Integrity, doing what I say I’m going to do, is a BIG deal to me. I’m quite sure I hold myself to a much stricter standard than anyone else would expect. So when I said I was going to do the Shamrock half marathon today, I was in. But then it rained, a lot, for days leading up to today. Doubt didn’t just creep in, it full on body slammed me. Had I trained enough (no, not really), was I healthy enough (hmmm…debatable…had walking pneumonia about 6 weeks ago), who did I really have to prove anything to? No one was the answer to that last one, except to me. I said I was going to do it, I laid out the cash, and didn’t really want to give myself permission to flake. Yesterday, I’d gotten myself psyched, it wouldn’t rain much I figured, it was only a few hours of my life (I walk these, not run, so it takes a little longer), game on.
Then I woke up this morning to pouring rain and wind. Waffling set in, big time. My friend messaged me with encouragement and said she’d see me there. I not so secretly had hoped she was texting to bail on the race, which I may have taken as a sign to roll over. But no, an hour later I was headed downtown, thinking how it wouldn’t be that bad, the rain would stop, and I’d be with 3,000 of my friends out there running through Sacramento. When I got into the venue, I ran into a few friends from work, and that always peps me up plus it gave me company while I waited.
When the race finally started, I was good. Really, these things are great for people watching. Because I walk, I’m usually with folks for whom it’s a BIG deal to run a half marathon. I find that so encouraging. They are all shapes, sizes and ages and they are gutting it out on a Sunday morning to get a finisher’s medal and a bag of chips – ok, there was beer at the end, I just didn’t have any, would’ve if I could’ve but beer is no friend of my tummy. They are moms, dads, friends… and everyone is so encouraging of each other. I love that about these races. And there was rain, a good amount of it, and a lot of wind, but folks kept on going. There were lots of people on the sidelines cheering for the friends and family and I’m pretty sure some of those signs were meant just for me. Seeing the finish line was a spectacular feeling, I even ran the last hundred yards. Funny thing was, it was the fastest race I’ve ever done and I definitely felt like I earned that finisher’s medal. Rain and wind are great motivators to walk faster.
What holds true about a half marathon, or for any endurance type event I complete (not compete anymore, just complete), is that I persevere. I run through a million excuses in my head, but I still do it, and quitting is never I choice I even consider. It’s mental toughness training as much as anything. Did it hurt? Yes, it hurt. My stump killed me (I don’t have a left foot) for the last 5 miles, I prayed and breathed through that. But really, a lot of things worth pursuing aren’t easy, there are ups and downs and then there’s the glorious finish line. Or maybe there’s no finish line, just the joys and the lessons learned. I truly believe each of us has the ability to get out there and push ourselves harder than we could have imagined. Some do it in races, like mine today, but others do it by getting through life circumstances that seem insurmountable, and I’ve had those too. I know God is with me through all of it and that gives me strength and encouragement. And now I think I’ll go have a treat…I earned it after all.