From 0 to 42.195 km. 20 months in the making.

I started running on the treadmill in Feb ’17 after a trip to London over 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. 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.

On 21.10.18, 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. Nothing else has given me the same internal satisfaction as finishing this marathon. I am hooked for life. As someone said, “If you want to be fit, run. If you want a fit mind, run a marathon.”

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!

I came, I saw, I conquered 42 km.

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