In 24 hours I will be nervously standing at the start line with 35,000 other people at the San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon.
And I am petrified.
Along with excited, anxious, overwhelmed, proud and a host of other feelings.
I remember 15 months ago, when I decided that I wanted to run a half marathon. At the time it seemed like such a dream. The twins had just turned a year old and I decided it was time to go back to the gym after almost 2 years of little to no exercise. We joined the local Y and I felt very good about leaving the kids in their amazing childcare. The kids loved going to the Y, it's really close to our house, brand new and clean, I had time to go and suddenly there was nothing stopping me from going to the gym. And that was the start of this journey.
I remember the first time I ran for 7 minutes straight. It felt amazing and I was so proud of myself. My next goal was 12 minutes, then a mile (yes, at first my mile took longer than 12 minutes!), then 2 miles, then 3... I was so shocked and proud that I could run 3 miles.
So I took the next step. There was this trekking class at the gym with all these girls who were real runners. Real runners. They ran fast and they ran intervals, sprints, 4x400's, repeats and they were real runners. I was so intimidated, but I joined one day. And that first day of class I ran 4 miles, longer than I had ever run. My new 'real runner' friends encouraged me the whole way. While they had run faster and farther than me, they still encouraged me in my accomplishment.
I kept running with these girls, signed up for my first half marathon and started training. Well, I got injured. My knees don't love to run. So I had to quit for 8 weeks. No running. Not getting to do that race was so hard. I felt like such a failure. A feeling I struggle with all too often and a word I use to define myself all too often.
So after taking lots of time off, I started to run again. Very slowly. 1 minute running, 3 minutes walking. While my knees weren't hurting, my ego was. But I kept at it until it felt good to run a mile. Then 2, then 3 and then I joined my 'real runner' friends again.
I, very nervously, signed up for the San Antonio Rock and Roll. It took me a long time to sign up because I was scared. Scared that I would have to quit and then feel like a failure...again. I'm sick of feeling like a failure. I'm sick of being a quitter. When things get tough...I quit. And there have only been 2 exceptions, being a wife and being a mom. I can't quit those. Everything else though, as soon as obstacles are in my way, I fold.
There have been obstacles in training for this race. I have had issues with my knee's, my piriformis (didn't even know what/where that was until it started killing me!), and the training schedule has been hard because my husband is a Resident and his schedule is erratic and because I have 4 little people that call me mom and because of soccer and schedules and...life. And I have been frustrated and overwhelmed and felt hopeless.
But I have refused to quit.
In many ways, this is more emotional for me than it is physical. At 32, I am still learning who I am and who I want to be.
And I want to be someone who finishes.
A couple of weeks ago I ran 9 miles. I got up early (something I hate to do), ran in the cold (something I hate to do), ran hills (something my knees hate to do), but did all of it anyway. I had a time in my head that I had hoped to finish in and I beat that time by 2 and a half minute. Doesn't sound like a lot, but in the running world, that's pretty good.
I was so proud of myself I cried. Sobbed on the side of the road like a crazy freak. I don't know how to say this without totally sounding selfish, but I did something that was all about me. No one else was depending on me to run, or needed me to do it, or had I committed to run for. NO ONE. It was just because I had set out to do it. There were hard parts to my run, but I didn't quit. I finished. Gosh, how often do I ever get to finish something I start as a mom and wife. That is just impossible to do and the feeling overwhelmed me.
And tomorrow I will know a whole different level of 'finish'.
There are so many things about tomorrow that have me nervous, at the top of the list is a number. The magical number that I would like to finish the race in. I am constantly reminding myself that I'm not defined by a number, this is my first race and have fun. Did you hear that self?
I definitely think that I will have fun. I'm running with my girls from the gym and am in the same corral as 2 of them. We're going down in a limo and have some VIP pass so will get dropped off at the race line! How cool is that?! And this is supposed to be a really FUN race. 26 bands along the race course and Joseph is bringing the kids to cheer me on - they are so excited. When I got home from my 10 mile run last week Caleb said, "I'm so proud of you mom!" He's told everyone at school and in the neighborhood that I am running a marathon. I love that kid!
So I'm filling my IPOD with rockin' tunes, getting my Garmin charged and preparing myself to take it all in and have fun! There probably won't be many pictures because my man will have his hands full with the kids (and he's terrible with the camera!) but if there are I will post them.
I've never run farther than 10 miles, so I'm hoping that sheer determination and adrenaline will carry me that last 3.1 miles. If you think about it, please say a prayer for me!
I'm sooooooooooooooooooooo excited!!!!!