Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Still flying high

This is me at the end of 13.1 miles. I was at the absolute end of my endurance, but oh, what a wonderful thing this is. I feel like a new woman this week. I have been reading my marathon training books and find that I am supposed to crash tomorrow - the Wednesday after a Sunday race. And if so, that is fine. I feel great right now.

This race was such a victory for me. It wasn't fast, and it really wasn't a feat of athletic prowess. It was a feat of endurance and defeat over my very own personal demons - the very ones that have defeated me so many times in the past. You see, I don't like doing anything unless I do it pretty well. When I went back to college in my 40s, getting an A- felt to me like a huge defeat. A couple of those A minuses ruined my chance at graduating Summa Cum Laude. I ONLY graduated Magna Cum Laude - at the age of 48! ONLY. And when I got my masters degree at 50, I was so disappointed because I graduated without honors at all!

I think the reason I was willing to do this race is because of my age. I really think at 55, it is just a big deal to get out and do this thing. However, I wanted my time to be "good." So I trained, and trained, and trained... thinking that I was running 11 something minute miles. Which isn't bad. I was happy with that.

Two weeks before the race, I found out my time was considerably slower than that and I was devastated. I knew I could run 13.1 miles. But I would be slow. I was worried about walkers passing me (and they did). I was worried mainly about my demons raising their ugly heads and me succumbing to the seductions of my temper and my self-pity. I was worried that I would be angry, or hurt, or discouraged. I was worried I would be crying. I was afraid I would be ashamed of myself. I was worried that I would just give up and go home.

When I woke up the morning of the race, I just felt great. Every time I started getting anxious, I stopped it. I prayed that I would be able to run this race for the glory of Him, and not the glory of me. And then I decided to have the most enjoyable time possible. I put a smile on my face. I tried to encourage others who seemed to need it. I thanked every policeman along the way - for being out there so early on a Sunday morning. And every time I looked down at my Garmin, it seemed like the miles were putting themselves on there! I knew I was slow, but I was doing it! I felt great.

At 9 miles, I developed a stomach ache and I was heading up a long long long hill and I wondered how I could continue. Just then, I looked over to the side of the road and there was my friend Holly! I stopped and talked with her and after that, I was able to go on, with a new smile on my face.

This may sound Pollyanna-ish. But it is a revelation for me. I can be a long distance runner - I don't care how slow I am. I can do it! I do not have to defeat myself! This is such a victory!


Debbi said...

Wow ... just reading about your post-race feelings makes me want to do it all over again! This blogging thing is pretty cool, isn't it? I'm in kind of a slump, and your words could be just what I need to get back on track!

ws said...

I have to second Debbi's comments...I'm kind of stuck in mid-taper blues and I'm traveling also - thanks for the uplifting post. And, yes, to be a long distance runner you simply need the will to want to run and a pair of sneakers.

I've seen people cry in races often. In fact, I recall wanting to cry as I approached the finishing chute of my marathon and then I just laughed instead.

Marcy said...

I'm so happy for you!! ;D ;D And thank you for posting this, I think I'll keep it tucked away in my bookmarks for when I get closer to my HM, I'll most definitely need to read it before I go take the plunge.

It IS a big deal to go out and do this at 55!! My parents would probably keel over at mile one. I would be incredibly proud if they did something like this. As I'm sure your daughter is proud of you ;D ;D

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

As I re-discoverd myself this past weekend, training and racing involves both mental and physical preparation. If you can maintain the "I don't care how slow I am. I can do it!", the battle is half-won. :)

Wes said...

Every day you trained was a victory. That's the nice thing about us middle and back of the packers. We don't compete against anybody but ourselves. My definition is you put on your shoes and walk out the door, you are a winner :-)

Sounds like you had a great race. I am determined to not be "competitive" the next half marathon I do. I wanna enjoy it more and be strong, like you. Nicely done, and congratulations on your first half marathon. It only gets better from here.

Sue said...

Still flying high - and you have every right to be!

Running 13.1 miles is no mean achievement and you are way ahead of 99% of the population. No matter what the time - you are still a winner!

Jason The Running Man said...

Congrats...Congrats...awesome job. Great post and it brought me back to my half last month. You are a long distance runner!

runliarun said...

Long distance running IS a sport of endurance, not of speed. You are right where you need to be.

J~Mom said...

I know how you feel!! Great post!! Very motivating!