Mile 21 was when I knew the real marathon would start for me. This is when my body started wanting to give up, ask for forgiveness, and want to walk, all while my mind wanted to keep pushing. It’s always an internal battle between the two of them, in which the mind mostly wins. I need to admit I have an above-average pain tolerance level. This has helped me get through all the past marathons as well.
At this point, I knew I had to just think about the next step, the next minute, then the next few meters.
There was no way I would stop and walk. “Anything but walking”, I told myself. So I kept running even if I had to go slower.
Mile 23, 24, then 25 came. I was happy with what I was about to accomplish as I didn’t think it was possible to run at such a pace for a full marathon distance. As I got closer to the finish line, I started grabbing food (half a banana and a piece of chocolate and vanilla cake) from the hydration station. It was fun to see new types of snacks at the station.
I kept running. I kept looking for where the sign for mile 26 was, but couldn’t see it. I saw the sign for 41km then did some mental math – 41km to 42km means I have about 4:30-5mins before I’d get to see the “26 miles” sign.
As I turned the last corner and approached mile 26, I heard the crowd cheering loudly. This is always a great feeling. I love this!
I ran the last meters and heard my name, “RICHARD! RICHARD! RICHARD!!!”. It was Melissa and Anna violently cheering and making sure I’d see them – I did 🤣. Then my hat fell off. I had to go back a few steps to pick it up and started cramping on my way to the finish line 😂.
I got emotional and can’t deny it. It’s been a dream to run a marathon at such pace and rhythm.
My official time was 3:36, which is close to 15mins faster than my previous personal best back in 2018. I couldn’t be happier, but now I know I can do even better and the most important thing is that I know what it takes to do it and where to improve.
I think I’ll actively pursue qualifying for Boston in the upcoming years. 😊
Thanks for following along with this story about my Paris marathon experience! ❤️
This is the fifth and last part of a mini-series narrating my experience running the Paris marathon 2022.