Two days. TWO. That’s how long before I run my first half marathon. Holy cow!
This week’s emotions have run the gamut from abject terror to giddy excitement. This afternoon is different though. Those emotions have given way to thoughtfulness.
I’m the girl that was never good at running. I would start out, struggle, and quit. I told myself for years that my swimmer’s muscles weren’t meant for that kind of pounding. Turns out it was all a sham. A lie. A self-limiting belief. (Kudos to Dena from Evolution You for a fantastic and powerful post on these!).
These past 10 months I threw that notion that I’m not meant to be a runner right out the window, one minute and one mile at a time. I focused on time, not distance or speed. I ran for 60 seconds at a time, then 90. I ran for 5 minutes, then 15, then 30. I continued adding time to each long run and the miles started adding up… five, six, seven.
The first time I ran 8 miles I finished feeling like I could have gone a little farther. I was so elated that I danced in the parking lot. When I got injured two months before the race, I cried my eyes out. I pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of physically and in doing so had to push myself mentally as well. I struggled with a constant barrage of negative thoughts like ‘you’re not a runner’ and ‘you can’t do this… why even bother’ and I persevered.
I thought this race would be it. Proof that I am not an impostor. Proof that I can do a sport that still does not come naturally to me. Proof that I can reach any goal I set for myself. Proof that I deserve to be lumped in with that special group of athletes I so admire.
It’s funny how it didn’t hit me until today. Just now. I already proved all that. I went out in the cold, rain, and heat over and over again and I ran. I lived and died with my training these last months. I don’t need a race distance or finish time to validate this. It’s written in sweat and tears and worn out treads.
I AM A RUNNER.
This race? It’s a victory lap.