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!