November 18 2017 is now a special day for me. It’s the day I finally ran my first half marathon. When I started this journey 13 weeks ago I wasn’t sure I would do it. I had the dream but knew if I didn’t put a date on it I would never do it. So I found a race, picked a training program and started.
I was so nervous even from the beginning as I looked through the training schedule. I thought ‘6 miles in the first week, what?! Are they trying to kill me?!’ That first week was brutal because I had TERRIBLE knots throughout my legs. I really love stretching and yoga but that wasn’t cutting it. Thankfully a friend helped me with a foam roller which I promptly order one myself. That thing was a life saver. It hurt so bad to use but always brought relief.
I wrote out the training schedule and kept it in my bullet journal (if you ever want to get organize a bullet journal is the way to go). As the days progresses I wrote down notes about each of my runs for two reasons. First so I could keep an idea of how I needed to adjust my training and second because I wanted to make sure I remembered this process. This run was 100% for me and about me. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, that I could set a goal for myself and accomplish it. I have been able to do some really neat things in my life but always with the help of others. I don’t mean that in a bad way either. I’ve just always been blessed to have supportive and loving people in my life. This was something that I could only be responsible for. Race day would come and I would be the only one to do the thing. I wanted to prove to myself that I am capable.
But I didn’t just want to finish the race, I wanted to run the race. I wanted to push myself and train for it. Sometimes I get so afraid of failing at something I don’t even really try. Or I used to do that anyway. This time I decided I wanted to train fearlessly so I could run my race with determination. I won’t lie, I had some days that were harder than others to get up an hour early to run. There were nights I didn’t go to bed until late because I was running my long runs late. I didn’t really run much outside because it hardly worked for my schedule. I felt selfish at times because I was running when I thought I should be doing other things. I kept reminding myself why I was doing it and just kept running hoping it would payoff.
The weather app leading up the the race was my most visited app because I was so worried it would rain. It was beautiful sunny sky’s every day except that day forecasted. I kept praying the rain would hold off. The Monday before the race it changed to only 10% chance of rain and I was thrilled! Thank you God! Two days before my run I got sick. Like total body aches, nausea/vomiting, feeling like a truck hit me sick. For those two days I hardly ate anything and I was forcing myself to drink fluids. I was so disappointed and discouraged. I had trained, put the work in and now I was sick. My husband was asking if I was going to run and I said that way my plan as long as I could. By Friday evening I was feeling better than I had but my energy level wasn’t what it needed to be.
Saturday morning came and it was race day! I was so nervous but I tried to remain clam. I always get so hyped when I run outside, it’s like my brain gets overly excited and my body can’t do anything but jump. Not kidding either. I was at the starting line randomly jumping to get some of my nerves out. As the race started I thought as I do every running event I partake in “how crazy this is, a bunch of people just running together in a big herd”. Like why do we do this, it’s insane. But boy how fun! I also thought about how much I HATE running in the cold and why on earth did I pick a run in the middle of November in Virginia!
The first three miles I knew would be the hardest for me. That seemed to be how long it look my body to get into a comfortable pace and my breathing under control. The cold air burned my lungs. I was worried I was going too fast to maintain my pace the whole time then worried if I started to slow down I would lose momentum and not gain it back. At mile 7 I felt wiped out. I knew my body was tired from being sick and it wanted to quit. This time my mental motivation helped get me through. I kept telling myself this was what I trained for and that I may never get this chance again so leave it all out there. I didn’t want to regret not pushing forward. I was tired but I didn’t care, I was going to keep pushing and keep going.
I kept thinking about how grateful I was to have had this time to do this and how proud I was of not only myself but of the others doing the race that day. I saw so many different people out running and it was amazing. I couldn’t help but smile at times when I thought about it.
At mile 10 I started to fall back in my stride again. I was able to pick up my pace a little. During that last half mile stretch I was so excited and I was pushing hard. Crossing the finish line my legs were tingling, my lungs were burning, and I thought my chest would explode. I have to admit I was so emotional when I crossed the finish line I could have cried. I was overjoyed. I had progressed from a dream, to a goal, and then an accomplishment. I did it. I proved to myself that if I wanted to do something I could and that I didn’t need to fear failure anymore. I’m learning that failing something doesn’t necessarily make you a failure but never trying can. Let’s not be failures but accomplishers. Let’s try something even if it seems scary and hard. Let’s keep pushing even if we want to stop. Let’s leave it all out there so we have no regrets about what we did. Let’s keep running.