But no excuses, not from this ninja.
Building up to this moment - running my first half marathon in over two years - has been quite the challenge. A lot of people only see this as a physical endeavor, but mine was more mental than anything else. Having come off an injury to some seriously necessary tendons that connect the adductors and hamstrings to the inner groin, doing the same activity that caused these injuries was slightly challenging. What if I did it all over again? Why would I put my body at risk? Wasn't this just the definition of INSANITY???
Well, yes, all runners are a little insane I'd venture to say, but coming back to running was like coming back to myself. We all have things that we love to do that just speaks to an inner need that others cannot see and most everyone has a hard time understanding. A lot of my family and friends felt that I was being reckless in my choices, that there were equally good alternatives that wouldn't put me at risk. Yes, certainly there are, but nothing connects to my creativity, gets my brain pumping and my positivity overflowing quite like running.
You may not understand it but the 22,000 other runners at the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach sure knew exactly how I felt. Who else gets up before the sun to pay to run when they can run the same mileage for free ANY DAY? Athletes. Who else gets fed by the surge of fellow runners, ebbing on the wave of their energy and overcoming obstacles and shattering goals? Athletes. Who else can walk around post-race, cramping in places they never knew really existed, smiling through their pain and vocally planning their next race? Athletes.
So back to that mental battle....
To say that I completed EVERY SINGLE RUN that my 9-week training plan presented to me would be a lie. There were times that I mentally just wasn't there and couldn't force myself to get through anything let alone a run. I mentally feel back even though physically I could have gone on for miles. My lungs were there and ready, but my mind had convinced me that those twinges and pains I was feeling were serious enough to call it a day. I struggled through this training almost every single day. But I still showed up, I knew what I was up against, and I was determined to reach my goal: run my first half marathon in over two years without injury, and under two hours.
I reached my goals, but not without a final test of wills. My iPod, which I use to get in the zone and track my progress, froze around mile 3 and refused to start working again. Ten miles to go, and the only noise I could hear was the sound of my breath and the beating of my heart. My beloved music, gone!!! How could I possibly finish now? Maybe I should just quit, stop, and turn back...but no, no, I set a goal, I've worked hard for 9-weeks, I showed up and there is nothing holding me back except myself so SORRY BRAIN, you gotta put that negativity to rest because I am on a mission. I will not stop. I will not fail.
I crossed the finish line at 1:55:14...and I even sprinted there with a smile! My tendons held, my brain took my side, and we glided to victory with minutes to spare. All in all, it was a wonderful experience with one reoccurring through-line: your journey is unique, your experiences are your own, so quit comparing yourself to others and start making goals to accomplish what YOU really want out of life.
Plus...it's really nice to be back in the running world.