At mile 11ish, I started thinking about how I never wanted to do anything longer than the 1/2 marathon distance again. Granted, I have already signed up for Dopey but in that moment, that was it.
Naturally, 24 hours later, I was looking up fun marathons to do in the spring. Isn’t this always the case?! In the heat of the pain, exhaustion, wanting to stop and sit down for a bit, I was thinking, “WHYYYY???”. When I finished I was thinking, “WHEN AGAIN??”.
While I have already talked about my pride in pace and finish time, I want to talk a bit more about how I felt during the race. Aside from the “please carry me now” minutes, the rest of the race was amazing. I felt strong and capable. I felt ready to tackle the miles. I felt confident.
You know those training runs where you start to doubt you should have ever started the run journey in the first place? Each mile seems to weigh heavier and heavier on your spirit and your legs? This was not the case. I’m not bragging, rather I want to reiterate how thrilled I am with this turn of events.
You see, I haven’t felt this good in a race or simply running in general for a year now. I felt fairly great in my first marathon last year, although I knew I could have trained better. But still, I felt confident and had those moments of sheer awe that I was running a marathon in San Fran! But then this dwindled. Between sickness, physical and emotional, complete lack of motivation and determination my running spirit and muscles atrophied. It was sad for me to see/feel this happening but I felt powerless to stop it.
Now I am taking the power back! This in itself feels both empowering and incredible. I am rediscovering my running spirit and along with it putting back the slightly broken pieces of myself. It may sound dramatic but running has become part of my soul and it was difficult when I didn’t enjoy it or find any momentum to get my legs moving. It was completely indicative of how I felt about myself and where I was in life and I knew it.
So, the Grand Rapids 1/2 marathon was an incredible experience for me. I know not every race will hold such weighty enlightenment and this is a-okay with me. What’s next? Small festive races for this fall. A local turkey trot and some kind of Christmas race just for fun. Then off to Disney World to test my endurance, my determination and my training. Oh and to just have a sh*t ton of fun! Ultimately, I’m recognizing (again) this is what it’s all about.