Running My First Marathon! Reflections/Lessons Learned from training/running the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon

First Marathon Complete! tcs 2018 new york city marathon

First Marathon Complete! tcs 2018 new york city marathon

November 4, 2018

Valerie Hartman, Career Development/Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, Connector Shift Into Fifth (

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy.  I’m telling you it’s going to be worthwhile” (author unknown, top 10 favorite quote and personal mantra)

Fulfilled a lifelong dream. Checked off a major bucket list item.  After committing to and training for over 18 weeks, in my 55th year on this planet, I ran my first marathon. Yup-DID IT-The TCS 2018 New York City Marathon!  On a glorious fall day, in the beginning of the 11th month of the year…my favorite month of the year….the month I affectionately have renamed for my most treasured emotion…. the month of gratitude, I ran 26.2 amazing miles through 5 remarkable boroughs of New York in front of thousands of diverse/incredible people and crossed the finish line in one of my most beloved special places, Central Park.  And I raised almost $10,000 for my charity team (American World Jewish Congress/AWJS) from an astonishingly supportive group of friends/family. Not really adequate words to describe the feelings-other than truly magical, intense, exhilarating and grateful.

As with all things, especially involving sports, I look for the lessons learned…the takeaways to apply to my life moving forward (that commitment to radical curiosity and to growth/positive and purposeful change thing). And as always, it’s all about sharing. So, here is a list of my reflections/lessons learned/”today’s takeaways”:

 1.    SAY YES! When the invitation comes your way (in this case, a random email about joining a charity team and running the 2018 NYC Marathon) and the doubting thoughts start taking over, count backwards, 5,4,3,2,1 (thanks Mel Robbins) and just say YES!

2.   TAKE ACTION! Thoughts are great-Action is better! (get out of your head/thoughts). Don’t just be a spectator-give yourself permission to see what it feels like to be “inside the ropes”.

3.   SET GOALS that seem beyond your comfort zone and then loosen your grip on what it has to look like. Understand that in order to do things you’ve never done before, you have to think/do things you’ve never done before. And that’s exhilarating!

4.   REMEMBER CHANGE/PROGRESS IS INCREMENTAL-And progress/change revolves around hundreds of little daily momentary decisions each and every day that add up to BIG CHANGE AND EXPONENTIAL GROWTH.

5.   EMBRACE DISCOMFORT-Discomfort is an essential part of the journey-not to be feared but observed (see meditation below). Harness that energy. Embrace it as proof positive that progress/growth is happening.

6.   JUST DO IT! ! No matter how you feel or what your thoughts are telling you-each day, take the action and check it off. Commit to the action. And trust that once you’ve done it, it’s going to feel so great to have accomplished it.

7.   ACCESS RESOURCES-There are always resources to help move you forward. Big things are accomplished with the help/support of others. Find them, access them, embrace them and be grateful for them.

8.   TRUST the journey/process. Once you’ve settled on a game plan- a training regimen (many of which are free on-line), allow yourself to trust each part of the plan-that it will get you there if you follow it!

9.   DO THE WORK-  Step by step, day by day….the workouts, the stretching, the diet, the sleep, the hydration etc.  Mindset is key. But nothing replaces actually doing the work!

10.  STAY CURIOUS-take stock each day of the “lessons learned”/”today’s take aways”-be confident that if you don’t know something, you will explore, research and figure it out.

11.   CELEBRATE the milestones along the way of training-pause to notice and shout out the small and big wins which are essential to pushing yourself (like lacing up your running shoes and walking out the door).

12.   PRACTICE RADICAL SELF COMPASSION as you try new things and venture into areas that may seem scary and overwhelming. Harness that energy. Put it to good use. And give yourself credit for showing up and trying.

13.   JOURNAL (Gratitude/Lessons Learned/Today’s Takeaways etc.), SMILE AND LAUGH (and yes, cry from time to time). Repeat. Let yourself experience the myriad of feelings that come up-no attaching thoughts/stories-and let them run their course.

14.   INVEST IN YOU-Money is energy and your spending it on the right running shoes for your feet, proper socks, healthy food, hydration, occasional massages etc. tells the universe you are serious about accomplishing this goal.

15.  CREATE A TEAM that will support you and create and enforce healthy boundaries for those who do not.  In other words, surround yourself with positive energy-people who lift you up, believe in you and encourage your accomplishing this big/bold endeavor.

16.  KNOW YOUR WHY! SET YOUR INTENTION! It’s your touchstone. Keep coming back to it as you move through the process of training and doing the task.

17.   MEDITATE!  Each day-even 5 minutes a day-rewires the brain and allows you to be fully present/in the moment for the journey. It also allows you to observe and CHOOSE your thoughts/stories that best support you and your big/bold goal.

18.  LOOK UP/AROUND-not down at your feet. As you stay curious, you’ll be awed by what you see as you do your runs. You’ll be amazed at what’s waiting to be discovered each and every training run and especially during the actual event. Get your awe on!

PS. For those who might be saying, “well she must have been a runner-this wasn’t such a big leap”, let me be very clear, it WAS! Yes, I have been a lifelong athlete (competitive tennis player and then passionate golfer). BUT NOT A LONG DISTANCE RUNNER. Ran a fun 5k and a 10k every once in awhile. But never 26.2 miles! This pushed me way beyond what I thought was possible. Proved I was capable of so much more than I could ever have imagined. And oh my, what a worthwhile journey!