After months of training, I did it – this past Sunday, I ran my first half marathon. Being that it was my very first time running 13.1 miles (the most I’d run up to that point was 10), I was nervous. My goal was to finish, running the whole time. I wasn’t too concerned with time. I just wanted to be able to say “I ran a half marathon” and have it be true. And so it is.
There are three things this experience has taught me:
1. It’s all about pacing yourself. I have a tendency to be a tad competitive, however in order to run a distance such as this, I realized I’m gonna have to let that go. People are always going to pass you. You are always going to pass people. Your goal and their goal are not the same goal. Focus on your goal, and don’t allow yourself to feel inferior because someone appears to be faster than you. You have no idea where they came from or where they’re going. Let them do their thing while you give your full attention to yours.
2. You can’t be great overnight. If I really think about it, I guess you could say I’ve actually been training since 2008, which was when I started running on a regular basis. Last year, I really picked up the pace though (literally) and when Jan 1st 2012 came around, I believed in my running (and training) ability enough that I decided a half marathon would be a New Year’s Resolution. I worked my butt off, folks. When I crossed that finish line, I cried. I’m not ashamed. Getting to that point took hours of hard work, intense training, and proper preparation. It takes all three of these in perfect harmony to run a marathon: and that principle can be applied to anything you really wish to achieve for yourself. You can do whatever you put your mind to, you just have to be willing to put in the work.
3. I will survive. As I was running along the Atlantic Ocean (yes, this marathon was at the beach!), “I Will Survive” came on my ipod. I did not have a pre-programmed “race playlist” – I like to let my ipod surprise me. Well, as the song played, and I ran and ran, I realized that no matter what happens, I really will survive. If I’m strong enough to run non-stop for 13.1 miles, I’m strong enough to stand on my own and do what’s best for me in other areas of my life; even if at first I’m afraid, and I’m petrified. I’ll hold my head up high.
I guess what I’m getting at here is that running a half marathon has changed my life. It taught me lessons I really needed to learn, such as patience, pacing, and doing what’s best for ME. I have had a recurring dream my whole life that tornadoes were chasing me; I refuse to ever dream that dream again.
I’ve finally decided my future lies beyond the Yellow Brick Road.