My first half-marathon (The good, the bad, and the ugly)

“A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I completed a half-marathon yesterday. That’s 13.1 miles, people.

Okay, so I know I’ve been training for this since December. And yes, I’ve been writing about how I was inspired and driven to do this in memory and honor of Cindy Bolbach. I received many names from many of you to run in honor of those you love who are fighting or who overcame their battle with cancer… I received many names of those you wanted to honor and remember who have gone now. So, I want to begin this post by saying it was my privilege to do so. I have a healthy body that was able to complete a half-marathon yesterday while raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for those who are not able. That part was awesome.

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That said, many have already asked me when I’m going to run my next half-marathon or if I’m already feeling inspired to run a full marathon. To that, I want to say, NEVER!! Okay, I’ve learned never to say never, because I never thought I’d ever run a half-marathon. However, the truth is that I’m going to be signing up for a few more 10K’s before I go back to a half-marathon… because dear Lord, baby Jesus, there were times during that run that I really wanted to give up and not even walk to the finish line.

I really want to lie and report that it was AMAZING the whole time, but it really wasn’t. The quote by St-Exupery is twofold for me. Running a half-marathon awakened a stranger of an athlete in me that I didn’t know I was. However, during the run, it also awakened in me a stranger who was angry and in pain and wanted to give up completely on months and months of training.

Yep, around mile 9 or 10, it took every ounce of mental energy to put one foot in front of the other and keep running. I was frustrated on many levels at that point. One, my legs were aching and hurting SO MUCH. Two, my amazing running partner, Abby, was kicking butt and she LOOKED like she was totally fine and not in any sort of pain—and I was frustrated with myself because I could feel that I was holding her back. I hated knowing that. Then three, her joy and encouraging words when I was in so much pain and feeling horrible about holding her back, made me want to punch her in the face. Hahahaha… I LOVE YOU ABBY! I felt like I was in labor of some kind… birthing something new, and yet hating the process, and hating the person that was encouraging me and supporting me. At some point, I told her that I hated her. Yep, I told beautiful and wonderful Abby that I hated her after she told me something encouraging.

It makes me laugh now—and I’m REALLY glad she understood… and of course, I apologized immediately after it came out of my mouth. I was surprised at my own behavior and lack of will when that happened.

I guess even though I want to report an amazing victory entry about my first half-marathon like my other races, the truth is, it was HARD. The truth is, I am not motivated to run another half-marathon at this point, let alone a full marathon. Nothing in my body wants to do that for now.

But I did learn a LOT about myself—the power and ability of my own body and mind—and the weakness and frustrations that are deep within myself and brought out when I’m in a lot of pain.

Just for the record, I’m going to keep running. Having done this, I do know my body is capable of so much more than I allow myself to admit. I am surprised and amazed. I’m glad I did it. And special THANKS to all of you who supported me and cheered me on and sent me encouraging words!

And Cindy, I wish I could tell you about this run. I feel like you would have an awesome and witty remark about it to tell me. Thanks for inspiring me to get off my butt and do it.

13.1 miles. Done.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “My first half-marathon (The good, the bad, and the ugly)

  1. First off congratulations.

    This sounds so familiar. I few years ago I ran four races (5k, 10K, Half, and Full) to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. While I was running the full marathon I had a similar experience regarding, “why am I doing this?”

    You can see my reflection here: http://yearofmemories.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/hey-stranger-youre-awesome/

    One other side note. I met my wife in seminary and instead of the traditional dating rituals we trained for a sprint triathlon together. It was fun to have a partner pushing, encouraging, and lamenting with me. One of the things that became part of our ritual, and still does to this day, is the phrase “I hate you.” I know how that sounds, but in the context of us pushing each other past where we thought we could go, we would say I hate you, when the work out was hard but we were really glad we were doing it we’d say I hate you. I realize that is fairly twisted and my make you worry about the sustainability of our relationship. If during a race, or workout one of us looks at the other and says, “I hate you” we know it means “thank you” for getting me off my butt and doing something. So in that context I’m sure Abby got it.

    Blessings,
    Greg

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