On Sunday morning, I put on my leggings, my long-sleeve thermal shirt, long socks and tied my running shoes. I slipped on my earphones and when the race organizer counted down from 3, I set off.
I began my half marathon journey on the KVR trail and for the next couple of hours I was alone with my music, my thoughts and the trees.
When I rang in 2017, I set out to accomplish a number of New Year’s resolutions. I posted a blog post about them (read that >> here <<) and the biggest goal I set for myself was to run a half marathon. Last year, I ran a 10km race and I wanted to hit the next running milestone.
The year has seemed to come and go WAY faster than I thought it would. It was in the summer that I reread the resolution’s blog post and realized I hadn’t run since my 10km race and I never signed up for my half marathon.
In that moment, I looked for an upcoming race and signed up. Bib number 773.
For the past couple of months, I’ve been training (kind of) and on Sunday I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon and of the biggest goal I’ve set for myself.
In the time I was running, a lot of thoughts went through my head and I wanted to share with you those.
“I could give up now and no one would know”
This was the most profound thought that came into my mind. I could just give up and no one would know. I wouldn’t have to tell anyone I turned around earlier than I was supposed to. I’d have a faster time and I would bring myself out of the pain I was causing to my body.
I thought about giving up multiple times that race. But every time I thought about giving up, I thought about there ALWAYS being MORE of me to give. Whether that was in my race or in my day to day life, our motivation, compassion and drive can always have more to it. We can always be more motivated, more compassionate, more loving and my drive always has more within it.
Instead of giving up, I pushed myself. Lying to myself and anyone else wasn’t in the cards that day (or any day for that matter) and I kept going.
“Why am I doing this?!”
I’ve never put my body in so much pain before as I did on Sunday. The temperature was bone-chilling, the course was packed full of snow and ice and I couldn’t understand why I agreed to do this to myself.
My eyes nearly were filled with tears at several different parts of the race because my body felt like it was shutting down. The cold was just too cold.
When the question of why was I doing this surfaced in my mind, I just repeated this word:
I committed myself to doing this race. I could have stayed in bed, canceled the run because of the weather, but when I commit to something, I need to stay true to my word. It’s the most important thing I have.
“What if my friends aren’t proud of my time?”
The day before my race and the morning of my race I got SO MANY messages and well wishes from friends and family. It was actually quite incredible and something I didn’t expect at all.
I didn’t even think people would remember that I had committed to this race or that it was happening. But, the universe showed me that people care.
Those good wishes and inspirational tips helped me push through those hard times in the race.
When I was running I knew that Matthew would be at the finish line waiting for me. I had a sneaky suspicion that Monika and Kelly would also be there cheering me on. I was right! They even had signs with my face and Obi’s face on them. Hilarious!
But with knowing they’d be there, I began to have this fear that what if my time wasn’t good enough?! What if they weren’t impressed or proud of me accomplishing the biggest goal I’ve ever set for myself?
As people passed me and I knew I was in the last group of solo half marathon runners, I started to think about it. As long as I was proud of myself for accomplishing this goal and finishing this race, that’s all that matters. MY thoughts and MY happiness matters.
I was proud of myself. Yes, I was over the time I wanted to have, but it was also horrid weather and it was hard to breathe, meaning I had to walk more times than I would have liked to, to catch my breath in the snow and icy wind.
And just like Lori said, “They can’t say anything about your time, they’re not even running it!” LOL. truth!
“This is inspiring”
As the sharp winds hit my body, people were high fiving me as we passed each other and it filled my body with such a warmth that I can’t explain.
It nearly made me cry because it was this instant connection that had nothing but love and compassion working with it.
Races have this camaraderie that are like team sports but even better. It’s a solo event, but everyone is encouraging each other and pushing each other to keep going.
The runner’s high that everyone talks about is a real thing and the inspirational thoughts and feelings brought back my love for running.
“When’s the next one?”
Yes, you heard me right and I was shocked when I heard this myself. Even though there were A LOT of parts about the race that I didn’t love – the weather, the icy trail and my body freezing – I’m looking forward to signing up for another one.
I’m hoping to sign up for one with my friend Monika in the new year. Now I have a time to beat, I know I need to make training more of a priority and I know I’ll NEVER book another half marathon in the winter again for a long time.
Setting goals aren’t always quick and easy. They take time and effort to accomplish and sometimes it may seem easier to give up and forget about it. But, let this be your push to keep going. Think about a goal you’ve had, but pushed it to the side because it was too hard to accomplish. Pick it back up and start working towards it today.
When you accomplish it, like I did when I crossed the finish line, you will feel this overwhelming sense of accomplishment and excitement. Two of the best feelings out there!
Happy goal setting and goal crushing!