Let me start by saying that I am not a Runner. Yes, I run. Yes, I run in events. I even have the clothes and the gear that make me look like a runner. But make no mistake about- I do NOT like running. Every time that I run, my shins have something to tell me- and it is NEVER nice. It goes something like this, "Sit down Heifer! No one has stolen one of your children and there isn't a tiger chasing your ass- I said, sit down Heifer!" After about two miles of that, my body gets that we are not stopping and it falls in line. So then why the hell do I do it?! I run for two reasons: 1. I can and many folks would do anything to get up and run and 2. I get life in 13.1 miles.
Since the first reason can be wrapped up quickly, let's start there. A fabulous woman, Marisa Mancke from Happy Hour by Marisa
(fitness goddess) can usually be heard saying to celebrate that healthy body simply because you CAN. My times may never break any records and it is never pretty but I am out there. I think about the world that we live in and the folks that are plagued by whatever in their life. Perhaps cancer patients that are going through chemo, the child with NF that has tumors growing on his spine, the wife who has MS, the nephew laying in a hospital with his brain swelling from a freak accident. Who am I to take this healthy body for granted and not move it in one way or another?
So how do I get life in 13.1 miles? Heads up for you, the two stories are going to be woven together but I know that you can follow it. It's like this- say that you choose to go to college after high school and then you land a great job. Consider your schooling you training. You don't want to get up, your class is too early, it's cold and you rather stay in bed, you stayed up late last night eating and drinking too much and you rather call it a day, it's hard, etc. All the same can be said of your training for a half marathon (HM). It is not something that you want to do but rather something that you are committed to. It really takes something just to get through the training, whether it is for school or an HM.
You have now graduated and you are getting ready for your first day on the job- the one that you wanted! In the running world, this is the event that you have been training for. You are nervous, excited, and filled with anticipation. You start out and it is great- the energy has you going faster and doing more than you thought that you could. Every one is smiling on the run and greeting you at the office. Before you know it you make it mile five- or you get a few months into the job but then you realize...hmm, this might take a little something to finish.
So now you buckle down and take this more seriously. You get inside of your music, or focus on that big project, pay attention to your stride and your breathe, and you get the magnitude of what you are up to. You take time here and there to make sure that you are well supported- water or gel at the aid stations, home cooked meals after work, or quality time with loved ones.
I swear, just about mile 9 the miles seem to be measured incorrectly. They are getting longer! You may or may not be getting the time splits that you wanted or producing the results on that project at work. Something may be missing and now you need to find what it is and get on with it. A little extra fuel, a conversation on the course, deepening relationships with co-workers working on the project, or extra funding for the project. You manage to be getting along and then you hit it....
Mile 11...and there is a hill. In the area of work, this is where you find that the project could be stopped, right here. The funding fell through, the boss doesn't think that you can pull it off, and your thighs are completely blown out already at the bottom of the hill. Time to decide: Will I do this or not?
You push and you push and you push- I didn't spend all that time training to not do this! And I sure as hell am not going to let someone's doubt get in the way of this project. And there it is: Mile 12 and couldn't look any better. Just a mile and a bit away to the finish line. Giving it your all, everything that you got, you can hear the people cheering, the music, the anticipation. At 12.75 you turn it on giving whatever is left- all or nothing. The midnight oil is burning and you are completely lit up! Imagining crossing the finish line or delivering that proposal never could compare to the actual experience of doing it.
Of course, it isn't finished when you cross the finish line. You get the great conversations after and a sense of camaraderie with people around you. You look back at what worked and what didn't- what could you do differently next time. Yup, that's right...next time! You didn't think that this was a one time deal did ya?
Yeah sure I get to use the analogy of some days being a sprint and others an HM but I also get to use life in 13.1 in so many areas too. Work, projects, events, parenting, and even marriage. We find out what we are made of and what we are willing to do in order to get the results that we are committed to getting. We get to be inspired by ourselves when we look at our accomplishments and intimately know just what it really took to create them.
As I sit here writing this post, I have ice on my knees from yesterday's Girlfriends HM
13.1 miles in 2:57:26. I got to finish and inspire other women on the course that we ran tofor the Susan G. Komen Foundation, I got to meet new girlfriends, I got to share the course with my amazing sister in law Jennifer, I got to see just what we are made of, and I got that there isn't anything in this world that a bunch a gutsy folks can't do! I got life in 13.1 miles.