Monday, January 25, 2016

Life lessons I learned from my first half marathon

Around the beginning of June 2015 a friend and I confessed to one another we had secretly wanted to do a half marathon. Being as unathletic as they come, I was certain this would always remain a secret dream. Somehow though, the two of us, barely able to run/walk a mile at the time were able to muster up enough will power to sign up and train for a half marathon. On November 1st both of us crossed that finish line. The feeling is like no other. During the training, running and completion of this race I have learned so many things, this is what stuck out.

I learned respect for my body. I gained an immeasurable amount of respect for my body as I prepared and ran my half marathon. The process was incredibly healing in I way I could never express. My teen years were plagued by debilitating hatred for my body. I struggled with eating disorders and unhealthy self-esteem. Any exercise either started out as a way to lose weight or morphed into an unhealthy measure for losing weight and micromanaging my body and caloric intake. I consistently pushed my body to unhealthy extremes. I expected perfection and peek performance without nourishing, resting or worst of all respecting my body. Somehow my body still managed to keep me alive and doing its job while enduring abuse from its boss. During my half marathon training I had reached a point in my self-care and self-esteem where I could healthfully train. I listened to my body and in return I was able to take it places I never imagined were possible. It was not always perfect and I stumbled occasionally but I grew tremendously.

A 12 minute mile is the same distance as a 6 minute mile. I have said it before and will say it again, I have not one athletic bone, or even cell for that matter, within my body. My race was a slow race. Something I was very self-conscious about at first. But you know what? My 2:47 minute half marathon was just that, a half marathon. It does not matter how long it took me to run 13.1 miles the point is I RAN 13.1 MILES. I have the bumper sticker to prove it.

It has nothing to do with athleticism and everything to do with commitment.  Athleticism helps, yes but I am living proof it is not necessary. Commitment to your end goal is all you need to cross that finish line.

Success is a choice. Saturday morning long runs were not my idea of a rocking good time. Giving up 3 hours to run when I had a million other things to do was not always easy or convenient. I did not achieve this goal by sheer luck. I made a choice and another choice, followed by a string of (mostly) good choices which led me straight up to the starting line of that race and which carried me across the finish line. Success in reaching this goal was not a gamble or a blind shot in  the dark which happened to work in my favor. It was a deliberate choice to succeed followed by re-choosing success more days than not from June 2015 until I crossed the finish line on November 1st.

Butt cheeks can chaff. So can armpits. And boobs. And holy heck YOUR THIGHS. Also, blisters, man. Blisters taking up the entire bottom of my foot. There is no moral or lesson in this point. Just know, your butt cheeks can chaff.

Have you ever run a half marathon or other race you had always wanted to complete? What did you learn? Any Suggestions on chaffing cream?

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