Way too long ago I began a series of posts retelling of my relationship with exercise and running; however I never finished. Today I want to share with you that spark which has led me into the person I am today. To catch up, please read the following posts:
Not only was my running buddy unable to train with me, we also found that she was unable to run the race with me. WHAT?! I was heart broken. I was semi-okay with training the final 4 weeks alone (2 were taper weeks, so it wouldn't be so bad), but the thought of running the entire 13.1 miles solo was completely horrifying.
So I did what any
insane normal person would do and stopped training. I didn't pick up my ipod or running shoes for that entire 4 weeks. I was in denial that I would be running the Mid-South half-marathon by myself and I didn't want to face the truth. However, reality was that I had already paid my entry fee and booked my hotel and I was way too frugal to waste money. So on November 7th 2009, with fears and anxiety at it's highest, I arrive at Wynne with absolutely zero confidence in myself.
Don't let the smile fool you, I was shakin' in my Asics.
Luckily, my boyfriend at the time (now husband) was there to cheer me on and encourage me to give it all I got.
Looking back, I was so clueless about what to expect. I showed up at the start line with 200 other runners and thought this was a BIG race. Since I had only been in local 5Ks, I was excited to see all the support! And on top of it all, they even had these people called "pacers"- a then foreign concept to me of people who volunteered to run the race and give you a steady pace.
I attached myself to this man in the yellow, who was the 11:00 minute pacer; God bless this man. I don't remember his name, or anything about him, but he kept me laughing and talking the entire time I was with him. He made the first 6.5 miles fly by!
However, since I was only doing the half (and the course was an out-and-back) I turned around at 6.5 while my amazing pacer continued on with the full marathoners. Before turning around, I had a fleeting thought to continue onto the full just so I'd have the company. Yes, I was that scared to finish by myself; I truly didn't believe I could do it. But I quickly came to my senses and turned around knowing I would have to tackle the next 6.5 miles on my own.
Worst 6.5 miles of my life. I was hurting, bored, tired, hurting, hungry, thirsty, hurting (did I already mention that?) and completely done.
But after 2 hours and 31 minutes and an average pace of 11:50, I finally crossed the finish line. I had completed my first half-marathon.
I had done something that I never thought I'd be able to do, all within less than a year's time. My biggest reward? Knowing that I didn't let fear or anxiety stop me. That I accepted that I was scared and unconfident, but did it anyways. I fought hard to accomplish the goal I had set out months earlier and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
This one goal, this one experience has changed my life forever. Since then I have completed 2 additional half marathon, a sprint triathlon, and countless other races. I have found a love for exercise and healthy living that I never knew existed. And I don't intend to stop. My life has changed for the better.
So if you have some audacious dream which you think people would merely laugh at, don't be so quick to throw it out. With determination, you can accomplish anything. If you really want it, it's yours. And it might just change your life in ways you can't even imagine.
"I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept my faith." 2 Timothy 4:7