This weekend I finished my fourth half marathon.
This was a brutal race.
It started raining in the middle of mile one.
It did not stop until after mile twelve.
The rain fluctuated from sprinkling to blinding downpour. My clothes were soaked through by mile four.
There was a hill (or 2 or 3) in every single mile.
So I was soaked, cold (it was below 45 all morning), and my source of music was out since I was afraid of drowning my phone. I was feeling defeated every turn staring up at the road at another hill.
Here I was running with just my thoughts for 13 miles. Why did I do this to myself?
As you see on my shirt, I chose to run this race for T.J.
I was able to raise a $615 dollars for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. It wasn’t quite my goal, but still awesome to see the outpouring of love and support. I have left it open for anyone else who feels compelled to donate.
I didn’t run the whole thing. Many times, quite frankly I wanted to quit. Between the hills and rain, I was miserable. But then I remembered TJ, and a smile was put back on my face.
I started to really take in the race, more than I had for the last three (even Disney). Shocker I know.
Running for two and a half hours gives you a lot of time to be with yourself. It is a lot of time to criticize that I wasn’t going to PR, or focus on the cramp in my leg, or wonder if the liquid running down my face was rain/tears/snot.
But having TJ in the back of my mind made me run in a totally different way.
I had so much fun on this race despite being cold and sopping wet. I saw parts of Clarksville that are absolutely gorgeous in the fall. Since I wasn’t worried about time (well only to get into dry socks), I was able to observe things and be in the moment. We often try to rush to the end goal, so it was nice to take in the process. I was running somewhere between a walk and a hard pace. And I was quite content with that.
I think “every day should be race day.” And here is why.
1. People are constantly cheering for you. Who doesn’t love compliments like “You doing great.” “Work it girl.” “You are strong.” Some people even hold signs for you or come out in the road to give you a high five. Seriously, can these people come to my office all day?
2. Along the same lines, I have never felt that these races are competitive. Constantly you are cheering for your fellow runners on. I always end up running in the same group. You ebb and flow. Sometimes I was ahead of the rest, sometimes I was at the back. But the common theme was that we cheered each other on when we needed it most. We gave each other a heads up if the turn around was ahead. We made jokes to take away the fact our body was cramping. We ran along side each other to give the other person strength to take the next step. I think things in life would go much smoother if we took a lesson at this. Support each other even if it means you wont “win.” We are all living, so technically we are all winning. Comparison is the stealer of all joy. Run your race, and don’t be jealous of what others have.
3. Work hard and put in a solid effort, and you will be happy with your results. I am really proud of what I did today, and I worked for those 13.1 miles. No one can take that away from me.
4. No one criticizes what runners wear. Actually the more neon the better. I wear a fanny pack people. I would be ostracized if I wore a fanny pack to work or out and about. Think about it, these races are super accepting of all people.
5. Puddle jump. Oh hey rain. You tried making this race all about you? Well take that and puddle jump. Seriously enjoy life. (Why I realize that this doesn’t occur on most races, but I think there are ways to make every run fun…my interpretive dance walks are a big indication of this.) So take a moment to enjoy what you are doing in the here and now.
6. Do something to challenge yourself. This race was grueling with all the challenges, but the biggest challenge was the mental game. Being able to say you accomplished something challenging like this is a huge confidence boost. You also learn that you can do things if you just believe in yourself. We can do more than we realize.
7. There should be cookies at the end of everyday. Run for the cookies. Live for the cookies.