I Ran My First Marathon

I Ran My First Marathon

I learned gratitude, humility, and just what my body and mind are capable of.


On Sunday, March 17th, 2019, I ran my first marathon. It was both the most challenging and most rewarding experience. Throughout training and the race itself, I learned gratitude, humility, and just what my body is capable of.

A year ago, I wrote an article "I Went From a 5K to 13.1 Miles, And I Learned A Lesson Each Time My Foot Hit The Pavement." In my half marathon article, I documented my journey from 3 miles to 13 miles and the toll it took on my body. I could never have imagined that I would push myself further and complete 26 miles.

I started training for the Shamrock Marathon at the end of November 2018. Gradually over 22 weeks, I added mileage to my long training runs. I found a new favorite trail just outside of Atlanta called the Silver Comet Trail, put my headphones in, and hit the ground running every Saturday morning.

During my training period, I became aware of the differences between training for a half marathon and training for a full marathon. The first difference is obvious –– a full marathon is a whole lot longer. But there are other characteristics of marathon training that distinguish it from other races.

Training for a marathon requires an enormous amount of discipline. You cannot skimp out on a long run because you will pay for it on race day. However, I learned that cross-training days are equally as important. In order to maintain your aerobic conditioning while caring for your joints, you must participate in an exercise that is not running. Whether that be indoor cycling, swimming, or circuit training, doing something that is low-impact yet aerobically challenging is crucial in marathon training.

You must be willing to make time for your training. Marathon long runs take a while, especially towards the end of the training period. In order to make time for my 18-mile run, I needed to commit to three hours on Saturday morning. This time is sometimes hard to find especially as a busy college student but it is absolutely necessary for success.

Good nutrition is imperative. Invest in high-quality energy gels and plan out the foods you will consume for carbohydrate loading. During my training, I was hungry all the time. Doing so much cardio throughout the week means that you are burning significantly more calories than your body is used to. It is so important to fuel your body with balanced meals that will allow you to run further and faster.

Marathon training takes a toll on your body. I learned this lesson the hard way. If you don't prioritize your recovery, you may get injured. If I had incorporated a stretching routine into my cool down more frequently and suffered the pain of an ice bath every couple of weeks, I may not have injured my hamstring.

Practice, practice, practice. Practice running in the clothes you will wear on race day, practice running with the energy gels you will consume, and practice the nutrition you will have before and after your marathon.

On race day, my mom and I woke up early (5 am to be exact). I ate my bowl of oatmeal sleepily and put on my race day workout clothes. We hopped in the car and drove out to Virginia Beach. I was so nervous! But as soon as we arrived, my nerves began to subside. The gun went off to release my corral and suddenly it was really quiet. All you could hear was the thud of shoes on the pavement, and faint chatter between running buddies. But that didn't last long, by mile four, the quiet had turned into loud enthusiastic conversations and cheering from supporters.

I loved running this marathon because the course was so special. Miles 6-9 were in the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story. Miles 13-16 were along the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Miles 19-22 were through Camp Pendleton, a state military reservation. Despite the pain and exhaustion that increased throughout the race, the interesting course and sights we passed made the marathon much more enjoyable.

By far my favorite part of the marathon was the last three miles. As soon as I hit mile 23, I felt a wave of unexpected emotions. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized I only had a 5K left until the finish line. The fact that just two years ago, 3 miles was the furthest distance I had ever run was astounding. Maybe it was the exhaustion and delusion setting in, but I couldn't shake the feeling of pride of how far I had come.

I rounded the corner back onto the boardwalk and saw the large banner "FINISH." The crowds were cheering louder than at any other point on the route. The announcer called my name as I crossed the finish line at 4 hours 35 minutes 31 seconds. I immediately searched for my mom in the crowd, and I found her face with tears streaming down her cheeks. Despite injury, months of training, and a tough four hours of running, I had finally finished a marathon.

Jeanie Daniel

It has now been three days since I crossed the finish line. My legs are incredibly sore and I can barely walk but the pride and sense of accomplishment have not subsided. I know now that my body can do anything if my mind will allow it. If I truly want to achieve something, it will happen.

I have had a goal on my bucket list for quite some time. But I never wanted to share this goal because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to complete it. The goal was to run a marathon before I turned twenty years old. I am so proud that I can check that off the list.

I would recommend running a marathon to anyone. Yes, it is one of the most physically demanding things you can put your body through, and the training requires dedication and perseverance. But I promise it is worth it. It will teach you how strong your mind is, how to be humble, and how to love your body and all that it can accomplish.

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.

Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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The Rejuvenating Qualities Of Panama City Beach

There are definitely some healing properties in these ocean waves.


We have gone to the beach quite a few times this summer season. We live around 2 hours away and try to make it to Panama City Beach at least once a week. It's a venture for sure, but compared to the 7-day drive from The Rockies of Colorado to the Peanut Capital of the World, Dothan, Alabama (a time in which no one has heard of) we can't really make any excuses.

Now, I am sitting here typing away in the early morning while watching a summer storm blow in over the sea but, make no doubt about it, the ocean and its shores are one of the most healing, rejuvenating places on this planet. There is a calm in the break of the waves on the shoreline, and yet it pairs with an unspoken knowledge that the ocean is this uncontrollable force.

This isn't a speech on saving the planet and being eco-friendly, recycling and watching out for our beaches, which is a topic I am very passionate about and a post I would totally create. This is simply an open letter to those who might need to get away in order to revive their souls.

If you are anything like me, you have emotions pulsing through you at all times, ideas about everything under the sun, a longing to explore and adventure, and a deep need for rest, all at the same time. There are not many things in this world that truly satisfy me. There is a lot of disappointment. There is a lot of wrongdoing and suffering. It's overwhelming.

That is why I come to the beach. It removes the overwhelming things.

You see, there is nothing complicated about the waves (unless you make it complicated, but we stay away from people like you). They are simple. They are peaceful. And 99% of the time in my life that is what I need, simplicity and peace. I over-complicate things myself, I make excuses and I feel hurt in most moments of my life. I lived an exposed, vulnerable lifestyle that drains me.

That is why I love the ocean. It replenishes my drained soul. It energizes me. It is motivating and inspiring, relaxing and unwinding.

I don't pass out advice. I never have. I do, however, try living an honest life, always in the moment, so I can share my experiences in hopes that others might find them helpful. That is precisely why I am writing this. Because if you could just get to the beach, to a shoreline, it might change you. Seeing this vast landscape changes your perspective on the situations in your life you thought might overtake you.

The ocean speaks. It heals. It tells your worries to cease and your mind to rest. It tells your body to relax and your busy schedule that there IS time to take a moment. Don't forget to take a moment for yourself this summer season.

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