This year has been a year of breaking free from the shackles of “never.” There have been many things I said I’d never do, for a variety of reasons. I never thought I’d make my own barn door, I said I’d never do an electrical DIY project, and I’ve said I’d never run more than a 5 or 10k.
Clearly, never is not my strong suit, as this past weekend I completed a half marathon (13.1 miles).
That’s right ladies and gentlemen. I, Allison, hater of running, spent almost two and a half hours on a Saturday morning running.
I never thought I’d do it.
I’m not really sure why I signed up for the race, to be honest. Sure, my triathlete-loving husband has always encouraged me to do things I have no desire to do-like run a half marathon or do a triathlon. I’ve never had trouble shooting him down before, and I’m not sure why I didn’t this time.
Maybe it’s because I’ve opened myself to new opportunities or because I wanted to work on my cardiovascular health, or maybe it was just to get him to shut up for a few weeks, I don’t know. But regardless, I signed up and started training.
The first few weeks were fine, but then life happened. Summer weekends filled up, the temperature kept rising, and soon I was missing workouts. I’d try to pick up right where I’d left off, and I’d get angry when I wasn’t running as well as I thought I should be, or when I’d get a cramp so bad I had to stop.
In my own head, I feel I have a tendency to stop about 80-90 percent to finish. I don’t feel I fully complete many of my craft projects or writing projects, and I could feel that happening with this race.
About three weeks before the race, I was ready to give up. I’d made it less than 2 miles on what was supposed to be a 6 mile run. I was frustrated and angry. I stormed in the door ready to quit. I’d wasted my summer, I hadn’t done yoga or thrown pottery in weeks, I hated running, I was never going to be able to finish the race.
But I’m so lucky to be surrounded by friends and family who support me. Keith told me I could quit if I wanted to, no one would care. But he also reminded me the previous week I had run 8 miles, farther than I’d ever run before, and what an amazing feat that was in and of itself. A friend reminded me that I could walk on race day, it didn’t matter, that finishing would be just as sweet.
But what really pushed me to finish was another dear friend who told me I was her inspiration to keep running. And to hear that from her, someone who hates running just as much as I do, tipped the scale. If I could be an inspiration to someone, especially in something I really don’t like, I had to keep going. I would see this through.
(I’d also like to point out that everyone also offered to tell me nice things if I wanted to quit. Because that’s what true friends are for!)
So I finished training, doing a 10 mile run the Monday before the race.
The day of the race was overcast and drizzly, which was actually quite perfect. I was starting with three friends, though I knew they were all faster than me. And I was okay with that. I turned on my audio book and let the run begin.
Most of the race went by without incident. The last two miles, though, were the hardest. That’s when my knees started hurting, when I felt the end was so close but still so far. But if I walked, I knew it’d only take me longer to get to the finish line, so I kept running.
About half a mile from the finish, it hit me: I was going to finish this race. The weeks of frustration and self-anger were over. I was going to complete something I didn’t know deep down if I could do.
I had just read a post from a friend about positive self-speak, and how we lift others up, but often neglect to look inward and see our true self and love it. Now was the time to reflect on what this race meant, what this journey had given me.
I felt like I had tapped into my inner Wild. I had pushed through my dislike of running to reach my end goal, and I hadn’t let my own self-doubting stop me. I had given up so much this summer, and in return, my body had given much to me. I had succeeded. If I could accomplish this, I could accomplish anything I want to, no matter how far-fetched. I have a newfound respect for myself and my body, and am a bit more aware of the depth of my strength.
So now I need to take some time and reflect on myself, find out what it is my Wild intuition is telling me, set out on my path and go get it.