It’s another year. Another marathon. Another series of races.
Things are going really well. I have finally figured out how to listen, really listen to my body. Accept that age and time and lifestyle all play their part in my performance. That the only thing i want to beat is myself. I want to track down those demons that haunt me and beat them out of my head. Push myself to the point that i want to quit, just give up. And then not do it. Don’t quit, don’t give up, just keep going. One more mile, one more step, one more day.
I ran in a small local race yesterday and pushed myself harder than i ever have. I wanted to be fast. I wanted to see exactly how much i could push. I ran at the very fastest speed i was capable for every mile of the six mile race. I had a couple in there that were under 8 minutes and all the rest averaged around 8:10. I felt like quitting. I felt dizzy at times. I felt my heart pounding on some of the hills. My breathing was quick most of the time, but when i started to think about it, i hyperventilated. I thought less and just concentrated on the little bit of road ahead of me. I didn’t care who passed me or who i passed. I just kept thinking “this is all about me.” That hour of my life i only thought about myself.
It was freeing. It was adrenaline. It was amazing.
I finished the 10km race in 50 minutes and 36 seconds. (my chip time was 51 even, but i’m going with my Garmin because i can.) I never thought i could keep on getting faster. Fitter. Stronger. I won a ribbon for placing 8th in my age group which made me giddy and proud.
The funny thing is late last night a friend posted some photos of me from the race and for a moment they defeated me. In my self-conscious eyes i looked horrible. I didn’t see how i feel. I saw a normal woman running. I didn’t see the runner i feel like. And that was hard to take. Defeating.
I had to sit and remind myself that this is, really and truly, my own journey. Running has made me healthier than i have ever been in my life. It has given me focus and drive and determination. Goals both attainable and a huge stretch. It will not turn me into something i am not. It will not transform this body that is mine by genetics and make-up. Most of the runners i see in races look exactly like me. A normal person.
But this is not completely normal is it. Most people don’t run marathons. Spend entire months completely focused on one thing. Running until they are about to break. Sometimes breaking. It is time to celebrate everything we do that is extraordinary.