>> Friday, September 17, 2010
Ashley -- I LOVE your blog. Especially the healthy living fitspirations. What wonderful reassurance that we all battle certain demons with getting comfortable with our bodies. (Thanks, Jessica! We agree -- this series ROCKS!) It's been so refreshing to learn how different people have come to appreciate them for the wonderful tools they are. My healthy living post illustrates how I learned to accept myself as a runner -- which wasn't an easy process :-)
I've always identified runners as being tall and thin. They wear short shorts and visors. They have strange contraptions for drinking water and wear big watches. Runners breeze past me as I jog at a snail's pace.
So basically, I'm not a runner. A jogger, maybe, but not a real runner.
Up until last November, I had never run a race longer then 4.2 miles -- Pat's Run in Tempe, AZ. For some reason, around my 26th birthday, I began having hallucinations about completing a half marathon. I call these inklings "hallucinations" because that's how unrealistic it seemed that I would ever actually pursue this. Because every time I went running, all I could think about was stopping.
Nevertheless, with the support of a close friend (a real runner, she's done marathons –- plural), we began training together for a half marathon about a year ago. We had the best of intentions, but the problem was as life got busier, training got more demanding. We both realized about halfway through training that it wasn't a good idea to attempt the race. We instead opted for a 10-mile race that was going to be held around the same time.
After the 10-miler, I was really sore and really tired. And really mad at myself for not working a little harder and going for the half. A few months later, when I got an e-mail announcing the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego, I decided to try again.
Training for the half this time was more successful than before, I think -- in part -- because I told everyone I encountered about it. I made myself so darn accountable that even my coworkers were tracking my mileage.
In the month before the race I ran into a few challenges that almost threw me off course again (two puns, both intended). My hip started bugging me, work got painfully busy, and I caught a cold. I thought, several times, that this was not meant to be. The difference this time around, however, was that I knew better than to come this close and bail again.
The race was in June, over my birthday weekend, and I'm still amazed –- and thrilled –- that it happened. It was a struggle, no glossing over that, but what a rush to cross the finish line!
My friend stayed with me every step of the way -– bless her heart. I had some moments of serious whining and self doubt but refused not to finish.
- Can’t shouldn’t be in anyone’s vocabulary.
- Anyone can be a runner.
- Your time doesn’t really matter, you just ran 13.1 miles.
- A race expo for 45,000 people is completely overwhelming.
- Medals are the new black.
And . . . I finished. It was really hard, especially the last mile, but WOW -- what a rush to actually finish. I'm so glad I had the experience of the race, and moreso, the experience of pushing myself so far beyond my comfort zone.
Thanks for reading my story!
Jessica (check out her blog (mis)adventures)
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