Since my mid-December transition out of a taxing position on night shift there have been some major happenings with the not-so-drunken scientist. Ditching the two bottle Tuesdays and after work drinks for two-mile-mornings and kale smoothies after yoga I have accomplished the impossible (or so I thought)….a real life, for serious, no joke, half marathon. This all began with a New Years resolution to take better care of myself and focus on my goals for my personal life. As I am the daughter of two amazingly motivating people, I knew I needed a serious challenge. I wanted it to be something I couldn’t even fathom achieving. I found it the day a coworker asked me to join her in a half-marathon along Lake Winnipesaukee. The 13.1 mile course was an ordeal in itself and after registering I found out that the run followed up Mt. Major and along the water with rolling hills….I began second guessing my decision instantly.
My entire life I struggled with running, from the mile requirement in gym class, to watching others partake in 5Ks. I always envied those that made running seem so effortless and meditative. I found it slow, boring, and extremely painful (so naturally I decided to take it on). I wanted to find out just how far I could take my body.
The day of the race I woke up with a lingering sinus cold and an ache in my knee from a bad fall running the previous Sunday night (uneven sidewalks can be a tricky beast in the dark). My shin splints were finally on the mend and my mind was racing with doubt. The farthest I had run during my training was 4.5 miles…that is 1/3 of what I had to accomplish this exact morning. I was terrified. Suddenly we were at the starting point and I was scrambling to remake my playlist that I accidentally deleted at 7:57am. It was 8:00am and suddenly, we were off. A sea of runners bouncing down the course toward the finish line and cold beer. Conversations and jokes swirled around as we set our pace and focused on the road ahead. It was as if I had blinked and we appeared at mile 8, I smiled and shouted out that this was the most I had ever run, the thrill and adrenaline fueling me. THEN mile 9….heartbreak hill. The first 8 miles were a breeze before this moment. Everything I had I poured into my legs, sweat soaking every inch of my body. By mile 11.5 I felt as though I couldn’t make it one more step… I thought of all those that couldn’t run, those that had motivated me and pushed me to work harder, my father who rode his bike even through chemo…and I just kept running. Crossing the finish line was unreal, the heavy metal around my neck seemed like an illusion. Somewhere in a state of numb and extreme pain I felt this amazing high. I had done the impossible, I had run half of a marathon! I suddenly understood what it meant to be a runner. To devote the time and mental energy to train. To not just look at the finish line 13 miles away, but the road 13 feet ahead. Not only did I accomplish a physical goal (running for over 2 hours), but a mental one as well. I gained a greater appreciation for my body and a reconfirmation of my strength.
And in a few more months I’ll be doing it again…except faster. Cheers!