didn't know how fast or slow I was going. Looking back I think I started way too fast and got burned out towards the end. I felt sick as I crossed the finish line. Dizzy and nauseous. But I made it. And when I got handed that medal I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment. I never received a medal for anything before. I achieved a goal! I met up with my friend Halina who also ran, we chatted a little, and then we went back home. I was starving and I slept for hours.

And then I went on to run my first half marathon 2 and 1/2 months later. It was hard but I pushed through. And now I've run a marathon! I write so much about my first race because I'm amazing at how  one's body can adapt to the stresses of running and improve so much. I was exhausted and hungry and sick after a 5k. Yesterday I ran 26.2 miles and had to work afterwards. Yes, I was sore and I was tired. But I made it through the day. I really honestly and truly believe that if I can accomplish this, anyone who puts their mind to it and has the determination can do it as well. Try it out, you never know what you can do until you try it.

And of course, if you're waiting for a recap of my experience during the marathon - that will be the next post!