Last Sunday, Jon and I took on the big 26.2 miles at the 2014 Chicago Marathon. We ran, we conquered, we got a personal record and we celebrated!
This marathon will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first marathon Jon and I ran together (it was my 8th marathon and Jon’s 2nd) and we had the honor of running for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Team Fox.
Having Jon running by my side on race day and also running for such an incredible cause made this marathon so much more than just miles. It was all about community. I can’t thank everyone for their love and support. The messages and your donations mean so much to Jon and I.
The marathon experience–-the training and the race itself–just like yoga, teaches us so much about ourselves and life.
1. Love yourself. Trust that you are strong enough to go the distance.
During the marathon around mile 18 or so, I was struggling. My quads were so heavy and I was having a hard time keeping up with Jon. So much so that I told Jon that I had to slow down since I was scared that I would not be able to keep up the pace for the rest of the 8 miles we had to run. He turned to me and said, “Cara, let go of that doubt, you are stronger than you think.” And I was. I kept up that pace and even picked it up during the last stretch.
Mile 17 at the Team Fox cheering section
2. Let yourself feel the nerves.
Let your nerves get you into that zone. I had the honor of meeting Deena Kastor at the 2009 New York City Marathon expo and she asked me how I was feeling. I said “really nervous”. She turned to me and said, “I don’t call it being nervous, I call it being excited.” I think of that phrase whenever the nerves start to kick-in.
3. Be present. Pain. Miles. Everything passes you by.
Everything changes with every step and every breath we take and the marathon illustrates that fact perfectly. Every mile of the marathon brought new music, new crowds of people, different neighborhoods, varying amounts of pain and excitement. It’s important to be present because everything will and can change within an instant.
4. You’re not alone. Everyone is cheering you on.
Chicago had the most amazing crowds. 1.7 million people were spectating the race. The energy was insane! Jon and I had our names on our shirts and it was so cool have people you don’t even know cheering you on.
Our view of the starting line
5. Repeat your running mantra.
As things started to get more difficult, Jon and I would repeat our running mantras to each other to stay focused, present and positive. My running mantra was “we finish together”; reminding me of my intention when I signed up to run Chicago, to create community and awareness for Parkinson’s disease.
6. Celebrate and take it all in.
I’m incredibly grateful for this marathon and everyone who has supported us! The celebration continues! Cheers and namaste!
To the left, Jon and I the next day celebrating at brunch. To the right, celebrating after the marathon with fellow Team Fox runner friend, Jimmy Choi.