What got me across the finish line of my first big race

As soon as I crossed the finish line of my very first half marathon I might have fallen over if my run friend, John, hadn’t been there to wrap me in a hug and hold me upright. It wasn’t because I was exhausted or hurting that I was dizzy all of a sudden: it was from the overwhelming shock at having achieved the goal I had set for myself. I swear he was almost as excited for my achievement as I was and there’s magic in that.

Maybe magic isn’t the right word, because there was nothing magical about the sweaty training runs I pushed myself to complete in the months leading up to the Valley Harvest. No magic in the bloody toes and definitely not a drop of magic in the chafing caused by my sports bra. So if not magic, what the hell was it that kept me moving forward since I registered in May?

Strength?

I have certainly noticed a difference in my physical abilities since embarking on my training journey. I can run faster and longer and more efficiently now. I complemented my running with strength training and yoga and I’m fitter than ever.

just run

Focus?

Ignoring the cars that honked without looking to see who was driving because I needed to get through the next kilometre or up the next hill without giving up. Carefully selected playlists. Specifically chosen socks and tanks depending on the weather and distance and even my mood.

Determination?

I set a goal to give me direction through a challenging time in my life and there was no way in hell I was going to stop. I ran through sweltering heat and humidity and even through chilly rain. I ran jet lagged and tired and hungry. I swallowed more flies than I can count and even took a few home stuck to my contact lenses. But I never stopped moving towards my goal.

Support and encouragement?

My run club and fitness friends encouraged me and my friends and family supported me without fully understanding why I was doing it to begin with. I ran with an international army of supporters cheering me on.

I’m still not sure what got me across the finish line except to say I must have had it in me all along. No one followed my training or coached me on the way. My run club gave me the initial push to set the goal but I reached it. There’s nothing magic about what got me there but I think there’s magic in what I discovered along the way.

I realized that making the decision to start on a difficult path is the hardest part of the journey. Every step I took in training prepared me to enjoy every step of that race. Every beat of my heart reminded me that I’m living the life I choose to live and I’m heading in the direction I want to move in. I am stronger than I ever thought I could be.

Running. First, you feel like dying. Then, you feel reborn.

I’ve found friends I didn’t know I needed. I discovered abilities within myself I never knew I existed. I have uncovered thoughts and feelings and ambitions that were hiding for years. I found a happiness and peace on the roads of San Diego and Cape Breton and right here at home that have allowed me to inhale a new life and exhale the past.

Maybe there is magic in that.

 

 

 

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