I’m pretty used to embarrassing myself by now, so it came to no surprise that I was four minutes late to my first Half Marathon race. I have to say this one tops the list. How could I be so casual about knowing when and where this race started? After all I had trained for 12 weeks, you’d think I’d take it a bit more serious than that. I guess knowing that the pamphlet with time and directions conveniently in the car was good enough. When you’re as busy as me sometimes it’s just easier to hope that I know all the details rather than actually making sure I know them.
I started racing towards the back end of the patch of runners as they were taking off yards away from me. My vision for this race had played out so differently in my mind. I was going to take it easy, listen to my body, pace myself… make it all the way to the end. I made sure not to make eye contact with any of the spectators making their way back down the path from the starting line as I dodged them. I didn’t want to do this anymore. I wanted to quit. And I almost did because it was ridiculously embarrassing.
But I didn’t. I didn’t because I had worked way too hard not to finish, I wasn’t about to let myself down. The even bigger reason why I didn’t quit was because my husband and kids were out there somewhere along the road waiting to see me run and finish. They were proud of me and they were excited, I wasn’t going to let them down either. So I kept running.
Once I calmed down and got my rhythm back I felt pretty good. I was passing runners so at this point I stopped worrying about being last. When I approached the mile 6 and my legs were starting to feel just a little tired. Then I spotted a very small group of people standing by the road. There was a tall and handsome man, a girl in a shiny pink jacket and a green wagon with two little ones inside, my family. I suddenly felt happy and shy at the same time. Happy because it was so heart warming to see them all there cheering me on and excited I was running towards them. Shy for the exact same reason. I’m definitely not used to being the center of attention. My husband snapped about a hundred pictures of me as I ran by, even after I passed. He can’t help himself. I saw them pulled over by the road a couple more times after that and about a few hundred pictures later they took of toward the fish line to wait.
Somewhere along mile 9 I was ready to quit again. I was alone. No one there to keep me motivated and I was extremely tired. I was paying for my early sprinting at this point. When I realized I was about 1 mile closer to the crowd and the finish line I woke up again. I heard music and cheering and suddenly I didn’t feel alone anymore, I knew my cheerleaders would be there waiting for me. I was excited again. I found energy somewhere, must have been all the adrenalin I had heard so much about that finally kicked in. Running felt easy again and I ignored the pain under my toes that I assumed was blisters.
As I closed in on the finish line I heard my name through the speakers…I did it, is all I could think. I crossed the finish line, they ripped of my tag to record my time and I stumbled towards my daughter who hugged me tight while cheering. It doesn’t get any better then that.
I will never be four minutes late again.
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