“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
– T.S. Eliot
Well, it’s official. I’m a half marathoner.
And let me tell ya…it was HARD! This course was definitely no walk in the park. (Ok, admittedly there was some walking, but there was NO park. I swear.)
I really am so proud of myself. Somewhere deep inside of me, I truly wondered if I could do it. During my long training runs, my legs were so heavy and so weak. I never made it up to a full 13.1-mile run in training (11 was my furthest), so I was so scared that I might not actually be able to make it that far. Especially on this extremely tough course. It helped me though to see quotes like the one by marathoner Alberto Salazar: “I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.” Made me feel less alone. Made me realize that what I was feeling was what most everyone feels or had felt at some point in their running process. Even elite marathoners.
But, alas, I did it. I made it!
And here’s a short list of awesome things from the race:
- I made a running buddy along the course. He was an older man from the Winston-Salem, NC area. Silly me – I didn’t even ask his name. Nor did he ask mine. But we leap-frogged each other throughout the race. Kept each other company at times. Chit-chatted about our jobs, our families, etc. It was nice running a half-marathon and having a conversation every so often.
- I saw a shirt that said “Slow and steady, my ass! This is my top speed!” That made me giggle.
- I saw a shirt that said “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1).” That made me smile.
- I saw my friend Kelly who broke her foot during training for this race, out there running anyway after only having been out of her cast for about 2 or 3 weeks now. I was in awe.
- I got “I love you” and “You got this!” texts from the man I love during the race. Priceless.
- I got “Run Forrest Run!” texts from my coworker during the race. Sigh.
- I got close to the finish feeling like I might not make it, and rounded a curve and saw my boyfriend Richard’s friends (ok, my friends) standing on the side to cheer me on – the same people who I cheered on during their half marathons and marathons in New York last year. That made me cry.
- I got to the finish line and saw Richard and my son Jeffrey waiting for me (after their own 5K race) with smiles and cheers. And saw my son (who never ever EVER remembers or cares to take a picture of anything) poised with his camera waiting to snap a picture of me crossing the finish line.
- I got this from my boyfriend as a post-race gift:
The shirt says “13.1 wuz worth it.” And yes, it was. Awesome gift. Awesome man. Lucky girl.
And probably my favorite moment from the race:
- My son’s dad called him to see how the race went. And without missing a beat, Jeffrey immediately began telling him my finishing time and details from the half marathon. Momentarily forgetting that he himself had just finished second in his age group in his own 5K and won an award for it. Talk about a proud mom. That definitely started the waterworks flowing, and I’m not sure he even realized what he had done. In fact, I’m sure he didn’t. Feeling my son’s pride in me was like nothing else.
I know there are a million more things I could list that I loved about this race. But those are the highlights. Point is – this was a beautiful experience that I won’t soon be forgetting.
So, in honor of all that I have overcome in training for this race, and in life in general – two divorces, two bouts with cancer, a bad car accident during training, a breakup at the beginning of training (which ended up in a glorious reconciliation mid-training), and just a general past filled with doubt and uncertainty about myself and my abilities – this race is for you.
I can do anything.
And so can you.
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”