Sunday, May 3, 2015

Last Half Marathon of My Thirties

Three years ago, I ran my first half marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska.

It was a purposeful choice.  I wanted to reinhabit my body again and to discover "me" outside of the busy, beautiful, exhausting role of mothering my three kiddos.  To say I fell in love with running would be an understatement.  It became a tour de force...a transformation, a pathway for me to be "me" that took on a life of it's own.  Since that first race, I've run several 10 and 5K's, 7 half marathons, 2 market-to-market relays and a marathon. 

And so, today, I woke up to run my last half marathon of my thirties back at my old stomping grounds.

I knew that it wasn't going to be a walk in the park.  My training had been more than wonky.  My long runs were good but not consistent.  And the weather was forecast to be sunny, in the 60's/70's with high humidity.  And while, that may seem appealing to many, I am a fair weather hot runner.  I much prefer the cold temps to the warm and I'm a fan of makes me feel like I'm going somewhere instead of the staleness of pelting hot sun on my back and face.

Nevertheless, you can't control the weather and so I set out.  My plan was to join a faster pace group than I usually do and to crank through with new songs on my playlist.

This is me at 5:15am after a shit-tay night of fitful sleep coupled by a fierce love in my heart to make this last race count.

This is me at mile 2 filled with excitement and happiness and the hope that the race would be good.

This is me a little while later truly feeling happiness in motion.

And then, at mile 10, it started to get hot. like really hot.  I dumped water on my head, my skirt, my back, abandoned my pace group and grabbed a much needed kiss of encouragement from my daughter, Kate.

Mile 12 had me pulling out every mantra of courage, strength, faith and determination that I had in my arsenal.  And before I knew it, here I was.

Running is not easy.  In fact, it's fucking hard.  But as I was driving into town, my bestie sent a text and said, "Never can do hard things...and in the end, you're better for it."  I pushed the shit out of myself today.  In many respects, it was my hardest race.  Fear, doubt, all crept in and it was not pretty or fun or enjoyable.  But as I crossed the finish line, I thought, that's it.  In a few short days, I turn 40...a brand new decade, a new opportunity, a beautiful time to once again explore and tease out me.  It's not always easy.  Many times it hurts.  And there are absolutely no guarantees.  But it's alive.  It's real.  And today, it's wearing a medal.

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