I want to write this post about my newest running accomplishment: I completed my first half marathon.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
First I just want to say this race was a very spiritual experience for me. Running 13 miles across the desert at sunrise was insane. I felt so free and light and strong. A ton of physical and mental preparation went into it and when the day became I must say it was a fulfilling, wonderful experience.
The race was long (obviously... 13.1 miles). I could write through every step of the race, but I think it would be great to write about the last three miles.
At about the tenth mile, I still felt amazing. Tired? Sure. But I really felt like I could push through and finish the final 3.1 miles at the strong pace in which I had started. I truly felt on top of the world.
Then I hit the eleventh mile, and I honestly thought "that felt like longer than just one mile." I still felt like I could do this, but the miles seemed longer and harder to do, and I was starting to feel tired.
By the time I got to the twelfth mile marker, I was in real pain. I felt a jabbing cramp in my rib and my legs felt like they were held together by much shorter tendons than they had been two or three miles back. I felt panicky at the thought of walking since I had not walked at all throughout the race, so I kept my legs moving... barely. I must have let about a hundred people pass me on that last mile.
I should probably back way up right now and talk about something I started doing when I was training. I started to chant a sort of mantra when I was feeling really tired. I would say "give me strength, keep me strong" over and over again and somehow it kept me going. So during this part of the race when I just wanted to stop and walk, I started to chant my mantra in my head. Along with that I sort of started to half-pray and half-self-talk. I said things like "just a little further" and "I know you can do this."
One thing that I said to myself was "you've survived so much more than this last mile..."
That was without a doubt the most powerful thought of the race. At this point I was not just thinking about the race. This moment changed everything about that last mile. I could not tell you if my stride lengthened or if I felt any less pain. But my best guess is that nothing physically changed during that last mile. Something inside was driving me past what was possible. It reminds me of something that I hear often in church: God will ask you to do things that you cannot possibly do on your own, but He will walk you though it if you open your heart to Him. I think that is what this race was all about for me.
This race made me so excited for the year to come. I would like to use this momentum to run more races and finish 2012 with a full marathon. So stay tuned for what's to come....