The story of my 1/2 marathon all takes place in those hours of running the race. The story of running within a few feet of horses, cows, and chickens. The Amish children all along the course sitting on stone fences with siblings on laps to watch. The horse and buggy that passed me along the road.
There was a lot of conversation I had with myself for these hours. Like deciding where to put my feelings of adequacy, comparing myself to all the runners that were passing me, and doubting being there. Everything I wrote firmly on Friday was truly being tested.
"These thoughts if allowed will stifle progress, stifle confidence, and stifle peace in ourselves."
Finally, after inner turmoil the first 5 miles, I began repeating in my mind: Be true to yourself. Be true to yourself. I now stopped worrying about my end time, if I would be at the very end of the race, and started to focus on being true to everything I had trained for by pushing my own limits.
The experience became more to me. I learned to take each obstacle as it came, like walking up the steep hills so I could run again at the top. I learned how to handle my hurt leg when it would make running difficult. I ran and ran and ran. I prayed. I smiled at the incredible view from creek to farmland. I tried to take mental pictures of the moments when I felt on top of the world as I ran energized, surrounded totally by green. I kept the mental image of my husband and four kids (which were awoken at 6 am to see me off) waiting for me at the finish line: a perfect conclusion to four months of my mental and physical boundaries broken.
Days later it is starting to sink in. I did it! My body still seems unforgiving. In some ways it was easier than I imagined. In other ways, I wasn't exactly what I imagined. (Like running more than the 13.1 miles because I was accidentally rerouted on a different road. It took some time for me to get over that... and mentally moving on.)
Now I can look at the whole wonderful, difficult, and exhilarating experience and feel peace at my experience.
I feel stronger. I've become more. And hey, ran more than anyone there. I'm so grateful for all of the support and involvement you, as friends and readers, have had with this whole experience.
the sleepy time gal