My Marathon


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Just ten days ago, I ran my first marathon. I ran the entire race in a little over 5 hours, right next to Mark the entire time.  There couldn’t be a better coach.  There was only one time in the whole race that I found him truly annoying, and we had some pretty romantic stuff to say to each other around mile 23. He’s run 58 marathons, and knew exactly what to expect. Even though I’d never run a marathon, I felt like I also knew what to expect, too.

I think every woman has run a marathon, whether they think they have or not. As I was preparing for the race, I thought about my preparations for labor and childbirth. I figured the first few hours of labor would probably be fun, then I expected it would get pretty awful. However, no one is in labor forever, and you have a new wonderful baby at the end. In fact, running a marathon seems comparatively easy – You get to enjoy a nice long run, followed by some serious work in the last five miles. Then you get a shiny medal, and a big boost to your ego. No diapers or years of laundry, unless you didn’t train properly…

I was surprised at the number of women before and during the race who mentioned labor and childbirth. I think there are moments when you have an opportunity to do something extraordinary in your life, and looking back, those moments seem relatively ordinary. We’ve pushed our limits and expanded our comfort zones.

I’ve faced crisis before and been at the end of my rope. After enduring these episodes, sometimes more gracefully than others, I realized that all bad times, just like good times, are transient.  Sometimes the lows felt intolerably low and impossible to conquer, but the highs are so unbelievably good.  Running this marathon with 7,999 other people reminded me that the best thing about grief and joy is the community. Everyone has been there, even if the experience is not exactly identical to mine.


Posted on by Mary Clifton, MD


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