I’ve always had this illusion that I am a runner. That I could strap on my running shoes and conquer any road. But I don’t like running very much, and I don’t run on the regular. (Or ever, really)
So when I told my husband I was signing up for a half-marathon, he probably thought I was crazy. Wait, he definitely thought that. He and I knew I hadn’t trained for it. But, my goal was set, and there was no going back.
So, all running logic aside, I registered for a 13.1 mile goal.
I may not like to run on a daily, but running in a race is a different story. Racing gives me that sense of accomplishment and success I feed off of in life. That competitive spirit of running a longer distance or beating a previous time. Of setting an unrealistic goal and crushing it. That runners high is real, and the adrenaline of a race makes it that much sweeter.
That morning my husband had to work, so I woke up and drove myself to the race. I had never attended a race alone before, so that was a huge step all on its own.
My jitters quickly started to melt away once I made it to the event. I always love looking around and seeing people of all shapes, sizes, and ages getting ready to race. I love the costumes, the comradory, and the buzz of excitement in the air.
I pinned my number on my shirt and I got in line to start. I put my earphones in and blocked everyone out. This race was now mine to conquer, it was me against the pavement. Music was blaring in my ears and everyone else was in silence around me. I saw those in front of me start to run.
Ready, Set, RACE!
I began to run, knowing my only goal in this wild attempt to run 13.1 miles (without ever running more than 6.2 consecutive miles before) was to never stop jogging. I was going to push myself to the brink, I needed to see myself accomplish this goal. Why? I had no real idea. Maybe I needed a boost of confidence, something that helped me believe in myself more?
The saying on my shirt was a great motivator. “Only half crazy” and “Don’t you ever stop running Mommy,” it said. Those words kept my legs pumping and my heart in the race.
Mile marker after mile marker kept coming. I sang in my head, danced through the beat, and I kept thinking about life. You see, running is 90% mental. You have hours to run and contemplate your life. And I did just that.
My fitness level took me to mile 8, that marker was hard to swallow. I was more than half way done, but my mind wanted to throw in the towel. And my body wasn’t too far behind on that notion.
As I hit Mile 10, I started to break down. My emotions got the best of me. I felt tears stinging my eyes and negative thoughts of, “What the heck was I thinking?!” repeating in my head. I kept pushing through, one foot in front of the other.
I could not give up now, only 3.1 miles to go. I convinced myself this was the start of the race again. I’m now running a 5k. Ready, Set, RACE!
Joy and adrenaline started to pump through me once I passed marker 12. I got this new rush of excitement and happy tears started to replace the negative ones. I would have never thought I’d get so emotional running a race.
I knew I was nearing the end, that the finish line was in my future. Soon I would conquer the goal I had set for myself, having a half-marathon metal hanging around my neck. I rounded the corner and ripped my earphones out.
I needed the roar of the crowd to push me to the finish line.
Voices, faces, and chants from people I didn’t even know. People I was now grateful for. Images of my family being so proud of me made me begin to sprint. This is what I would talk to my daughter about. This goal would show her that not only could mommy accomplish her goal, but that if she wanted something, all she had to do was set her mind to it.
Crossing that finish line and being handed my metal was a moment I will never forget. A moment of complete pride. Knowing I set a goal and conquered it. Will there be another race in my future? My competitive spirit says yes. I’ll be the one stretching, earphones in, in complete awe of the crowd around me, about to smash another goal.