November 4, 2014 – Exactly 2 years ago today, I ran my first half marathon in 2 hr 10 min. About 3 and a half months ago, I ran my first marathon in 4 hr 13 min. And about 2 weeks ago, I ran my fastest half marathon to-date at 1 hr 57 min. Today I signed up for the 2nd marathon I will ever run…. in Stockholm, Sweden.
You might be wondering.. “Why? Why the hell wouldn’t she just run some other marathon in California? Why doesn’t she try any other hobby in the world aside from running?” (#nevernotrunning) I’m asking myself the same thing. Sort of. Yes, there are plenty of other awesome race experiences that I could take part in, and a hundred other ways I could spend my time over the next 7 months, but what could be better than planning a Scandinavian adventure?
When I think about my life, I have plenty of reasons to be happy. And I am. I live in an amazing city, with a good job, and great friends. I love my family, and have been fortunate enough to lead a healthy life. To be honest, my life is fucking great. But that’s not to say that there aren’t pieces of me that have yet to be fulfilled. And the biggest one of those things is experience. Growing up, I never traveled much with my family, and didn’t leave the country for the first time until I was 20. Now, with my destiny (read: my wallet) in my own hands, I want to experience the world. I want to learn new things, see new cultures, and meet new people. I want to experience life.
Every individual places different value in different aspects of life. But the things that I see the most value in devoting my time and effort to are 1) my personal health, and 2) traveling and growing my cultural experiences. Those who know me know how important these two things are to me, to my everyday life, and to my happiness and fulfillment. When I signed up for my first marathon, I’d had a few beers, and after that and some coaxing from my friends, I was determined to blow my previous life achievements out of the water. And on the day that I actually ran the San Francisco Marathon, it was as if nothing had changed. My confidence and sense of accomplishment hadn’t faltered, and I felt like with that sense of accomplishment, I could do anything. 26.2 miles and lots of training later, I reached the end of the race and immediately collapsed on the ground. But before I could even stand up, I had decided that this was the beginning of something. I had never felt this feeling before, but I wanted to use it. I wanted to use it to inspire me.
It was in that moment that I crazily decided that I would use my marathon running as an excuse to travel, ultimately combining my two initiatives. I chose to use running as my inspiration. Not only as my inspiration to stay healthy, but as my inspiration and reminder to never give up on doing what I love. To never stop learning – about the world, and about myself.
Any marathon runner knows, limitations are but a figment of the imagination. I’m determined to PR the 2015 Stockholm marathon by at least 1 second, and I’m determined to explore our world–and myself–on my first marathon abroad. My journey begins today.
**Special shout out to the NPSF peeps who unknowingly made all this possible. More on this later!