My first TBR Dream marathon was everything I imagined it to be. Hard, painful, but oh so worth it. As I stood waiting for the gun to go off, the scenes of me training for this marathon came racing through my mind—me waking up at the break of dawn, dragging myself off from bed, driving in the dark, running alone in a deserted Memorial Park under the heat of the sun to clock in 2-3 hours of run. Me religiously doing planks, crunches, and weights every night to prepare my body for this grueling excercise. As I stood there waiting for the race to start, I cannot help but think to myself, this is it, this is what I have been working hard and putting all my heart and efforts on.
The first 21 km was a breeze. Adrenalin, excitement, and a fresh burst of energy brought me to the turn around. Since the route was new, I took in all the sights…the unfamiliar places, curves, uphills, downhills, and the TBR tents/water stations. I was completely into the moment as I ran alongside equally psyched up runners and dream chasers who generously shouted words of encouragement. The next 21 km, the second half, on the other hand, was something else. It was a real test of strength, endurance, and spirit for me. It is true what they say about the final 21 km, you run it with your heart. At the 34th kilometer, I hit what runners would call “the wall.” Just after the 2 km never ending uphill. Fatigue and pain in my left knee that took a hard beating on those killer hills began wearing me down. Good thing my friend Jon, a 7 time marathoner and dream chaser, was there to give me the final push. Along the way, we met Abi, who was more disheartened than me. We ran the last 8 km together, with Jon telling us all the “tricks” he knows about running and with me giving Abi all the peptalks and words of encouragement that I can think of. They were what kept my eyes and focus on the goal. They were what kept my heart on the race. Jon and I predicted that I will finish the race at 6:30, 30 minutes over and above my target. But in the end, I finished it at 7:06 because it didn’t feel right to leave Abi behind. When I dreamed of finishing this marathon, I didnt dream of finishing this alone. God in all his goodness, gave me these two great people to celebrate the joy, pains, and fullfillment of reaching the end.
When we were a few meters closer to the finish line, I decided to slow down and let Abi go first because there’s really nothing like seeing one struggling runner bask in the glory of reaching her goal. I stopped and stood there for a moment to cheer and root for Abi. Heartbeats away from the finish line, I allowed myself to be filled with joy at the sight of her celebrating victory, before I went ahead and claimed mine.
My family was waiting for me at the finish line complete with a super big banner to congratulate me. Seeing them made my happiness complete.
Now I can, with all pride, say that I am a runner and a marathoner at that. I never thought I had it in me to run a full marathon. Sometimes you really just have to boldly go out there, make things happen, and become your dream.
Here’s what I told my daughter after running my first full marathon: My dear Bianca Angela, this race is more for you than for me. I hope this proves to you that mommy isn’t just randomly quoting Disney when I say that dreams do come true. And that in fact, it doesn’t really take a genie or a fairy Godmother to make things happen for you. All it takes is YOU. You with your persistence and determination to succeed. You with your willingness to sacrifice comfort and go through all the pains and troubles to achieve your dream. Always remember that our life is a good story. It does not end with the loss of daddy or with your battle with cancer. They are just significant chapters in our life story that call for us to press forward, rise up in faith, and fullfill our God-given destiny. They connect and propel us to the greater things that God has prepared for our future. A good story always ends in victory and ours is that kind of story.