**This website uses affiliate marketing and cookies. To learn more about what this means, visit our affiliate disclosure statement by clicking HERE. **

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

She believed she could, so she did.



Before my 30th birthday, I sat down and made a list of thirty things I wanted to do before entering a new decade. I wanted to donate my hair to Wigs For Kids, do the BYU Y hike, and learn how to make bread, to name a few.  Also on that list was one particular goal that scared me, but was one I wanted to accomplish more than any of the others: run a half marathon.

Let me just preface this story by telling you I am not a runner. If you ever see me running, you may want to consider running, as well, because chances are, there is something big and scary chasing me.

I do not enjoy running, though I have tried. However, this goal was not about running. No, this goal was simply to prove to myself that I can do hard things. A few months before setting my 30 before 30 goals, I had gone through a very difficult trial that had almost completely obliterated my confidence. I felt weak and vulnerable. Running half marathon was a goal I set for myself to remind me how strong I am. It was about proving to myself that I am good enough. It was about doing something for myself that no one could do for me. It was the goal that meant the most and truly had the most importance to me.  If I only checked off one accomplishment on the whole list, THIS would be it.

I started working out and running at the rec center by our house. I was dedicated. I pushed my workouts and felt myself getting stronger every day, but I never pushed myself too hard. I told myself I was doing great and not to get burned out. I think that if I had given myself a little more time to work slowly toward my goal, this method would have been fine, but I only had a few months to prepare. Although I had done some, I would later wish I had done more.

The morning of the race we woke up very early to meet up with some friends who had agreed to run with us. Thank goodness for friends who are as crazy as I am, who are and are willing to participate in my insane plans. We hopped on the bus that took us from the finish line, where we had parked, to the starting line. I was so excited! I felt amazing and energized.

Then the bus began rolling.

The drive up the canyon was long. The more we drove, the more knotted my stomach became. Pretty soon, all the energy and confidence I had felt getting on that bus had melted into self-doubt and concern that my training had not been nearly enough and that getting through this race would take every ounce of willpower I could muster. I was terrified--the thought of hiding on the bus was more than a little tempting.

However, my desire to check off that goal from my 30 before 30 list was so strong. The idea of staying on that bus and riding back to the bottom was fleeting and I found myself digging deep to find the courage to line up with the other runners. I moved in the starting direction. Gathering courage and casting my fears aside, I lined up toward the back.

A loud crack filled the air, and the crowd before me started moving quickly back in the directions we had just come from. With one last courageous boost, I willed my feet to move. The race was on! I trotted along, holding on to images of crossing the finish line, just trying to keep up with the people around me.

The race was mainly downhill. Running downhill was lovely the first mile or so, having gravity pulling me forward. But soon, my shins, knees, and back strained and burned with exertion. My trot slowed to a brisk walk alternating with jogging, when that became too much I kept up the brisk walk. As I neared the end of the eighth mile, my whole body hurt. My only focus was putting one foot in front of the other.

I passed the sign indicating I was on my ninth mile and suddenly I felt a little better. I could hardly believe there were only four more miles to go! I had almost done it! I picked up my pace again, jogging at a steady cadence. I focussed on the sound of my sneakers slapping the pavement as I moved ahead toward the finish line. My mind was focused on those three little babies of mine who would be waiting for me there. I could hardly wait to see them!  I picked up my pace some more, as thoughts of sitting in the hot tub entered my mind. Oh, how wonderful that sounded!

Just then, my toe hooked on a loose piece of asphalt and I crashed to the ground, rolling my ankle and hyperextending my hip on the way down. I scrambled to my feet as quickly as I could, but the pain was so intense, I immediately fell back to the ground. My mind filled with thoughts of quitting. There was no way I could finish...

I sat there on the side of the road and rested for a few minutes. I knew the longer I sat, the harder it would be to get going again. I also knew if I quit, I would probably not try to run another half marathon. Fighting back the tears that threatened to spill over, I tried again. This time I managed to stay up.

Small Victory.

I gingerly stepped forward, trying to assess the damage. It hurt, but I was ok.

Another small victory.

I found a pace that worked. It was slow, but it was progress in the right direction. People passed me left and right. Some asked if I was okay, others stuck with me and rested for a minute before moving ahead. I was doing all I could do, whether it was enough for someone else didn't matter. I was doing what was best for me. Slow and steady.

I celebrated a little when I limped through miles ten, eleven, and twelve. Mile thirteen I could hardly walk.  I knew I was almost done. I knew the end was just around the corner. I just didn't know if I could endure anymore.

Finally, I reached that last tenth of a mile. The 0.1 that meant I completed my goal. I rounded the corner toward the finish line. There were so many people lining the sides of the path. They clapped and cheered as I painstakingly finished the last few steps. Tears rolled freely down my cheeks. Then, the most glorious sight I had ever seen: My kids were running toward me, their arms outstretched, their eyes sparkled and they were smiling from ear to ear. My heart about burst!

Crossing the finish line at 4 hours and 7 minutes, dead last is where I finished. But those last two words are the most important: I FINISHED!!! It was the BEST feeling ever.


I think about that experience often. There are times in life when we feel prepared only to realize our best efforts aren't quite enough. Times when we life knocks us to our knees and it is all we can do to stand up and take things one step at a time. Times when life gets so hard we don't know how we will make it through. This experience taught me it is important to recognize when we are tired and to rest... but not to rest so long that we give up. Just keep moving. Just keep trying. Keep stepping forward. Don't give up. The end result will be so worth it. Nothing feels quite as wonderful as checking off a goal that was really hard to accomplish.





24 comments:

  1. i'm sorry about your fall. you okay? but wow congratulations on your first run. what an achievement.

    Joy at www.thejoyousliving.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It was a doozy of a fall, thankfully I am totally better now.

      Delete
  2. I used to run cross country in high school and I was always dead last. I hated the feeling, but I also didn't want to do that sport :) I'm glad you saw it all the way through!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cross country is no joke! You're tough for sticking with it!

      Delete
  3. aww so happy you made it through! Congrats on making it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, what a great achievements for you and I am glad that you were able to finished your run. Yes, you fell for some reason but what important is you are able to stand up and do your best to finish your race. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm really happy for you, because you achieved and make it through. Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Celebrating little achievements is what gets you going. So glad you finished your race and I'm sure the pain/fall you faced must seem very small in front of your achievement. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so true! It was hard, but finishing was so sweet!

      Delete
  7. Wow, this is such a beautiful true to life story that I read and I am so happy that you are able to finished your race even you've encountered trouble before the finish line. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  8. omg I turn 30 next year in July .. this is a great a idea. I might just do it lol!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Such a wonderful read.I love your posts.I used to love running when I was a kid. And was quite fast at that too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I wish I loved running. Maybe I would have done better if I did. Ha!

      Delete
  10. You're definitely kicking goals. Half a marathon isn't easy, and I can only imagine since I've never done it myself. Even if you came last, it doesn't matter. What matter is you did it! 13 miles in 4 hours and 7 minutes is a great achievement in my eye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! It's no joke, that's for sure! Thanks for the encouragement. :)

      Delete
  11. Be a better person of your future and you'll achieve more for life. Stand up and step forward for brighter tomorrow. Always pray :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good empowering story. Good on you for not giving up and seeing your goal through!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Any idea as to what my next goal should be?

      Delete

Translate