I wrote this after running the Austin Half Marathon this past Valentine’s day.
I remember a particularly difficult week of school, my last year of college. My college roommate and best friend wrote a quick note of encouragement, including words that would change my life. “You can do it and you will do it.” The certainty. Void of doubt. No questions asked. No hesitancy. All of this stuff that you think you can’t do – you can do it and you will do it.
I got a similar text from her today. “Today’s your race! You did it!!!” Not a question of whether or not I finished, what ended up happening, or anything. Just a certainty. Void of doubt. No questions asked. No hesitancy. She knew I could all along and she knew I would. There’s a simplicity in that.
Contrast that to what my mind constantly races through. “I can’t do this. What if I can’t? What if it’s bad? What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What if I let other people down? What if I get embarrassed?”
Well, I did it. And even though I did it, it is certainly finished. I just can’t get over the fact that I did something that I had deemed preposterous, laughable, crazy, impossible. Everyone who knows me was surprised I signed up, as if my lack of confidence in my physical ability was so convincing to even the people closest to me.
“I can’t believe I did it” just keeps running through my head.
As far as running my own pace went, I actually surpassed what I had done in my “training.” Almost everyone I know finished ahead of me. I actually kept turning back to be surprised that there were still masses of people behind me. I was constantly being passed, yet I was constantly passing others. It was the weirdest thing. The entire time though, I had a weird peace in knowing that I was doing the best that I could. The people around me didn’t affect my attitude or thoughts towards myself. It was great to be encouraged by people along the side of the road – what a testament to a city’s community. “Go everybody! Go runners!”
At mile 6, which is where I would typically hit a wall, I felt wonderful. Almost as if I was receiving some word of revelation from God himself about how this was a new chapter in my life. How today marked something big and significant. About how I dont’ need to carry the burdens of anxiety, stress, or exhaustion anymore.
Soon after, mile 7 hit and I wanted to cry going up a hill.
I felt tired for basically the rest of the race, but still okay.
On mile 12, there lie the largest hill I ever did see. Upon getting up the hill, I wanted to cry again.
Josh always knew I could do it. He pushed me harder than I wanted him to. But, maybe for good reason. Because, in my mind, this was impossible and outside of the realm of possibility. I couldn’t even run a mile when I began to train last year. Then, I couldn’t get myself to 2 miles. And then, after that, milestone after milestone was met. I ran 3 miles, then 4, then 5, then 6, then 8, then 10, then 12. And today, I ran 13.1 miles for the first time. It felt better than my last couple of long runs, although there were a few points I felt my body go tingly and the tears cry for escape. But, for the most part, it was joyful, tiring, and dare I say–fun?
I’m not sure that I’ll ever run long distances again. I think running 5 or 6 miles is about what I care to do. But, you just never know.