I finished the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half Marathon & 5k today, my first marathon! Excellent organization! Thanks to the awesome volunteers and random strangers for the creative posters that cheered me up and made me laugh when I was roaring in pain (ran with an injured knee). 5 months of training paid off today! Full story of my journey to running below.
Thanks also to the woman and her daughter who were handing over bananas and water, even though they were not volunteers! Greatly appreciated!
Here’s a little story that I wrote:
I started running on the treadmill in Feb ’17 after a trip to London for Presidents’ Day weekend. I was out of shape and could barely run 5 km. Plus, I was never a runner. I’d always get a bordeline C- running 600 m in high school PE. Nevertheless, I didn’t give up and kept pushing myself. And I’m glad I did it.
When the weather warmed up, I took my new hobby to the streets. I got a pair of nice NB running shoes and started doing 5K’s and 10K’s in Boston. I was improving my endurance and pace, so I considered doing a 1/2 marathon; however, I didn’t think I’d be able to finish it. A 21K? Had I gone crazy? Not completely. As someone said, “If you’re doing 1/2 marathon, you’re only 1/2 crazy.”
I shared my doubts with a co-worker one day during lunch. He told me, “What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll walk it and still finish. Just do it.” I signed up for the Cambridge 1/2 marathon in November ’17 that same day. A few months later, I ran my first 21K!
Then I kept running, and it became natural to go out for a run after work. I had developed a new habit. And I was loving it! I was running for no reason at all; I was running to stay in shape, listen to my jams, and clear my thoughts. And it was working for me. I was getting a confidence boost after every run.
So, I decided to do another 21K in Toronto after the Rotaract Pre-convention in June. And I finished it. That’s when a new thought popped up in my head: Georgi, why don’t you do a full marathon?
And so I signed up for my first marathon, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on 21.10.2018. I kept training while I was in my hometown of Septemvri, Bulgaria; I was the weird Americanized Bulgarian running giving people a reason to talk about this new phenomenon happening in the 10,000-person town. Someone even stopped and asked me why I was running, and I told them I was training for the Toronto Marathon.
Today I am delighted to share that I completed my first marathon, despite running with an injured knee! The best part was proudly carrying the Bulgarian flag as I crossed the finish line! I cried blissfully.
Running a 42K wasn’t only about physical endurance but also about mental and emotional endurance and strength. Yes, there were aches and pains, but overpowering it all was the feeling of accomplishment and personal satisfaction; the very powerful inner feeling that was the result of crossing the finishing line. The medal, the medal around my neck, that’s the bottom line!
Training for and finishing a marathon was a significant achievement that I accomplished with the support from my friends and family. Special thanks to the Boston Rotaract & Rotaract Club of Toronto for their support! Thanks to the awesome volunteers and spectators for cheering me up and making me laugh when I was roaring in pain.
Nothing else has given me the same internal satisfaction as finishing this marathon. I am hooked for life. Dedicating today’s run to my grandfather whose name I carry.