A few years ago, I called my college roommate, Tasha, to wish her a very happy birthday. Somewhere between the well wishes and catching each other up on our lives, she referenced our 30th birthday year: 2018.
It was still a few years away, but close enough to begin thinking about how we’d commemorate the milestone trip around the sun. Tasha, who has a Spartan Race and half marathon under her belt, suggested that we, including another roommate, Francis, run the New York City Marathon. Not quite sure what we were getting ourselves into, we each confirmed and at the close of 2017 we met to discuss how we’d qualify for the race, how we’d train and next steps surrounding our commitment. We kept each other accountable throughout the training process, checking in via group text to encourage one another to go for that morning or evening run, trading post-run recovery tips and amp’ing each other up because as the race got closer things naturally got harder.
Fast forward to Sunday, November 4—26.2 miles and five boroughs later—Francis, Tasha and I ran across the finish line in Central Park. I’m still processing the seven hours and 34 minutes it took me to accomplish the goal, but there’s so much I learned about myself throughout the journey. As I reflect on how impactful this experience was for me, here are several lessons I learned while preparing and running the New York City Marathon: