All my runners out there you know this number. The mile count for a half marathon. Of which I have now done twice. Perhaps you’ve run so many you’ve lost count, or you have just begun training towards your first 5K with your sights set on the miles ahead. Where ever you are, be proud of where you are and excited for where you will go.
Me, a runner? Tell me that a few years ago and I would have laughed in your face. I was perfectly happy on the elliptical for my cardio and running the occasional 5K that took the better part of an hour to complete. I didn’t love running… if anything it hurt my body like crazy and I couldn’t breath.
Ok, yes- in college I started to run more, like outside for distances greater then 2 miles, with the proper shoes and with a group of people. My times weren’t anything special and I was worn out by the activity. Skip ahead to my move to NYC and I was trying very hard to maintain my miles. But city running and summer heat made me put on the breaks. Fast forward to moving in with the boyfriend, running at the gym increased as we both joined Planet Fitness but try to run outside with someone who’s legs are twice as long and I was left in the dust. Losing self respect and self confidence, my running shoes say the dark of my closet.
Wait, what?? Now I have 2 half marathon medals hanging on my wall? When did this happen?
Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and set out to accomplish something just for you. Starting on New Years Eve and the Midnight Run, I committed to myself to do things just for me this year. To set new goals and reach them. To challenge myself, through running. And I signed up for 2 half marathons. 3 weeks apart.
First, I ran the MORE SHAPE Women’s Half in Central Park. This race marked so much for me. One year to the date that I was thrown out of my home and relationship. One year of not giving up or giving in. Once year of hard work and job promotions. One year of being totally alone and OK with that. 3.5 years sense my dad passed from cancer. Like 6 years sense graduating high school. Almost 2 years sense graduating college and moving to NYC.
Let me tell you, 13.1 miles gives you a lot of time to think! But finishing better then I had predicted for myself, and 2:24:20, at that finish line all I could think about what how amazing this experience was and how much I wanted more water.
But crossing that line to cheers, cause everyone is cheering everyone on- that’s when it’s all worth it. The medal isn’t bad either!!
Then I ran the Brooklyn Half. Yes, I trekked to Brooklyn (from Inwood) to set out on another 13.1 mile adventure that included airport security, 5 miles run in pouring rain, and a new PR- shaving off 3 minutes and crossing the finish line at 2:21:03. OH, and another medal!
I’ve also made some amazing friends alone the way. People in my neighborhood, other runners new to the distance, and people to compare compressions shorts with.
My amazing beautiful awesome roommates have been there for me at the finish line every time and thanks to live tracking, friends and family who can’t make it to Central Park, and certainly not Brooklyn have been able to be a part of the experience.
“Ruin is the road to transformation” ~ Eat Pray Love
Had I not fallen so far, felt like I lost so much, and desperately not wanted to give in and leave… I never would have decided to conquer a half marathon, much less 2. I wanted, no needed, to be a part of something. I needed to do something that only I could control… that i had to hold myself accountable too (training), and that wasn’t FOR anyone else but me. I didn’t run these races or set expectations to show off for anyone but myself and honestly, I didn’t care what others thought or if anyone else even cared.
I can see now now far I’ve come. I have found out things about myself that only surface when you have a lot of alone time with yourself. I’m stronger physically (well yes) but also mentally and emotionally. And that feels really amazing.
Long runs are about over now for the summer, but training never stops and there are more courses to conquer and medals to accept!