Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lessons learned from my first half marathon

I've worked out moderately for the last five or six years, but since moving back to Idaho I haven't been too consistent.  Pretty hit and miss at best.  Recently a friend asked me to run a half marathon with her to celebrate her 40th birthday...in two weeks.  My brain, being the smart part of me, was logically saying, "No way!" and yet I heard my mouth forming the word, "Yes!"  WHAT???

As the day drew closer I began to get more and more nervous terrified.  What was I afraid of?  Not so much the pain, although I don't relish the thought of torturing myself for 13.1 miles.  No, it was more a fear of failure.  Of holding others back.  Of what people would think if I didn't finish.  Just being real.  Fear can either be a stumbling block or a motivator.  I chose to make mine a motivator and what I ended the day with was far different than the fears that plagued the starting line.

I learned:

Never underestimate the power of encouragement.  Around mile eight my entire body felt like wet cement.  Keep in mind I had never, up to this point, run further than three miles at a time!  Yes, that's right...three miles.  Running alongside me was my very own cheerleader, Susan.  I call her Pollyanna.  She is the most positive person I know and she spent her 40th birthday encouraging me to do what I didn't think I could.  She never let me quit, but pushed, cheered, laughed and best of all prayed with me the whole way.  The race itself was an amazing experience, but running with her alongside was even better.  I know for a fact I would not have finished but for her encouragement.

You are never too old to make positive changes.  I am 40...ish.  Things are migrating south that use to reside up north.  Time is marching on, but it doesn't mean I have to sit by and watch it happen.  I will probably never love running like some people I know, but I do love the changes I'm seeing.  Is my body changing?  Yes, but that's not the whole point.  More importantly it's changing ME.  It's changing my perspective and outlook on life.  There are some things in life that are out of our control...situations, relationships, aging, taxes.  Living life focused on what I CAN control allows me to trust God with the things I can't.  It's never too late to do things differently.

The choices we make are as much for others as for ourselves.  My hubby and kids were SO proud of what I accomplished.  Seeing and hearing that from them made every single painful step worth it.  They were there at the finish line cheering us on, even running beside us.  They see me getting stronger, making good choices and pushing myself out of my comfort zone and they are given the courage to do the same.

Good choices lead to more good choices.  Seeing what I'm capable of motivates me to keep moving in the same direction.  We're already planning on a race in September, but this time I'll be all trained up.  Mike is even training with me so he can run it with us.  It's having a ripple effect on our whole family and that's a very good thing.  We are learning and growing together.  Isn't that really the working definition of family?

I am far stronger than I realized.  Was I the fastest?  No, in fact I think we came in almost dead last.  Did I have the best form?  Nope.  I looked like a little old lady shuffling along the route.  Did I feel like quitting?  Absolutely!  But none of that mattered because ultimately I did what I never thought I could accomplish.  I CROSSED THE FINISH LINE. 

Every day of our lives is a race.  The question is will we run it well or will we sit by and watch everyone else run by?  Will we run with endurance, steadfastly looking forward to the finish line or will be live in mediocrity, crawling our way through each day?  Some days I run well and others not so much, but as Susan is fond of saying, "Just put one foot in front of the other!" and keep the finish line in sight.

1 comment:

Mike said...

I am still so proud of you for finishing the 13.1 miles! You showed strength, tenacity and perseverance by not giving up but finishing the race! I love you!

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