Brutal honesty time: I quit things I'm not good at. The fact that I excel in the things that I do right now is no coincidence. There's hard work associated, sure, but if I don't feel like my hard work is yielding me what I think I should be getting, I've quit. It was true on the AP Calculus exam, it was true with softball, and to a certain extent it was with gymnastics. I loved it, but I got injured too often to make the progress I needed, and in the absence of being "college scholarship" good, I gave it up.
Running is different. I ran for two years in middle school- cross country for Terrace Community School (GO TORNADOES!), but was always toward the back and didn't like to do it. So I gave it up. And by the time I decided I wanted to try it again, injuries from gymnastics (namely knees) made it hard.
So I went to physical therapy and worked through it. I had always avoided working through things that were hard for me, but this time I did. And after months and months of running, pushing for longer and longer distances and pushing myself past where I was comfortable, I came to today. 13-14 months in the making, and didn't quit once. I surprised myself.
The race today went better than I ever could have expected. I blew one side of my headphones, but kept going. And despite being terrified I'd have to go to the bathroom and not know where to stop (legitimately my biggest fear on any running course I've ever done), I made it the whole way through. And faster than I thought I would. The official chip time was 2:09:57. Whaaaat?
Highlights of the race:
(3) My bib number was my birthday! (823) As soon as I got it, I looked around frantically to see if anyone else's was their birthday, and then realized it was sheer coincidence. I was sooo excited!
(2) My friend Sarah from elementary school's father has been a distance runner for years. I remember seeing him run through the neighborhood every morning for years. He ran the race this morning and he passed me around mile 7 or 8. Coming over the bridge during mile 12, I managed to catch up to him, and stayed behind him for a bit, not thinking I could pass him. But I managed to, fully expecting him to pass me back and get ahead of me. But he didn't. Granted, he's a lot older now, and I had an unreasonable level of adrenaline going at that point, but being even close to him in the distance running realm blows me away.
(1) As I turned onto the straightaway to the finish line, dizzy from the spiral ramp that comes off the Clearwater Bridge, I saw a familiar face. Jeff freaking Parker came to meet me at the finish line! I was soo excited to see him- sore and exhausted and so incredibly happy to see a familiar face, and that he would take the time to come and be there for such a big moment in my life. It meant everything to have a friend there, and my heart was unbelievably happy- Jeff, thank you for making the experience for me. You amaze me :)
Today was a great day, the result of more hard work than I've put into anything, and I can't wait to see what else I can do when I put my mind to it!When I really think about it, there's a lot I know I could change about today's run, to make it go better next time. But the best thing right now is to remind myself I CAN do this.